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Title IV of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act has four chapters: chapter 1 (Goods Declaration), chapter 2 (Examination of Goods), chapter 3 (Assessment and Release) and chapter four (Special Procedures). Title V has a single chapter covering Export Clearance and Declaration.
Title IV (Import Clearance and Formalities)
Chapter 1 (Goods Declaration) covers general requirements and has 19 sections dealing with the importation process. While many of the provisions have been adopted from the old code, among the salient features of this chapter are as follows:
- Goods declarations (for consumption, customs bonded warehouse (CBW), for admission to free zones, for conditional importation or for customs transit) are required for ALL importations, including goods bound for freeports and Philippine Economic Zone Authority zones and those directly discharged in freeports (e.g. Subic).
- Goods declarations shall be submitted electronically and, when printed and certified, such printed copy shall be considered as actionable documents for purposes of filing administrative and criminal charges against the importer.
- Customs can now allow provisional goods declarations when some information or supporting documents are not available to complete a regular goods declaration, but such information or document must be submitted within 45 days.
- Goods declarations are now required to be submitted within 15 days from discharge from aircraft or vessel. The period may be extended for another 15 days. Under the rules on abandonment, the importer may also reclaim the abandoned goods within an additional 30 days.
- A new provision has been provided allowing advance lodgement and clearance of goods. At present, the Bureau of Customs allows the advance filing of goods declaration even prior to the arrival of the goods.
- International standards on the mode of payment and terms of trade are recognized. These standards include those developed by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on INCOTERMs and on international letter of credit such as the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits.
Chapter 2 (Examination of Goods) retains many of the old provisions relating to examination of goods. A provision has been provided allowing customs to adopt non-intrusive technology (such as x-ray machines) in the examination of goods.
Chapter 3 (Assessment and Release) adopted many of the old provisions on the assessment process which includes the valuation, classification and computation of taxes and duties on imported goods. Among the major changes under this chapter are as follows:
- A new provision provides a tax and duty exemption on goods with a de minimis value of Php10,000 FOB or FCA.
- In lieu of the old provision on tentative liquidation, two provisions on tentative assessment have been provided to cover (i) goods subject to dispute settlement, and (ii) goods covered by provisional declarations.
- Assessment shall be deemed FINAL after 15 days from receipt of notice. Final assessment shall also be deemed CONCLUSIVE after 3 years from date of final payment of duties and taxes. Within that 3-year period, customs may conduct a post clearance audit on the subject importation.
Chapter 4 (Special Procedures) are new provisions covering rules on travelers, passenger baggage, postal mail and express shipment (courier). Additional provision under Section 440 on advance clearance and control on containerized cargoes has been provided to allow customs to provide a load port survey program on containerized cargoes.
What is clearly new under this chapter is the mandate for customs to provide a simplified process based on international practices for postal matters and courier shipments. With regard to Section 440, the version approved by the Lower House required a load port survey for all containerized cargoes but the approved version only directs customs to implement a voluntary program.
Title V (Export Clearance and Formalities)
Many of the sections under this Title have been adopted from the old code. The only new provision is Section 503 (Rules of Origin). Under this new provision, CMTA allows the bureau or any other designated government agency to determine the origin of goods for export, and for exporters to adopt a self-certification system accredited by the bureau or a designated government agency.
The author is an international trade, indirect tax (customs) and supply chain expert. He is the Editorial Board Chairman of Asia Customs and Trade, an online portal on customs and trade developments affecting global trade and customs compliance in Asia. ACT provides trade intelligence through industry updates and features; columns written by customs and trade professionals and experts; and specially commissioned reports.For questions, please email him at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org (www.customstrade.asia).