Yes. The complete HS commodity classification and tariffs applicable in Eswatini are available within the ETIP, but you can also click here to access the complete HS commodity classification and tariff applicable on the SRA website.
2. What is an HS (or Tariff) Code and how can I find the HS (Tariff Code) Code for my commodity?
In international trade, each product is assigned a particular classification code using the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System or simply Harmonized System code (HS). The HS is an international standardised system of classifying goods, it is based on a 6-digit nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).
You can search your goods’ commodity (tariff) code on the ETIP by clicking on “Commodity and Tariff” on the ‘Trade in Goods’ menu bar to find the applicable HS (Tariff) Code. Use the description of the product to search for the tariff code.
3. What is Custom Duty?
According to the Customs and Excise Act of 1971, “Customs duty” is defined as the duty chargeable. Customs Duty is the charge levied on imports and listed in the tariff schedules. Customs Duty is payable on goods that are imported from countries that not members of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) provided for under the Customs and Excise Act. Imports from SACU member states (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa) are not expected to pay Customs duties.
4. What is the difference between Customs Duty and VAT payment?
Value Added Tax (VAT) is paid on goods are sold locally and goods that are imported, on the other hand Customs Duty is paid on goods that are imported from non-SACU countries; Customs Duty are also known as tariffs. Customs Duty varies in accordance to the SACU tariff rate of the goods being imported. On the other hand, VAT is charged at a standard rate of 15% unless the goods are zero-rated.
When importing goods from non-SACU countries Importers have to pay tariff duties as well as VAT at the port of entry. Whereas Imports from SACU countries are charged VAT at the port of entry unless the goods were bought from a VAT registered trader and the VAT was paid in the exporting country. In the case VAT was paid in the exporting country, the Importer only has to produce the invoice indicating that the VAT was paid.
5. Is VAT charged on goods that are imported from non-SACU countries?
VAT is charged on goods that are imported from both SACU and non-SACU countries. As such, imports from non-SACU countries are charges Customs Duty as well as VAT.
6. Which goods are considered zero rated goods in Eswatini?
In Eswatini there are a number of goods that are considered zero rated, as such they are not subjected to any tariffs and Value Added Tax. These goods are supplied are specified for the purposes of section 24(4) of the Eswatini Customs and Exercise Act. For a full schedule of zero rated goods click here.
7. What are the commercial goods?
Goods can be classified as being commercial if they fall into any of the following categories:
8. What documents are needed to import commercial goods?
9. What are the payment options for clearing commercial goods?
SRA has banned the payment cash more than E1000.00 at points of entry, as such importers have to make import payment through the bank or via mobile money.
10. Do I have to use a Customs Agent (Broker) for importing or exporting commercial goods into or out of Eswatini?
According to the Customs and Excise Act, 1971, allows traders can do their own Customs clearing or they can use a Clearing Agent. Traders who opt to use Clearing Agents are advised to take note that they are be responsible for any act done by a Clearing Agent acting on their behalf. Click here for a list of registered cleaning agents.
11. Do I have to submit my Customs declaration through ASYCUDA or can I continue to prepare it manually?
ASYCUDA (AUTOMATED SYSTEM FOR CUSTOMS DATA) is the Customs Clearance System used by Eswatini’s Customs administration. If you are importing and exporting goods your Clearing Agent or SRA officials must capture and submit your customs declaration through the ASYCUDA system.
12. How are commercial goods cleared?
13. What is the clearance process of commercial goods?
Complete Customs declaration documents (Form E and SAD 500) for clearance purposes. Submit documents that may be required, which include shipping documents, (Bill of Lading Airway Bill, Rail or Road Consignment Note), a copy of the Commercial invoice from the Supplier, import permits or licences, Phytosanitary Certificates, or authorisation documents, where applicable. The Customs officials at SRA offices will verify the documents, and if they are in order they will issue a dispatch certificate which will then grant you the right to let the goods into the country. For clearance procedures of the different goods please click here.
14. Can you advise the duty rate to import or export goods into or from Eswatini?
The duty rates can be found by searching the HS commodity list or tariff code for the particular goods you intend to import and export. Please click here to see various Customs duties applicable on imports into Eswatini and other SACU countries.
15. Do I always need to get an import/export license before importing/exporting goods in Eswatini?
Yes. It is compulsory for an importer or exporter to have at least a Trading License and a Tax Identification Number (TIN) before they can engage in trade of any sort in Eswatini, including domestic trade. However, there are specific types of goods that require an import/export permit before transactions. These would include, vegetables, meat, dairy and dairy products, maize, plant and plant products, amongst others.
16. What are Technical Barriers to import and export?
As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a signatory to the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Eswatini has to abide by the Agreement on TBT. There are three types of technical barriers:
• Technical Regulations are mandatory technical requirements for importers and exporters (mandatory compliance requirement).
• Technical Standards are the technical requirements to be approved by the country’s standards body – Eswatini Standards Authority, ESWASA;
• Conformity Assessment Procedure This is the process of assessing the suitability of a commodity with the regulations and technical criteria.
17. Can I clear my goods at any Customs office in Eswatini or do they have to be cleared at a specific Customs office?
Goods can be cleared at any SRA office in the country. SRA officials receive, register and verify customs documents. Upon arrival at the port of entry, SRA officials physically inspect the goods. For a list of all Customs Offices click here and their operating hours.
18. Are goods for diplomatic missions exempted from payment of duty?
Yes. All goods and vehicles for diplomatic missions approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are exempted from Customs duty as long as they comply with the required documentation. In this case a customs declaration will be captured and an appropriate customs procedure code (APC) entered in a particular field of the customs declaration form.
19. What other categories of goods are exempt from payment of import taxes?
All goods, imported into the country under Industrial Rebate (Schedule 3) for manufacturers and General Rebate (Schedule 4) for Charity Organisations including NGOs. For the exemption of such goods, the importer has to apply for a Rebate Certificate from the International Trade Department (ITD) under the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Trade (MCIT). However, in order for the importer to be granted the Rebate Certificate they have to be a registered as an NGO.
20. Which goods are eligible for Import Rebate Certificate?
Goods imported under Schedule 3 on Industrial Rebates (for all sectors) and Schedule 4 on General Rebates are eligible to benefit from the Import Rebate Certificate. Rebates are only issued for consignments imported/sourced outside the Common Customs Area. All rebates (Company or Charity) are valid until the last day of each calendar year. Rebates can be amended during the course of the year upon notification of the MCITITD by the company to add more items or when the allocated amount has been exhausted. The benefit from the rebate certificate the applicant must be registered with the Registrar of Companies as a manufacturers or a Non-Governmental Organization. The Importer must submit an Import Rebate Application letter application letter to MCIT-ITD/Eswatini Revenue Authority (SRA) for validation and guidance on the relevant rebate item for utilization. The letter must state the amount for rebate, as well as detailing the commodity codes and descriptions of products, and the country of origin. For donated goods, the Importer must provide a letter of donation from the donor, a packing list, a customs declaration document. For pharmaceuticals a letter from the Ministry of Health, and Educational Materials a letter from the Ministry of Education and Training. An Import Permit maybe required for Used Clothing, Footwear, Electrical Appliances, Cars, Tyres, Agricultural Products, etc.
21. Do I need to fill in a Customs Declaration when I arrive in Eswatini?
If you are carrying goods that were bought from outside the country you need to declare them at the point of entry. You need to fill “Form E” for personal declaration worth less than E15,000 and SAD500 for all other declarations. Supporting documents, such as an invoice, transport document, certificate of origin and any other document that may be required for verification purposes
22. Can I bring personal belongings into Eswatini if I am taking up residence and will they be subject to import taxes?
Generally, personal effects (including motor vehicles) are exempted from Customs duties as long as they are not of a commercial nature and within the prescribed limit decided by Customs. If you are in doubt about the eligibility of certain items, you should contact SRA Customs officers. Generally, holders of residence permits receive equal treatment to that of Eswatini citizens as far as the free allowance entitlements are concerned.
23. Can I obtain the information on market background, investment and trade opportunities in Eswatini by searching on the Eswatini Trade Information Portal?
The Eswatini Trade Information Portal provides information regarding the laws, regulations and procedures for importing and exporting in Eswatini. If you would like to have information about market background, investment and trade opportunities, we recommend that you contact the Eswatini Investment Promotion Authority (EIPA) (www.eipa.co.sz). On the EIPA website you will find information about external markets, trade opportunities, the trade directory, trade statistics, and the export readiness manual.