Study highlights need for paperless customs environment, aggressive adoption of AEO

Full computerization and automation will address delays in processing and release of shipments at ports, according to a time release study (TRS) conducted by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the country’s biggest port and collection district, Manila International Container Port (MICP), in 2019.

The study said the practice of having customs brokers/representatives file, submit and bring documents from one office to another and the inability to transmit permits from government agencies directly to BOC “highlight the need to institute a paperless environment in customs.”

The study also suggested a more aggressive implementation of programs recognizing and rewarding compliant traders, such as the Super Green Lane (SGL) facility and Authorized Economic Operator (AEO), to encourage traders to invest in compliance and adopt best practices.

In addition, stronger coordination and online linkage with other government agencies on the issuance of permits, clearances, and other supporting documents so these may be transmitted directly online was suggested, as was an information technology (IT)-based risk assessment and targeting system to increase efficiency in clearing of low-risk shipments, and ensure Customs focuses its priorities on deploying limited resources to areas of highest risk.

The TRS was just recently uploaded on the agency website and was conducted “to determine the problems or bottlenecks in the processing and release of both import and export shipments.”

A TRS working group undertook the study for seven working days in October 2019, following the model of the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) Guide to Measure the Time Required for the Release of Goods Version 3. The group was assisted by the WCO and Asian Development Bank, with brokers, importers, and exporters also involved in the study.

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