Trade-Facilitating Laws to benefit PH exporters
Export Marketing Bureau (EMB)

Reforms and amendments on existing regulatory laws that facilitate the free flow of traded goods will benefit PH exporters.
?High transaction cost of moving trade goods remains to be a major drag factor in the competitiveness of PH exports,? said Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) Director Senen M. Perlada.

With the recent adoption of RA 10668 known as the Foreign Co-Loading Law and the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), DTI-EMB expects that reduction of obstacles to free movement of goods and services is expected to greatly contribute to the 9% growth of exports in 2016.

?Many of these factors are related to moving and clearing of cargoes at the ports; and cumbersome and costly requirements of regulatory agencies on traded goods. It is thus necessary to remove or at least reduce unnecessary regulatory obstacles to the movement of goods and delivery of services?, added Perlada.?

The RA 10668 otherwise known as the Foreign Co-Loading Law amended last July 2015 practically adopts the Cabotage rule which allows foreign vessels to dock at any Philippine port for loading and unloading of foreign cargoes. Foreign cargo refers to import and export cargo carried by a foreign vessel. The law will pave way to the reduction of costs for logistics and will provide transshipment services needed by exporters and importers.

The amended Cabotage Law is also expected to increase port revenues and provide price-competitive shipping service that will help exporters to compete effectively in the international market. It will further help decongest Manila ports as most shipments normally have to unload first in Manila before shipping directly to other domestic ports around the country.

On the other hand, the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) has been approved in the Bicameral Conference after both Houses have reconciled the Senate and House Bills of the CMTA. The bill now awaits the signature of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

The bill (S.B. No. 2986), sponsored by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, amends the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) in compliance with the Revised Kyoto Convention which is a blueprint for ?modern and efficient customs procedures? of the World Customs Organization. The bill aims to significantly reduce human intervention in Bureau of Custom?s (BOC) process and promotes transparency and accountability of the BOC.

Aside from the CMTA, The BOC has also implemented other measures that will benefit exporters and importers. Both exporters and importers favored the move of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) under Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 29-2015 last September to discard two (2) import forms such as the Import Entry and Internal Revenue Declaration (IEIRD) and the Supplemental Declaration on Valuation (SDV). This will reduce their transaction costs with the BOC in the release of their imported items.

Under CMO 29-2015, the use of IEIRD or BOC Form 236 will be discontinued in favor of the Single Administrative Document (SAD) which will now serve as the entry declaration. The SAD is secured through the E2M Customs system and printed in two (2) copies.

The information in the SDV will be indicated in Box 39 of the SAD which is considered a mandatory field in the entry declaration.

The CMO implements the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) entered into by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Tariff Commission and other government agencies on the electronic information interchange between the BOC and other agencies.

Another BOC policy that would be beneficial to exporters is the non-requirement of Certificate of Exemption for importation of lithium Ion batteries provided that these are imported as finished product. This was reiterated in Customs Memorandum Circular No. 96 -2015 pursuant to Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation 1-2014.

Reforms on the policies being implemented are results of consultations among Export Development Council, Dangerous Drugs Board, other government agencies and affected industries to avoid delay in the release of imported lithium ion batteries utilized by the electronics sector.

The BOC also revised its port operation manual, thereby abolishing the requirements of Notice of Stuffing and the presence of Stuffing Inspector during the stuffing/loading of export cargo container (CMO 4- 2015).

Removing domestic regulations and other unnecessary costs of production and market delivery enhances the capacity of our local producers to focus on the improvement of their product and participate and explore opportunities given to them by the government. Through these efforts, the export sector is expecting greater participation from the local sector and a positive return in achieving the country?s stretch target growth of 8-9% for exports this year.