The Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (Sactwu) said that it welcomed the increase in import duties on certain clothing products.
The increase follows an application to the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) by Sactwu, submitted in mid-May this year.
In almost all cases, the import duties on these clothing products have been increased from 40% to 45% - the upper level that South Africa has bound with the World Trade Organisation, the union said.
"The increased duties are effective as from today [yesterday, 12 October 2009].
"Sactwu welcomes the additional protection afforded to local jobs and industrial capacity, especially while the industry is in the midst of an extensive restructuring exercise.
"Increased duties, like other trade measures, will help to slow down imports and create some space for manufacturers to restructure and ensure the long-term viability of the industry," it said.
Sactwu said while a wholesale increase of all clothing tariffs would have provided the widest assistance to the industry, avoided substitution of products by importers and made the tasks of customs control easier, it only applied for an increase in the duties of 35 clothing products in an effort to limit the use of trade measures to the absolute minimum.
The union said this increase in duties was part of South Africa's efforts to deal with the impact of the global economic crisis as set out in the Framework for South Africa's Response to the International Economic Crisis, agreed at NEDLAC in February this year.
The Framework calls for "... robust use of accepted trade measures to ensure that the crisis does not cause job losses in the real economy...", it said.Published courtesy of