Exporters reminded to register in EU REX; CO Form A not honored by Jan 1

Philippine exporters are again reminded to register already in the European Union’s Registered Exporter System (EU REX) because by January 1, 2021 the Certificate of Origin (CO) Form A will no longer be issued by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) or be accepted by the EU.

Gina German, customs operations officer III of the Formal Entry Division of the Port of Manila, clarified in Viber messages with stakeholders including the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT) that registration in the EU REX will not cease on December 31, 2020 but will remain open to applicants.

But German stressed that it is the CO Form A which will no longer be issued past that deadline as it will no longer be honored by the EU starting next year.

BOC said the REX was already implemented by the EU last July, but the Philippines was given an extension so exporters could still apply for preferential tariffs under the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (EU GSP+) until December 2020 still using the CO Form A.

The extension was granted upon the request of the BOC, which cited the fact that many exporters had not been able to register by the June 30, 2020 registration deadline due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The BOC further explained that by January 1, the BOC will no longer issue the CO Form A and the EU will no longer accept this document. Thus, unregistered exporters with cargoes arriving from January 1 will not be entitled to claim preferential tariffs under the EU GSP+ program.

“So for exporters with arriving cargo in EU by January 1, 2021, they should have their REX number otherwise their buyer cannot claim preference,” it added.

The EU REX is the system of self-certification by exporters on the origin of their goods and replaces the CO Form A as a requirement for availing of preferential tariffs under the EU GSP+.

To register in the EU REX, German said exporters must do these steps:
Fill out the pre-application form online via https://customs.ec.europa.eu/rex-pa-ui/#/create-preapplication/
Print and submit via e-mail to gina.german@customs.gov.ph
With the application, attach the Unique Reference Number (URN) if you are a Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) locator, or the Client Profile Registration System if a non-PEZA locator
Attach the product evaluation report for goods that are manufactured using imported raw materials

To date, BOC said it has registered 443 exporters into the system. It also noted an EU advisory saying the system will be undergoing maintenance so access for REX registration will resume on January 1.

Exporters’ concerns addressed

The bureau also addressed related issues of exporters relayed by PHILEXPORT.

For exporters who don’t have a buyer yet, the BOC said they should still pre-register to be able to apply for EU GSP+ tariff treatment in the future.

Meanwhile, those whose exports are wholly obtained in the Philippines or who have a previous pre-evaluation for CO issuance should also sign up for pre-application in the REX and submit the requirements, it added.

On whether different companies can consolidate their export products and load them in the same container, BOC said only goods listed in the pre-application to REX can qualify for tariff privileges.

If these goods are comingled in the container with other products not pre-evaluated or not qualified as originating goods, their buyer from the importing country in the EU may have to pay custom duties.

One exporter also said they tried to register in the REX but could not finish the process due to the product not listed in the Harmonized System. BOC suggests using the “add button” rather than the “drop down” function to apply to the REX.

The Philippines is one of the beneficiary countries of the EU GSP+ program, which grants zero tariff for over 6,000 product lines.

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