Importers and customs brokers were directed to observe guidelines for imported garments and textile products falling under a specified tariff heading in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature.
The applicable format should be the general description, specific description, make or brand, quality, grade or process, and retail or packaging, according to Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group (AOCG) Memo No. 132-2021 dated March 10.
AOCG Memo 132-2021 noted as an example:
Tariff heading 5001.00.00
Commodity: Silk fiber
Correct description format: Silk fiber – mulberry silk worm cocoon ABC brand 100% natural (5kg/bag)
The order noted that the rules for describing imported articles properly in tariff terms are established under Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 08-2007 and its implementing order, Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 28-2007.
Failure to strictly enforce AOCG Memo 132-2021 will constitute a ground for the imposition of administrative penalties.
BOC for years has reiterated the observance of proper description of imported articles in tariff terms, pursuant to CAO 08-2007 and CMO 28-2007.
In early 2014, BOC revived the two orders, which had been unenforced for seven years. Since then, BOC has been issuing memos reiterating compliance with the two orders as it kept recording violations.
Last year, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero pointed out several provisions to be noted under CAO 08-2007, which states that the description of articles “must be in sufficient detail to enable the articles to be identified for tariff classification, valuation and other statistical purposes…” The description must also be supported by the packing list.
BOC also issued last year CMO 20-2020, which amends the list of covered importations under CMO 28-2007. CMO 20-2020 expands to 300 from 120 the general terms that if used by an importer to describe the imported goods in the goods declaration will result in a 100% examination of the shipment.
CMO 28-2007 requires importers to describe in detail the imported articles in tariff terms; otherwise, their shipments will go through 100% examination and be considered on continuing alert status.
The order aims to foil attempts by some importers to evade paying the right tariff by simply giving generic descriptions.
Under CMO 28-2007, the description of articles must be “in sufficient detail to enable the article to be identified for tariff classification, valuation and other statistical purposes.”
Failure to describe the shipment in detail will be the full responsibility of the importer or broker, CMO 28-2007 states.
“Good faith is not a defense. Both importers and customs brokers shall exercise utmost diligence in declaring goods for purposes of customs clearance,” CMO 28-2007 added.
Under CAO 08-2007, the customs broker, together with the Entry Processing Division/Unit (EPD/U) chief, and customs operations officers (COO) III and V, is responsible for ensuring the order is properly implemented.
The Customs commissioner, through the Value Reference Information System, should issue a list of products on the proper description of goods.
Under CMO 28-2007, habitual violators “by persisting to declare their importation in a general manner” will be penalized with the following:
First offense – warning
Second offense – suspension of accreditation for six months
Third offense – cancellation of accreditation and blacklisting as an importer
Licensed customs brokers “will be treated in the same manner as importers and their licenses recommended to be cancelled.”
For the EPD/U chief, COO III and COO V, failure to strictly implement CAO 08-2007 will be ground for the appropriate disciplinary action provided under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
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