Customs Regulated Imports List Explained through NCC Dialogue

March 13 – The National Competitiveness Council gathered more than 250 key stakeholders from the Private and Public Sector through the NCC Dialogues to discuss and better understand the new Regulated Imports List committed to be released through the Bureau of Customs website on April 2 and fully implemented by April 20, 2015. Customs Regulated Imports List Explained through NCC Dialogue
Bureau of Customs Commissioner John Phillip Sevilla presented the foundation, background, and functions of the list, which was put together with the intent to make this the “Single Reference Point for all regulated imports”. The document, a consolidated list containing all regulated products ranging from pesticides, to rice, to steel products, to meat, took about a year to be put together through the help of more than thirty different external development partners and the USAID through the Trade-Related Assistance for Development (TRADE) project.
 The list, according to Comm. Sevilla, has been prepared, is public information, and will be downloadable from the BOC website. This list would also serve as the guide by organizations and institutions to clarify and minimize overlapping definitions and to ensure that importers would secure permits only from the appropriate, concerned government agencies. “It is important for this list to be understandable and accessible both to a lay person as well as an industry expert.” Sevilla said. Customs Regulated Imports List Explained through NCC Dialogue
Comm. Sevilla also emphasized that “It will be an offense, punishable by firing, for any customs official to ask for any import permit for any product which is not on this list.” The Commissioner advised that BOC will provide a means for anyone to report a customs officer who asks for permits for products not on the list, and the Bureau shall take action against the individual. 
Participants, especially those from the agencies whose restrictions for products are found in the list, are encouraged to read the user’s guide, and provide feedback to the Bureau prior to the committed publication and posting of the final version with all necessary changes by April 2, in time of the full implementation on April 20. 
The Commissioner also highlighted the role of the Bureau of Customs in the implementation of the list but further emphasizing that the regulations for the imports will still come from the individual regulatory agencies. Thus, the strong pressure to push government agencies to coordinate better and improve the imports system should come from the private sector.
With BOC’s mandate being multi-faceted, Commissioner Sevilla stressed “We are not trying to collect every single peso we can, we’re trying to collect every single peso that is fair.”
“It’s in the spirit of transparency that we want to put this information out.” NCC Private Sector Co-Chairman Guillermo Luz said. “This is what we need – the transparency, the predictability, and the consistency...this is a collective action on the part of the business community, the clients, and the regulatory agencies.”  Mr. Luz said that if this is executed well, this makes the system more competitive, which will ultimately help the country as a whole.
The National Competitiveness Council regularly conducts Dialogues on specific topics impacting the public and private sectors, with the aim to “inform, engage, and enact”. For more information about the Dialogues, contact Ms. Carolina Velasco through c [dot] velasco [at] competitive [dot] org [dot] ph