All trade regulatory government agencies (TRGAs) are now mandated to get on board TradeNet, the government’s online platform for processing applications for import and export permits, according to a circular issued by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA).
ARTA Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2021-01 issued last March 5 provides guidelines for mandatory onboarding of TRGAs with TradeNet, a move endorsed by the Ease of Doing Business and Anti-Red Tape Advisory Council in order to simplify and harmonize the permitting and licensing processes concerning imports and exports.
MC 2021-01 said the complete mandatory onboarding of government agencies involved in approving import and export permits and clearances, processing and monitoring entry of goods, and other trading requirements in economic zones is necessary to “effectively implement trade facilitation in the country, promote whole-of-government approach, generate more investments, and improve ease of doing business.”
The move is also in line with Administrative Order 23, issued on February 21, 2020, which directs all agencies to eliminate overregulation in the government to promote efficient delivery of services, improve ease of doing business, and enhance the country’s competitiveness.
MC 2021-01 covers all TRGAs in the executive department that provide permitting and licensing services for importations and exportations.
The identified TRGAs are grouped into clusters. These include priority agencies, which are those already using the old National Single Window (NSW) and which are part of the National Effort for the Harmonization of Efficient Measures of Inter-related Agencies Program on Logistics.
The others are the logistics and port operations; agriculture and food cluster; chemicals, oils, minerals, environment cluster; general merchandise and retail sector; tax and duty exempt cluster; relief consignment and foreign donations cluster; monitoring and oversight cluster; ecozones and freeport zones cluster; and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Single Window (ASW) cluster.
Within 10 weeks from issuance of MC 2021-01 and receipt of a letter-request for onboarding signed by ARTA, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Finance, and Bureau of Customs, TRGAs should already be on board the TradeNet platform.
Failure to comply may be a ground for the filing of appropriate administrative sanctions.
TradeNet serves as the country’s NSW, the platform required to connect to the ASW, a regional initiative to speed up cargo clearance and promote regional economic integration by enabling the electronic exchange of border documents among the 10 ASEAN member states.
TradeNet is set to replace the NSW Phase 1, which is currently operated by the Bureau of Customs and which was launched in 2010 and deployed in 2011. In 2017, the NSW Steering Committee issued a resolution to adopt TradeNet as the new NSW instead.
TradeNet aims to simplify import and export documentary processes covering an initial 7,400 regulated products. The goal is for all the TRGAs across 18 government departments to be fully interconnected via TradeNet.
ARTA noted that TradeNet currently has only two agencies that are live pilot users. Four agencies are in the preparatory stage to going live, 13 agencies are undergoing process refinements, while 26 are admitted for configuration and linking.
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