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BOC continues to boost trade facilitation

Overshoots March target, registers P2.5 billion surplus

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THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) under Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio continues to boost its effort on trade facilitation by strengthening its partnership with customs officials from Special Administrative Region of Hongkong (SAR-HK) and the Intellectual Property Office for copyrighted goods transacted thru electronic commerce (e-Commerce).

From March 19 March 21, 2024, customs officials headed by Atty. Yasser Ismail Abbas, director of the Import Assessment Service (IAS), and NAIA district collector, Atty. Yasmin Obillos-Mapa, engaged with their counterparts from Hongkong thru a ‘joint validation visit’ to discuss the intricacies of the ‘Authorized Economic Operator’ (AEO) Programme.

Abbas said their discussion is also aimed at advancing mutual recognition arrangements between the parties and bolstering the bureau’s efforts towards trade facilitation.

It should be noted that the country’s trade and commercial relationship with Hongkong has long been a part of the Philippines’ economic landscape dating back to when both countries are under colonial rule, the Philippines by Spain, and Hongkong by Great Britain.

The engagement also includes a visit at the NAIA air cargo terminal where Mapa and Abbas discussed the practical application of customs procedures and the AEO’s operational framework.

The visit also culminated in the approval of a joint venture between TE Connectivity HK Limited and Wilson Logistics Limited.

To be finalized soon is the ‘Mutual Recognition Arrangement’ between the BOC and its counterpart, the Hongkong Customs and Excise Department.

Even as the engagement with Hongkong customs officials is winding down, the BOC, in partnership with the Intellectual Property office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) and ‘ARISE Plus Philippines, successfully conducted a capacity-building session on ‘Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the Context of Cross-Border e-Commerce Transactions’ last March 20.

The IPR workshop, chaired by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Mary Jean Pacheco, is aimed at enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights in cross-border e-commerce shipments, fostering stronger collaboration between BOC and IPOPHL.

The event also offered Trade Regulatory Government Agencies (TRGA), including the Philippine Trade Facilitation Committee (PTFC), and e-commerce platforms a deeper understanding of the crucial role of IPR in cross-border e-commerce.

Paul Oliver N. Pacunayen, Acting Chief of the BOC Intellectual Property Rights Division (IPRD), shared updates on the BOC’s initiatives to safeguard IP rights in cross-border shipments, resulting in the seizure of counterfeit products valued at P65.2 billion (US$ 1.1 billion) between 2019 and 2023.

P2.5 billion surplus collection for March

Meanwhile, the BOC continues to register robust revenue collection, registering a surplus of P2.5 billion for the month of March.

The Financial Service noted that based on preliminary data, the BOC collected P75.429 billion, surpassing the target of P72.910 billion by 3.45 percent or a surplus of P2.519 billion.

For the first quarter, the BOC exceeded its cumulative revenue target by 4 percent, collecting P219.385 billion against its target of P210.896 billion.

This reflects an increase of 2.6 percent or P5.557 billion, compared to the P213.829 billion collection for the same period in 2023.

The BOC’s strong fiscal performance is attributed to its higher rate of assessment or enhanced system for determining the customs value of imported goods. Additionally, the BOC boosted its revenue collection through its strict monitoring and collection of deferred payment of Government importation.

Intensified post-clearance audit also resulted in ensuring compliance to customs laws and collection of rightful duties and taxes from importers.

The BOC also recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) to facilitate the digital payment of miscellaneous fees and further streamline the BOC payment process for improve collection and further convenience of its stakeholders.

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