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welcome to XA

We could open this profile document with a list of our qualifications and success stories. We could give you examples of all the achievements we had over the 11 years of our existence - and we will - but for now its more important that you understand and embrace our philosophy, as our philosophy in practice has always been a key driver of our success.

The reason you are reading this profile right now is probably because you have a problem involving international trade.Every single expert working at XA is fascinated international trade and enjoys solving problems.

It all starts with our people. Not their qualifications, which you can read about in each person’s profile, but rather their real and very deep passion for what they do. Every single expert working at XA is fascinated by international trade and enjoys solving problems.

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we love problemsYou are likely either a manufacturer facing import competition or an importer facing a problem with Customs. Maybe you are an exporter looking to exploit the opportunities in new and exciting markets? Maybe a combination of all of the above, seeking to optimise your inward and outward bound supply chain. In pursuit of our philosophy we don’t only solve problems for clients when they are paying us; we simulate and model problems in our own time. We continuously research and understand the issues facing cross-border traders. Consequently we offer relevant solutions for most problems relating to goods moving across borders.

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and we love technology

We embrace technology. Our obsession with technology has allowed us to take on bigger, more complex projects. It has allowed us to mine data for solutions, overcoming an inherent weaknesses where the industry norm is to send out questionnaires and hope for accurate responses from people too busy with running their businesses to find time to actually respond completely and properly.

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so what do we do?

Customs and VAT Compliance

• Minimum duty on imports


• Maximum duty on competing imports

Manufacturers• No duty exported• Minimum duty in

importing country

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A significant part of trading internationally is dealing with duties and country or industry specific technical requirements. These barriers to trade (protective measures) are continuously changing, increasing or decreasing the level of protection to the domestic industry. We understand these protective measures, whether applying for their application or defending against them. If you are a manufacturer and find yourself under growing pressure from imports you should talk to us. Action can be taken either by increasing the duties on imports or by changing the technical requirements applicable to the products you deal in to better suit you.

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increasing duties…

Duty Increase




Offset normal competition

Export sales cheaper than local sales

Government subsidies

Surge in imports

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XA has experience…


Cases handled70% of all cases involve XA

Best track record in the country

Experience Process & Methodology

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anti-dumping track record

We have a superb record initiating and defending anti-dumping actions. These complex projects require exceptional knowledge of the legislation coupled with strong cost accounting and strategic planning skills in order to bring or defend complex cases in short time frames. Our ability to analyse and interpret large volumes of complex data allows us to deal with exceptionally large and complex cases.

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actions speak loudest…Product Country Outcome

Greyback Paper Korea Won

Paracetamol India Won

Self-copy paper USA Won

Welded link chain China Won

Aluminium Profiles China Won

Wire Rope China Lost

Staple Polyester Fibre China Won

Tall Oil Fatty Acid USA Won

Tall Oil Fatty Acid Finland Won

Nuts & Bolts China Won

Chicken Brazil Won

Frit Brazil Won

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yet more actions…Product Country Outcome

Threaded rod China Won

Set screws China Won & Lost

Welded link chain China Won

Paracetamol China Won

Garden Tools China Withdrew

Staple Polyester Fibre China Won

Coated paper China & Korea Won

Soda ash USA Lost

Frozen Chips Belgium & Netherlands On appeal

Chicken Germany, Netherlands & UK

In progress

Tall Oil Fatty Acid Sweden In progress

Wheelbarrows China In progress

Cement Pakistan In progress

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changing technical requirements

In certain industries (such as food), issues impacting client health is important. Rules are set to ensure goods imported meet minimum health and safety standards, but these standards can change. Products need to be labelled to ensure the consumer understands what they are buying. In our experience few companies understand how to apply the existing product standards to their advantage. We understand how to lobby for changes to standards and sanitary or phytosanitary measures so that your product is positioned more competitively. XA works with companies to take best advantage of the industry situation prevailing in a given sector and lobbying for changes to those standards to create a better competitive position for our clients.

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in trouble with SARS?

If you have a rather unpleasant letter from SARS lying on your desk and that letter deals with Customs or VAT issues, you could not find a better team to help you out of your spot of bother.

You should talk to us. In fact you should talk to us before you are in trouble with SARS, so that we can help you develop processes and implement systems to keep you out of trouble.

The South African Customs authorities are becoming more and more focused on enforcing compliance and many South African importers are finding themselves on the wrong side of the authorities.We are mediating in a significant number of disputes with SARS, with a particular focus on the larger more complex disputes. Our unique method of handling such disputes allows us to have a high rate of successful resolutions.

However, we also understand that fixing the problem after it has occurred is not ideal and we therefore have a number of unique solutions for quantifying and managing Customs risk.

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focus on compliance

With the imminent implementation of the new Customs legislation, the pressure on compliance will increase. XA has designed holistic solutions to adequately deal with managing the new compliance requirements.

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Analysing trade data received from SARS is a cumbersome process. You’ll know this if you ever had to work through a large download from SARS. It also doesn’t give you tariff descriptions, duty rates and definitely doesn’t give you descriptive dashboards that allow you to make swift decisions.

Stratalyze was created in response to a need in the market to better understand trade data. The Customs authorities publish trade data every month, but most companies do not use this data because it is clumsy and far removed from the actual business at hand. In addition, the data is provided in a simple flat file or Excel spreadsheet, which means that before the data can be used, it must be first analyzed. This is time-consuming and error-prone.

Stratalyze moves you from data to decisions

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writing history

Our philosophy to provide integrated solutions based on client needs lead to XA’s recent launch of the first online VAT and international trade e-consulting platform in South Africa. The platform is supported technically by one of South Africa’s renowned VAT specialists (see Christo’s profile attached).

Technically accurate

Short turn-around

Reasonable price

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and creating the future

Complete visibility of issues raised by other participants without compromising confidentiality in any way.

We created a VAT community-based learning platform that ensures that relevant and topical information enters your organisation on an ongoing basis.

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bringing it together

We approach each project holistically, so that all the important issues relating to that project are dealt with simultaneously. We don’t merely execute what you ask us to, we also think of what else would benefit you.

We think about your issues all the time. Even when we are not on the clock. You will get calls or emails from us when we think you need to know something. We want you to be well-informed at all times because when you are well informed you are empowered to make relevant and critical enquiries. In short, everything about our business is designed with our clients in mind.

Our objective with each interaction is to leave you better off than you were before you met us.

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meet the team

XA applies a flat structure to our project teams and to our entire business. This ensures that the best person is always the person doing the job at hand. Whether it be leading a particular assignment or learning from a junior who has specialist knowledge, the flat structure ensures better client solutions. It ensures more direct senior level involvement in actual client work, because that, after all, is what you ultimately pay for.

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Tiego BasayaBA (Hons) – International Politics and


Mine has been a multifaceted journey. I have always wanted to be a Trade Envoy and saw myself trotting the globe. I love discovering new cultures, learning new languages. I speak 7 local languages along with German, Italian, Igbo (spoken in South-Eastern Nigeria) and passable French. I enjoy delving into new cuisine and I always find myself at home, even when I am away from home.

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I started out as a tour guide for the German groups that visited the Cullinan Diamond Mine. I went on to manage a Destination Management Outlet in the Dinokeng Area and another one in Pretoria. I had a short stint at a German Multinational company, which led me right to the door of XA International Trade Advisors in 2012. I could not resist the temptation of exploring the ins and outs of international trade. 

Today I find myself in South Africa’s most prolific and diverse International Trade Consultancy; boasting some of the most endowed individuals in the field. XA has provided me with a fulfilling working environment in which I can grow without any hindrance. I am always given the opportunities to improve myself both personally and professionally.

I enjoy economics, handling numbers and solving complex problems. The intricacies of our work make it so addictive and gratifying. I have always been passionate about all things international trade, even before I had a full understanding of what this monster was. Now that I am in it, I am loving it!

more about Tiego

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Donald MacKayB.Com, Dip Int Audit, MBA, CIA

I have done many things over the course of my career, from software development to computer auditing and then more recently international trade consulting. I have been involved with international trade consulting since 1998, ending as an Associate Director in the tax division at Deloitte. I did many different things in my time at Deloitte, always with a strong role in business development. My final role was Global Product Development Manager for international trade consulting products.

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I founded XA International Trade Advisors

in 2003 because I wanted to see what

could be done in the international trade

consulting field outside of the constraints

of the more structured environment

present in the big audit firms. I have a

passion for integrating technology into

consulting and XA has led the way with

technology-based solutions.

I love solving problems, and that really is the heart of XA. The result has been such things such as the creation of anti-dumping methodologies that have given us the highest success rate in the country, and data mining processes that have allowed us to bring significant and measurable benefits to many of South Africa’s largest multinationals. I also serve on the SAICA tax subcommittee on Customs and Excise.

When I am not working, I love reading, cooking and experiencing new places. I am truly fortunate to work in an environment that allows me to see the world. Music is a huge part of my life and I am busy rediscovering the wonder of enjoying music on vinyl.

more about Donald

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I was a founding member of the Board on Tariffs and Trade’s anti-dumping unit in 1992 and have been hooked on trade remedies ever since. I have a knack for figures and am good at law, and this is one of the few fields where I can combine the two passions. I joined International Trade Services in 1998 to consult on trade remedies, but was headhunted in 2001 to draft South Africa’s trade remedy legislation.

Dr Gustav BrinkB.Com, LLB, LLD (International Trade Law)

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Since 2007 I have been advising foreign

governments on four continents on trade

remedies, trade policy, international trade

law and WTO accession. I enjoy working

at XA as it provides me with a highly

stimulating environment. XA has provided

me with additional tools through improved

technology to further develop trade

remedy programmes and the opportunity

to train more people to work with trade

policy matters. Being the most active

consultancy firm of its kind in South Africa

there is also huge scope for work on

different products and in different

countries, which satisfies my love for


I love the academic world and research, and have published many books, chapters and articles on trade law issues internationally. I love teaching as well, and am an extraordinary lecturer in mercantile law at Pretoria University, where I am also supervisor for several masters’ and doctoral students in international trade law.

Outside of the work environment I love athletics (having completed more than 100 marathons and ultra marathons), including having coached several athletes of all abilities; have swum the Vanuatu (South Pacific) 3.6km ultra, love photography and am an avid reader.

more about Gustav

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Christo TheronB.Com (Hons), CA (S.A.), M.Com (Tax), H.Dip (Tax law)


My passion has always been organisational dynamics and learning. To gain a deeper understanding of the theory of organisational dynamics I studied various topics on Industrial Psychology. This made it abundantly clear that tax as a technical topic can and should never be viewed in isolation. As accounting firms did not embrace a holistic view of tax and organisational dynamics at the time, I severed my links with the accounting profession to pursue what I firmly believed was the key to future organisational learning in the field of tax compliance.

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By profession I am a qualified chartered accountant with a masters degree in tax. I have been specialising in tax consulting for the last 25 years.  For the last 15 years I have specialised in Value Added Tax, at one stage being a tax partner in a big four firm

In the ensuing years I developed and launched the Unisa Advanced VAT Program on VAT, assisted LexisNexis to reposition their VAT Seminars to be closer aligned with organisational dynamics and developed South Africa’s first full fledged VAT e-learning courses. What was missing though was a truly inclusive community platform of users of tax information where consistent feedback would result in organisational learning across organisational boundaries. The time for this major paradigm shift is now!

I have joined XA as the leadership of the firm has the vision to achieve the above objective not only with regards to tax and related issues, but with regards to much broader business issues and challenges. XA in my mind is the only firm that is effectively rewriting history on a daily basis. This is what I want to be part of.

more about Christo

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Pieter du PlessisB.Com (Hons), CA (S.A.), H.Dip (Tax law)

I have always had a thing for numbers, particularly the relationship between different values. It becomes part of your life, looking for patterns and anomalies, always looking for explanations and another way of interpreting what is right in front of you.

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My journey took me on a long stint with Deloitte,

starting with vacation work during grade 12 in 1984,

to the beginning of 2004 when I finally left Deloitte to

join XA with my fellow director Donald MacKay.

Although I specialised in Corporate Tax at Deloitte, I

had a growing involvement in large government

incentive programmes, assisting the Department of

Trade and Industry at some point with the drafting of

the Section 12G tax incentive legislation. I carried this

interest over to XA where we have been instrumental

in securing a significant amount in grant funding for

large private sector investment and infrastructure


The step to leave a large renowned firm and start a specialist consulting practice was probably the best thing I could ever have done. Client service is critical if a tiny start up firm wants to secure and retain blue chip clients and it became a way of life and doing business. XA's current client portfolio underscores this philosophy.

From starting out being half of a two-man band I am now part of an incredible team of people with very diverse skill sets. I enjoy observing and trying to understand people and their behaviour in dynamic interactions. The dynamic processes within this highly specialised group of individuals at XA fascinate me. Problem solving and smart execution is at the core of what we do and every team member plays a very specific role in these processes.Outside work I enjoy cycling and I am still striving to complete my 10th Argus Cycle Tour.

more about Pieter

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Eugene MaraisI started my career at the then Department of Finance, branch Customs and Excise in Kimberley in 1983 and fortunately I was exposed to almost all the fields of Customs and Excise. After being transferred in 1990 to Customs and Excise Head Office in Pretoria, I was tasked to compile training material for internal Customs and Excise courses. I also presented several Customs and Excise training courses throughout South Africa and some neighbouring countries. I later joined the Special Investigations Unit within Customs and Excise and worked on criminal investigations, up to the resulting court cases.

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I joined KPMG in 1997 as a consultant

and became a specialist in the Motor

Industry Development Programmes

for KPMG, which had several of the

biggest automotive manufacturers in

South Africa as clients.  In 2000 I

joined Deloitte Indirect Tax division

and consulted on many Customs and

international trade matters and also

presented specialised training

courses to various large South

African companies.

I met and worked with Donald while he was still at Deloitte and he approached me during 2004 to join XA International Trade Advisors. Working for XA is undoubtedly the best experience in my long spanning career in international trade consulting. At XA there is no time for boredom, as your days are always varied and no task is ever straight forward. I can therefore live my passion of helping customers with all international trade issues, specifically matters pertaining to my area of expertise, Custom and Excise.

more about Eugene

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Taapano ParadzaB.Admin, B.Com (Hons), M.Phil (International Trade and Investment law)

I have always aspired to work in a problem-solving environment where l can make a positive contribution. Before my journey with XA, l worked in administrative positions and a few part-time academic positions. l decided to further my studies by pursuing a masters degree in International Trade Law. This opened an exciting new world for me when l joined XA in 2011. l found myself at home, working in a challenging and intellectually stimulating environment with the best brains in the industry. I enjoy my work as it is never routine and involves solving complex problems on a daily basis. The nature of our assignments provides me with an opportunity to travel, which allows me to see new places and experience different cultures.

l have research interests in trade policy, regional integration, and other diverse issues of international trade law. For relaxation, l enjoy tennis and swimming.

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Annelise WarringtonB.Com (Hons) CA (S.A.)

My professional journey has been one of great adventure. After completing my articles at Deloitte in 2002, I had the opportunity to venture to Atlanta USA for 8 months to run numerous financial audits. My family roots brought me back to South Africa where I put my chartered accountant qualification to use by working for a firm that seconds accountants to corporations to act as financial managers / directors until such time a permanent employee can be hired. In 2004 I got introduced to the fascinating world of Customs. I relished the idea that I could broaden my financial and business management solutions skills to include international trade and customs insights.

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I became the Automotive Production

Development Programme incentive leader

at Deloitte and also developed numerous

audit guidelines around the film and

television production rebate, as well as

Customs and exchange control regulations. I

have always had a passion for learning and

innately wanted to help others to

understand the diverse, and often

challenging, concepts of exchange control,

government investment incentives, Customs

and international trade.

 In 2011, moved to Belgium to become the Deloitte Global Customs and Global Trade Co-ordinator and had the privilege of being intimately involved in the creation of new business service offerings.

 In 2013, my Customs voyage brought me to XA International Trade Advisors. XA epitomises the values of a great advisory firm by always thinking as entrepreneurs and looking at ways to add value to a business.  XA are always thinking of innovative technology solutions to help companies manage and have insight into their cross border transactions. I am privileged to be able to work with a firm that not only has the best Customs, trade and VAT specialists but that values learning and innovation. I have truly found a company that shares my passion for international travel, learning and offering viable international trade solutions.

more about Annelise

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1st Floor Building 13Berkley Office Park

Corner Bauhinia and Witch Hazel RoadsHighveld Technopark


087 232 [email protected]