Duterte signs amended accession to ATA Carnet system

The amended Instrument of Accession (IA) to the Convention on Temporary Admission, the convention that allows the temporary and tax-free importation of goods to be used in trade shows and exhibitions, has been signed by President Rodrigo Duterte and submitted to the Senate for concurrence.

Accession to the convention, also called the Istanbul Convention, has for years been pushed by the private sector to enable Filipino enterprises to access more markets.

The amended Instrument of Accession for the Customs Convention on the ATA Carnet for Temporary Admission of Goods was signed on April 28, 2021 and has been transmitted to the legislative body for study and consideration, according to Malacanang.

To recall, Duterte first signed the Instrument of Accession for the Convention on June 23, 2020.

During the public hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on January 14, 2021, the Department of Finance (DOF) said it wanted to revisit the reservations to the Annexes to the Convention.

These reservations principally uphold the rights of the Philippines to impose value-added tax (VAT) on the importation of goods covered by the Annexes, and to limit VAT exemptions in accordance with Republic Act (RA) No. 8424 or the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) as amended, and other relevant domestic laws.

Based on the recommendation of the finance and foreign affairs departments, the amended Instrument of Accession indicated acceptance in full of five annexes, limited reservations on four annexes, and rejection of four others.

Accepted were Annexes B.1., B.2., B.4., B.6., and B.9. With limited reservations are Annexes A, B.3., B.5., and D, while rejected were Annexes B.7., B.8., C and E.

Following the presidential signing, concurrence by at least two-thirds of Senate members is required. The Convention will enter into force three months after the Philippines deposits the Instrument of Accession.

Philippine accession to the Convention 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. (PHILEXPORT).

“At a time when the export industry is trying hard to recover, the signing of the IA by the President comes in very timely,” said PHILEXPORT president Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr. “We just hope that the accession to the Convention can be immediately facilitated in the next Congress so the benefits can be felt as we gradually move to the new normal of doing business”.

Entrepreneurs and exporters wanting to access more markets through trade shows will save time and money once the whole process of accession to the ATA Convention is completed, according to PHILEXPORT.

Accession 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, especially for the purpose of trade show participation.

Covered goods under the Convention include commercial samples, professional equipment, and goods and articles for presentation or use in trade fairs and exhibitions.

The ATA Carnet, also known as the “Merchandise Passport” or the “Passport for Goods,” is an international customs document permitting the duty-free and tax-free temporary export and import of goods for up to one year. It serves as the entry declaration and a single document of goods that will pass through several customs territories. It is the facility utilized by contracting parties to move products during trade fairs, shows and international exhibitions.

With the ATA Carnet, salesmen, exhibitors, and other business travellers can make advance customs arrangements at a predetermined cost, visit several countries, use the ATA Carnet for several trips during its 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.”

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