Home » Customs & Trade » BOC, US Customs sign deal on advance data transfer

THE Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the United States Customs are set to sign an agreement that will strengthen the anti-smuggling campaign of both countries.Newly-installed Customs commis-sioner Alexander Arevalo, in an interview, said the Philippines would benefit more once the pact is signed within the next three months.The BOC and the US customs are now finalizing conditions of the Data Agreement on Revenue, Trade Transparency System (DARTS). Funding for the project is $250,000, which the BOC is still trying to source.

"The agreement, when signed, will give the Philippines the advantage to access customs data on all Philippine-bound shipments ahead of time. We would have already checked the cargoes before they actually arrive," Arevalo explained.He added that the scheme would establish an electronic system wherein the US customs will send data to its Philippine counterpart on all Philippine-bound shipments from US ports, eventually giving local authorities the power to evaluate the real trade value of the shipment while it is in transit. The system works both ways.

The move is one of the strategies being devised by the BOC when it totally revamped its anti-smuggling campaign earlier this year.The bureau is also talking to the Association of International Shipping Lines to give the agency advance information on incoming cargoes at least 12 hours prior to arrival for shipment evaluation.To date, information on imported cargoes is submitted five days after arrival at Philippine ports giving customs authorities little time to examine the shipment particularly the true value of the transaction.

Arevalo added that consignees may no longer underdeclare or misdeclare the shipment, particularly those imported cargoes from the US.The BOC is also negotiating with Thailand to enter into the same agreement and expects the same to be signed before yearend. Negotiations are also ongoing with other Asean countries to forge such agreements."Such contract will definitely boost trade in the region at the same time curtail or lessen smuggling in the country," the BOC chief said.

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