Global Customs Compliance EO Sought

The Export Development Council (EDC) would team up with the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) to ask President Aquino to sign an executive order (EO) for the country to start complying with simplified rules on customs administration.

The decision was made after former Customs Commissioner Guillermo Parayno pointed out to other members of the EDC committee on the simplification of trade procedures that in its latest global ratings, the Philippines was adjudged with the worst customs procedures in Southeast Asia, behind Laos and Cambodia.

"It is a national shame that has to be corrected soonest," Parayno stressed.

The Philippines ranks number 128th in the list of countries evaluated on the ease of customs procedures worldwide. This was in the league of the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, far below the rankings of dynamic economies in East Asia.

The fastest way the country can correct its cumbersome customs practices is to start complying with the provisions of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) which contains the simplified and harmonized global rules on customs administration.

It was pointed out by Parayno that the Senate-approved Articles of Accession to the RKC was formally deposited to the headquarters of the World Customs Organization in Brussels on February 9, 2010.

The Philippines has a little over a year left to align its local laws to the global customs rules and then actually practicing those rules.

Most of those rules are not in conflict with Philippine laws and do not need legislations, only an executive order, to jumpstart compliance.

Sections of those rules that require a legislation to comply with have already been included in the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act of 2011 which the House of Representatives has passed on third reading. The Senate is discussing its version of the same customs reform law.

Central to compliance is the automation of customs procedures and documentation which is yet to be fully implemented in the Philippines.

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