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LAST Thursday (October 1), the E2M Technical Working Group (TWG) conducted its first workshop meeting to thresh out operational and policy issues in line with the October 12 roll out of the program in the Port of Manila and MICP.

It will be remembered that during the E2M forum hosted by FEDFAP and PUC last September 10 at the Manila Hotel, BOC Commissioner Napoleon Morales agreed to defer the implementation of E2M in the two ports pending resolution of issues raised by members of the forwarding industry, particularly those raised by PISFA in its position paper submitted to customs.

CPO 310-2009

As agreed by customs and industry leaders during the September 10 forum, a technical working group will be created and will be composed of customs officials and representatives of the private stakeholders.

Last week, BOC issued Customs Personnel Order No. 310-2009 creating the E2M TWG composed of customs officials and representatives from PUC, FEDFAP, PISFA, CCBI, ATI, ICTSI and UNISYS.

An initial meeting was held last October 1 and another meeting is scheduled this week to finalize the agreements and to resolve the remaining issues prior to the October 12 implementation.

12-hour / 0-hour Rule

One of the major concerns of forwarders/consolidators is that the strict sequential requirement for submission of manifest information

  • (1st main manifest,
  • 2nd “register” main manifest within VASP,
  • 3rd submit co-load manifests,
  • 4th validate consolidation manifest) and provision for similar timelines for shipping lines and forwarders/consolidators exposes the latter to possible hefty fines and penalties.

During the initial implementation at MICP last August 17, submissions made by forwarders/consolidators were held on ‘queue’ due to delays in the submissions of shipping lines. The program required prior submission of the shipping line manifest before acceptance of the consolidation manifest.

As discussed in the first E2M TWG meeting and subject to final approval of the BOC Commissioner, an initial agreement to have a 12-hour deadline for shipping lines and 0-hour deadline for forwarders/consolidators was made between customs officials and the private sector representatives. In addition, clarifications were made that forwarders/consolidators will not be subjected to penalties if the failure of forwarders to meet the deadline resulted from delays on the part of the shipping lines.

Summary of Initial Agreements

We have summarized below some of the initial agreements made during the first E2M TWG workshop meeting:

  • On the ATRIG requirement, customs has agreed to defer the requirement that the ATRIG reference number (issued by BIR) be posted in the system first prior to filing of import entry;
  • On the need to verify or approve bank payments, importers will need to make the proper arrangement with their respective banks;
  • On the payment information reflecting IPF and Container Security Fee payments, customs has promised to provide for an ‘electronic payment verification system’;
  • On the treatment of ‘first and last’ importation, importations of local governments units and diplomats/embassies, and short shipments, customs has accordingly prepared the necessary regulations to address these concerns and to be issued prior to the October 12 implementation;
  • On the treatment of ‘split’ shipments (part consumption and part warehousing), customs clarified that importers will need to also split the bill of lading to separate the articles for consumption and those for warehousing; and
  • On issues involving electronic Certificate of Payment (for vehicle registration purposes), customs mentioned that they are still working on the technical issues of the system.

Pending Concerns

For further discussion in the next TWG meeting are the following remaining major concerns:

  • Treatment of DDP shipments, whether importers will need to submit their bank reference numbers for the duty payments to be provided by forwarders;
  • Provision for a lower and fixed penalty in case of non-compliance;
  • Helpdesks operational guidelines during the initial 2 weeks of implementation; and
  • Deferment of penalty provision for 6 months.

The author is the legal director of AFPI, PISFA and PUC. He is a lecturer on logistics, indirect tax and customs, and a trainor of Ateneo and BayanTrade on International Supply Chain Management. Please contact agatonuvero@yahoo.com for your comments.

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