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BOC expands list of general terms in goods declaration subject to cargo exam

  • Bureau of Customs widened to 300 the list of general terms in goods declaration meriting 100% shipment examination
  • CMO 20-2020 notes the current list of commodities needs updating to include new ones usually described in general terms to avoid paying correct tariff

A container truck passes through a BOC portal x-ray | Photo from BOC

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has expanded to 300 the general terms that, if used by an importer to describe imported goods in the goods declaration, will result in a 100% examination of the shipment.

Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 20-2020 dated August 5 amends the list of covered importations in CMO 28-2007, the implementing order of Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 08-2007, which in turn lists the description of imported articles in tariff terms.

CMO 20-2020 noted that the list of commodities in CMO 28-2007 – which previously only had 120 items – is outdated, and that “there is the need to update the same to include new commodities which are being generally described to avoid proper valuation and tariff classification.”

Under CMO 20-2020, the previously 120-item list is now expanded to 300 items.

CMO 28-2007 requires importers to make detailed descriptions of imported articles in tariff terms; otherwise, their shipments will have to go through 100% examination and be considered on a status of continuing alert.

The order aims to foil attempts by some importers to evade paying the right tariff by simply giving generic descriptions.

Under CMO 28-2007, the description of articles must be “in sufficient detail to enable the article to be identified for tariff classification, valuation and other statistical purposes.”

Failure to describe the shipment in detail will be the full responsibility of the importer or broker, CMO 28-2007 states.

“Good faith is not a defense. Both importers and customs brokers shall exercise utmost diligence in declaring goods for purposes of customs clearance,” CMO 28-2007 adds.

READ: BOC chief urges anew compliance to order on proper description of imports

BOC has for years reminded importers to observe strictly the proper description of food and articles pursuant to CMO 28-2007.

In 2014, it issued CMO 26-2014 outlining the requirements for describing motor vehicles in the import entries. – Roumina Pablo

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