The South African Revenue Service (SARS) plans to cut import duties paid on fabrics needed for clothing production but which are not made locally or are in short supply.

A directive issued on Friday as part of its Customised Sector Programme (CSP) process says the move will help to bring down garment costs and help local makers compete with cheaper overseas imports.

A boost in local manufacturing could also grow related industries like buttons, zips, interlinings and packaging.

According to the local Business Day newspaper, fabrics on which duties have been rebated include georgettes, chiffons, velvets, velveteens, embroidered fabric and cotton and cotton blend fabrics manufactured from yarns of different colours.