BOC lists 9 trade facilitation initiatives for activation this year

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has identified nine policies for implementation this year to help facilitate trade and achieve a globally competitive trade environment for businesses in the Philippines.

These are implementing the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Program; promoting the advance ruling system; intensifying post-clearance audit; improving the goods classification and valuation support; enhancing pre-arrival processing for air shipments and consignments; introducing voluntary pre-shipment inspection for containerized cargo; improving availment of provisional goods declaration; improving availment of release under tentative; and implementing electronic payment for informal entry.

Part of BOC’s 10 priority programs this year is enhancing trade facilitation to improve pre- and post-importation processes.

BOC assistant commissioner and spokesperson Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla, in a presentation to stakeholders on February 4, said that after launching its AEO Program in December last year, BOC plans to implement it this year.

The AEO system represents a customs-to-business partnership that seeks to enhance international supply chain security and facilitate movement of legitimate goods. It is being implemented to comply with the country’s commitment to the World Customs Organization’s SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade.

The customs memorandum order (CMO) executing the program is currently being reviewed and revised to harmonize its provisions with international AEO standards as recommended by WCO experts during AEO workshops held previously.

Maronilla said the harmonization of CMO provisions is also in preparation for the proposed AEO mutual recognition arrangements with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries.

The office space and online portal facility for the AEO program are also being set up and once these are completed, the AEO office will start accepting AEO candidates and applicants for pre-screening before the end of February 2020.

BOC will also promote the advance ruling system, which provides rulings on the origin and methodology of goods before these are imported and exported.

“The system will ensure certainty and predictability to international trade and help commercial importers or foreign exporters make informed business decision,” Maronilla said.

In addition, BOC will intensify implementation of its post-clearance audit functions through Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 1-2019, which not only implements these functions but also the Prior Disclosure Program (PDP).

Specifically, BOC will adopt both transaction audit and account-based audit. He noted that BOC’s Post-Clearance Audit Group (PCAG) is currently only implementing account-based audits, which are based on a three-year importation data, but other customs authorities in modernized countries are enforcing transaction audits.

Maronilla said BOC will issue and implement a CMO on transaction audit, post-clearance audit, and PDP.

The agency also aims to approve the design for the CARMS system, an automated risk management system that PCAG will use to identify and profile candidate firms for post-clearance audit.

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