Convention on Temporary Admission to fast-track market access for exporters

Entrepreneurs and exporters eyeing entry to more foreign markets through trade fairs and exhibitions are expected to gain time and cost benefits once the Convention on Temporary Admission takes effect for the Philippines on April 17, 2022.

This is after the Philippines deposited its Instrument of Accession to the Convention at the headquarters of the World Customs Organization (WCO) in Brussels, Belgium last January 17.

Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, and the European Union Eduardo José A. de Vega formally deposited the Instrument of Accession with WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Convention on Temporary Admission, also called the Istanbul Convention, is a customs procedure that allows goods to be temporarily brought into the territory of a party to the Convention with total or partial relief from import duties and taxes.

The Convention benefits goods that are exported for a specific purpose, such as for trade fair participation, and that are to be brought back home within a specified period without having undergone any change.

Covered goods under the Convention include commercial samples, professional equipment, and goods and articles for presentation or use in trade fairs and exhibitions. Accession to the Convention will help facilitate foreign market access for exporters by enabling local products to move freely across borders and be temporarily admitted to customs territories with relief from duties and taxes.

The Philippines is set to become the 73rd contracting party to the Convention. The Senate concurred in the accession to the Convention on Temporary Admission last November, paving the way for the deposit of the Instrument of Accession on January 17.

The Convention then enters into force for the Philippines three months after the document is deposited, or April 17, which will finally make the country a part of the ATA Carnet community.

Established as a trade facilitation tool, ATA Carnets, also known as the “Merchandise Passport” or the “Passport for Goods,” is the international customs document used by contracting parties to move products during trade fairs, shows and international exhibitions.

The ATA Carnet cuts red tape by simplifying and unifying customs border crossing regulations for temporary imports and exports, permitting the duty-free and tax-free temporary export and import of goods for up to one year.

It brings its holder many benefits. Salesmen, exhibitors, and other business travellers can use it to make advance customs arrangements at a predetermined cost, visit several countries, make several trips during the ATA Carnet’s one-year validity, and return to their home country with their goods without problems or delays. The acronym ATA is a combination of French and English terms “Admission Temporaire” or “Temporary Admission.”

Philippine participation in the Convention and ATA Carnet system has been a longtime advocacy of agencies and business organizations alike, such as the Export Development Council, Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc.

It is consistent with the thrust toward ease of doing business and will give a positive signal to the world that the Philippines is serious in expanding trade, particularly exports, these groups said.

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