AANZFTA eyes self-certification to facilitate trade of goods

Philippine exporters may soon find it easier to export under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) agreement as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Australia-New Zealand are planning a pilot program allowing the use of a declaration of origin (DOO) as evidence that the imported goods meet the rules of origin (ROO) and are eligible for preferential tariff treatment.

Under the proposed DOO pilot, origin certification under AANZFTA can be provided by either the DOO or the existing certificate of origin (COO), it was disclosed at a recent workshop in Pasig City.

Thus, the pilot will make documentation of origin a dual system, with traders having the option to use either the COO or DOO.

A DOO is a statement that the goods are originating goods that meet AANZFTA requirements. It is a self-certified document made by the manufacturer, producer, supplier, exporter or other competent person on a DOO form, a commercial invoice, or other commercial documents.

A COO, on the other hand, is a form identifying goods and containing a certification by an authorized body that the goods are originating goods and meet AANZFTA requirements. Unlike the self-certified DOO, the COO is issued and certified by an authorized body on the basis of an application and declaration by the exporter or manufacturer.

Both DOO and COO can serve as proof that the imported goods are originating in accordance with AANZFTA’s requirements and are thus eligible for preferential duty rates.

Under the pilot, the importer will be required to possess either a COO or DOO when claiming preferential treatment on the import declaration.

The DOO scheme is seen to provide a number of benefits for exporters who will avail of AANZFTA preferential duties. With DOO self-certification, traders are equipped with a cost-effective measure to facilitate exports, while still providing adequate documentary evidence of origin.

DOO advantages include placing the documentary evidence requirements on traders; facilitating responsiveness to modern supply chain patterns; and speeding up the flow of trade because the exporter can export whenever he wants, not having to wait for the authorized issuing body to issue the COO.

There is also a cost benefit to traders because a trader-issued DOO costs nothing, while an authorized issuing body may charge fees. The exporter also saves on transport time and fees as he no longer has to go and lodge and pick up a COO. The DOO can be issued by the trader anytime, including weekends and midnight.

Further, the DOO is simple to use as all that is required is a declaration that the goods meet the required ROO to be placed in the sales invoice (or similar document). Therefore, no new paperwork is required by the trader.

The use of DOO will not be mandatory. Exporters can choose to use either the DOO or COO depending on their level of ROO knowledge.

For those who will opt to use the DOO, they are advised to ensure the DOO is accurately completed to avoid delays.

AANZFTA parties are currently holding awareness workshops giving an overview of the DOO pilot program in preparation for its launch.

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