PH seeks accreditation to implement ATA Carnet system in the country

The Philippines is now working to acquire accreditation under the Convention on Temporary Admission in order to allow certain goods to be imported into the country without the payment of import duties and taxes, according to a customs official.

Julito Doria, chief of the prosecution and litigation division of the Bureau of Customs (BOC), gave this update on the implementation of the Convention on Temporary Admission in the Philippines in a meeting with exporters last month.

The Convention, also commonly known as the Istanbul Convention and the Convention on the Use of the ATA Carnet, provides the mechanism for implementing the ATA Carnet system in the Philippines, said Doria.

Implementing the Istanbul Convention is important because it will “simplify and harmonize customs procedures not only during the importation of these types of goods but also during exportation,” Doria further explained in his presentation made at the first general membership meeting of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT) in mid-March.

Under the Convention, temporary admission refers to the customs procedure allowing certain goods to be brought into a customs territory conditionally relieved, totally or partially, from the payment of import duties and taxes, and without application of import prohibitions or restrictions of economic character.

Doria added that such goods must be imported for a specific purpose and intended for re-exportation within a specified period, without having undergone any change except normal depreciation from using them.

Goods covered by the Istanbul Convention include, among others, professional equipment; goods for display or use at exhibitions, fairs, meetings or similar events; goods imported for manufacturing operations; goods for educational, scientific, or cultural purposes; travelers’ personal effects; sporting goods; and goods imported for humanitarian purposes.

Without this convention, the importer must present, among others, the following requirements upon arrival of the goods: Department of Finance (DOF) tax exemption endorsement with accompanying documents; the regular goods declaration; supporting documents such as bill of lading or airway bill, invoice or packing list; and, if required, the corresponding bond for the temporarily admitted goods.

Doria said the Istanbul Convention will benefit Filipino exporters in particular because it will do away with the aforementioned requirements, resulting in “faster flow and movement of products and their innovations across borders.”

In order to enjoy the full benefits of this convention, he said it is important that the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) continues to make active representation with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) for membership in the ATA Carnet International Guarantee Chain.

PCCI is the appointed national issuing and guaranteeing association for the Philippines, and its membership in the guarantee chain will mark the next step in implementing the ATA Carnet system in the country.

“In this regard, we request the PCCI to engage the ICC in order to facilitate your membership to the International Guarantee Chain. It is only then that we can start training our BOC frontliners on how to process goods covered by the ATA Carnet. Or if needed, we issue another customs memorandum order for that purpose,” Doria said.

He described the public-private collaboration to push for PCCI accreditation as being “in full swing.”

ATA Carnet refers to the temporary admission papers used for the temporary admission of goods. It is like a passport for goods used for customs clearance in about 95 countries and territories that have acceded to the convention.

Aside from being a customs document, ATA Carnet also ensures that an obligation will be fulfilled, dispensing with securing a regular bond or any other form of security to guarantee the payment of duties and taxes.

On April 28, 2021, the Philippines signed the Instrument of Accession to the Convention on Temporary Admission, with the Senate concurring with the accession on November 8 of the same year.

On January 17, 2022, the Instrument was deposited with the World Customs Organization, and the Istanbul Convention became effective in the country on April 17 of last year.

Philippine accession to the Convention on Temporary Admission of Goods has been a longtime advocacy of government agencies and business organizations alike, such as the Export Development Council, Department of Trade and Industry, PCCI, and PHILEXPORT.

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, these groups said.

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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