Home » Customs & Trade » No corporations may register with VASPs, says BOC VASP Secretariat

ANOTHER storm is brewing at the Bureau of Customs (BOC). This after one of the bureau’s accredited value-added service providers (VASP) claimed the VASP accreditation secretariat will only allow individual licensed customs brokers and general professional partnerships to register with the VASPs.

“The marching order from the BOC is that only individual customs brokers will be allowed to register and lodge entries in Phase II of the E2M (electronic-to-mobile) project of the BOC,” E-Konek Pilipinas general manager Willie Ortaliz told members of the Chamber of Customs Brokers Inc (CCBI) in a briefing last week.

“Once enforced, no entries will be accepted by the BOC gateway unless it is lodged by an individual broker using his own personal circumstances and electronic signature,” he added.

This effectively shuts out corporations and brokerage houses from signing up with VASPs.

The Port Users Confederation, Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association and the Aircargo Forwarders of the Philippines, Inc insist corporations must be allowed to register with VASPs because some customs entries to be filed through them (VASPs) are known only to importers or their forwarders – most of which are invariably corporations.

The groups also decried what they claim as the apparent link being made between the VASP registration and Republic Act 9280 or the Customs Brokers Act of 2004. The latter’s prohibition on corporate practice and its bias toward individual customs brokers exclusively performing customs clearance at the BOC are a source of friction among transport industry stakeholders.

The news that the VASP registration may be restricted to individual licensed customs brokers is being taken by some as BOC’s attempt at introducing policies compliant with RA 9280.

RA 9280 is, however, currently facing amendments at the legislature, mainly to allow corporations to file entries at the BOC using their in-house customs brokers.

BOC’s insistence on individual customs brokers being the exclusive registrants to VASPs sits well with brokers particularly the CCBI, so far the only accredited professional organization under RA 9280.

CCBI said this could end the battle it has been waging since RA 9280 was signed into law. That battle is premised on individual brokers being the only ones allowed to file, lodge and process customs entries at the BOC.

The BOC is currently allowing corporations to file entries as long as these are filed with the personal information of the corporate broker alongside that of the corporation’s tax identification number.

Phase II of the E2M project involves the Client Profile Registration System (CPRS) that will allow the BOC to access information on all persons and companies with which it has transactions.

The system, still undergoing pilot testing, requires the individual broker’s electronic signature before any entry is processed.

For possible rollout next month, Phase III involves automation of the export sector.

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