Home » Across Borders » Customs Modernization Act
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WE continue our discussion on the expected changes in cus-toms operations arising from the planned revision of the existing customs and tariff laws through the passage of the “Customs and Tariff Modernization Act”.

Customs Control

Some of the proposed measures on customs control are as follows:

  • Physical examination of goods must be based on a compliance measurement strategy using a risk management system;
  • Customs control shall include audit-based control (e.g. post entry audit);
  • Customs shall use information technology and electronic commerce to the extent possible, taking into consideration the traders commercial systems;
  • Provision providing for the rights and liabilities of a ‘third party’ representing the importer; and
  • Goods entering the customs territory, even though for those for transshipment (e.g. goods bound for PEZA or free trade zones), shall be subject to customs control.

Use of Information Technology

Customs is currently in the midst of implementing its Php500-million computerization program. It has also received funding from various countries to further enhance its technological capabilities. Among the proposed measures are as follows:

  • Use of international standards such as the WCO Framework of Standards and the WCO Customs Data Model;
  • Use of electronic commerce methods in addition to paper-based authentication methods; and
  • Retention of customs data which may be shared with other customs administrations.

Customs and Third Parties

Given the increasing compliance and security measures imposed by various customs administrations worldwide, efforts are being made to harmonize the same such as the following:

  • Recognition of the right of the importers and exporters to transact with customs directly or by assigning a third person to act on his behalf;
  • Provision for the liability of third party representatives to customs for duty and tax irregularities; and
  • Provision for customs to provide the conditions for disallowing third parties to represent importers or exporters.

Information and Rulings

As part of the efforts to promote transparency in customs operations, below are some of the expected changes:

  • Availability of relevant information (rules, regulations and rulings) using information technology;
  • Customs to provide the information immediately upon request without divulging private and confidential information;
  • Provision for providing interested parties with a written decision within a prescribed period; and
  • Allowing interested parties the right to appeal to an authority other than the customs administration.

Other Relevant Measures

Addition relevant provisions are as follows:

  • Carriers shall not be required to provide information beyond what is required by normal documentation and by international transport agreements;
  • Storage of goods in customs bonded warehouse within a period required by the needs of the business, and not less than 1 year in case of non-perishable goods; and
  • Provision for customs to check goods admitted in free zones (e.g. PEZA and free trade zones such as Clark and Subic).

The author is an international trade consultant, and a licensed customs broker. He is a lecturer on logistics, indirect tax and customs, and a lecturer of Ateneo and BayanTrade on Supply Chain Management. Please contact agatonuvero@yahoo.com for your comments.

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