Home » Customs & Trade » FPI proposes several measures to combat smuggling

FPI proposes several measures to combat smuggling THE Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) has recommended the creation of an oversight committee on smuggling under the backing of the Department of Finance (DOF) similar to the Cabinet oversight committee on anti-smuggling (COCAS). This was one of the recommendations put forward by the FPI to the DOF in a meeting recently. FPI president Jesus Arranza said the oversight committee, which should be headed by the Finance secretary, could replicate efforts of the now-inactive COCAS led by Interior and Local Government Secretary Angelo Reyes. Arranza said under his leadership, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves could have a free hand to rid the Bureau of Customs (BOC) of pending cases and reestablish measures to curb if not eradicate incidences of smuggling. At the same time, the FPI said the BOC should address the issue of valuation and classification by making public the cost-insurance-freight value of all imported items and by linking all ports through one central computer system that would ensure correct and uniform valuation of imports,Arranza also said the BOC should start cleaning up records of importers and customs brokers to eliminate fictitious or fly-by-night operators. To finally put an end to unscrupulous traders, the FPI recommended that the BOC review the customs bonded warehouses (CBWs) to determine their legitimacy. The FPI said the BOC should limit the type of CBWs to industry-specific ones, which would make it a requirement that the industry concerned is consulted to determine the legitimacy of the CBW applicant. For CBWs already in place, Arranza said the BOC should require operators and economic zone locators to submit a monthly liquidation report of imports and exports. Some CBWs have been allegedly chanelling their imports to the domestic market. Arranza said the government could look at the standard practice of China’s special economic zones of requiring all importers to initially pay taxes and duties of all goods, subject to the immediate refund thereof if the product is re-exported. The federation cited the need to address unliquidated balances of CBWs such as Generics Liebert and National Steel Corp., now Global Steel, which have outstanding liabilities totaling P607 million. The FPI also reiterated earlier requests for the BOC to require shipping lines to furnish the agency with a copy of inward foreign manifests which would warn and alert the BOC of incoming shipments and prevent tampering of bill of lading. Other measures proposed by the FPI include the review of all pending cases related to smuggling before the Department of Justice to facilitate its prompt resolution and the immediate passage the anti-smuggling bill. The bill has been approved on third reading by the House committee on ways and means.

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