Home » Customs & Trade, Maritime » Some Customs policies bane to trade – PISFA

PHILIPPINE importers are holding back their shipments due to certain Bureau of Customs (BOC) policies which they see as counterproductive to trade.

The Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA) said the backlog in importers’ application and renewal at the Interim Customs Accreditation and Registration (ICARE) division is proving to be a dampener to trade. So are the impending nationwide suspension of the use of some customs lanes (yellow and green lanes by November 15) and implementation of the Automated Export Declaration System (AEDS).

"Due to policy and procedural issues at the BOC, importers are holding back their shipments, limiting them to a tolerable level once they encounter hitches in cargo clearance," PISFA president Nelson Mendoza told PortCalls.

PISFA members handle the bulk of the country’s LCL import and export cargoes.

“Even legitimate importers with expired accreditation and registration papers but have already filed for renewal are afraid as there is no guarantee that the BOC would release their cargo even if they are in good standing,” Mendoza said.

The ICARE department has a two-month backlog on importer accreditation applications and renewals. There are apparently not enough personnel in the division — aside from chief Atty. Rhea Gregorio and her deputy Atty. Gerard Toriano — to scrutinize accreditation documents.

For this reason, PISFA will ask BOC to refrain from requiring too many documents which no one can check anyway.

The association is also proposing that the country’s top 10,000 corporations be allowed to import even if their renewal applications are pending to ensure limited trade disruption.

PISFA officials will meet with the ICARE chief tomorrow (November 9) to find a solution to the accreditation and renewal backlog.

Clear rules for AEDS

"For the export sector, the impending imposition of the use of the AEDS is expected to create chaos among exporters, the BOC, forwarders and other stakeholders unless there are clear-cut guidelines for the new procedures," Mendoza said.

The suspension of the yellow and green lanes effective November 15, on the other hand, will mean clearance delays and higher cost for everyone.

"(Once the suspension takes effect) cargoes of our consignees usually tagged for the yellow lane will very likely be tagged red," Mendoza said, which means the shipments will now be subject to both documentary review and physical inspection prior to release. This compares with yellow lane shipments that are subject to documentary review but no physical inspection.

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