Home » Customs & Trade » SPS e-import clearance now in force at DA agencies

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has shifted from manual to automated processing in the application and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance (SPS IC) for three of its attached agencies.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala informed Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez in a recent letter that the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and Bureau of Fisheries and Acquatic Resources (BFAR) are now operating the system in parallel with manual processing until September to maximize use of old forms.

“The manually processed permits using the old forms which are issued from August to September shall be valid until January 2011,” Alcala said.

But starting October 1, all SPS IC applications will have to pass through the automated system.

The DA issued Administrative Order No. 09 Series of 2010 on April 12, 2010 to operationalize the system. The order noted that “the automation of the harmonized business processes of the regulatory agencies particularly in the application and the issuance of the SPS IC will enhance the delivery of services which will lead to the adoption of best practices in the global trade.”

Cargill, a producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services, was the first company to lodge an SPS IC at the BAI followed by Golden Arches, the local franchisee of fast food giant McDonalds. At the BPI, Dole Phils and San Miguel Corp were two of the first users of the system.

As of this writing, BFAR has yet to register any activity due to a few unresolved internal glitches.

Under the new scheme, importers may file their application for SPS IC electronically via InterCommerce Network Services (INS), the system’s technology enabler, 24×7. Once the import application is filed electronically, the DA will automatically process the application and check whether the items are valid or approved. The approved import permit application will then be electronically sent to the importer and can be printed and shown to DA or customs authorities before cargo release.

Depending on the kind of shipment, BPI will charge importers a fee ranging from P20 to P30 per SPS IC lodged and BAI, P200 to P500 per entry. At BFAR, the fee is P1,650 regardless of the kind of shipment.

The fee which INS as service provider will charge has yet to be determined but INS president Francis Lopez earlier told PortCalls said this will likely be equivalent to the import entry lodgment charge applied by INS on imports of Philippine Economic Zone Authority locators, which is P55 per entry.

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