Illegal imports rip into local clothing industry
More recently the industry has also borne the brunt of the import of second-hand clothing, that has become available for resale on the market.
Sars customs officials intercepted four consignments of suspected counterfeit goods with a combined value of R20.5 million. Goods included Nike sneakers from Hong Kong, and Louis Vuitton bags, Gucci dresses and ladies’ Polo and Chanel-branded shoes from China.
Sars customs investigations executive Patrick Moeng said they would continue to investigate. “Once we have assessed the risk at border posts, we will focus on strategy and capacity planning at non-designated ports.”
He said customs currently only has a presence at commercial border posts, while non-designated ports just have a couple of representatives from other government agencies, such as the SAPS and Immigration.
“Sars customs has a mandate to collect revenue and facilitate trade, but also to protect the local economy. That makes the issue of clothing and textiles compliance a priority. There have also been meetings with the SA Clothing and Textiles Workers Union this year, to explore ways we can improve the fight against illegally imported clothing, textiles and footwear.”
He said the illegal imports had a huge impact on the local clothing and textile industry, as many factories have closed in the past few years as a result.
“We are working on numerous clothing and textile cases worth millions of rand.”
He said Sars has introduced a number of measures to address clothing and textile infringements this year.
One is the introduction of new risk rules which have led to an increase in the number of stops and inspections of clothing and textile goods.
Jared West, an attorney in the anti-counterfeiting unit at Spoor and Fisher, said counterfeiting is a big problem.
“There are impacts on a wide range of sectors. The counterfeit goods are manufactured cheaper and they are brought in cheap as there are no taxes or duties paid.
“The conditions that the goods are produced under are also not the best.”