Tax on automotive lead-acid batteries has tripled in South Africa following a decision by the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC).
Import duty has been increased to 15% with effect from April 10, after two South African battery firms lobbied the ITAC.
Powertech Batteries and First National Battery (FNB) applied for the tax increase on batteries to rise from 5% to 30%.
However, the ITAC found such a rise would impact industrial and end users, opting instead for 15% which it felt would improve price-competiveness.
The importation of cheaper automotive lead-acid batteries had effectively priced local manufacturers out of the South African Customs Union market, the applicants believe.
The reason for this, the application suggested, was the pricing models adopted by foreign manufacturers were often below local costing.
Importers have grown their share of the South African battery market from about 8.5% in 2010 to just over 20% in 2013, the applicants estimated.
Comments in support of the application were received from the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers, Dixon Batteries, Chloride Exide Botswana and the Botswana Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Those who objected the application include: the Powabatt Batteries CC, the South African Battery Importers Association (SABIA), Duratec Batteries, and the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa.