The Bureau of Customs has begun negotiations for Authorized Economic Operator mutual recognition agreements with Hong Kong and Israel
The MRA outlines the conditions for accepting the AEO programs of the signing parties
MRA benefits include a higher level of facilitation during cargo clearance, domestic and overseas; priority treatment if the cargo has been selected for inspection; and expedited customs cargo clearance in the event of trade disruption
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has begun negotiations with Hong Kong and Israel for mutual recognition agreements (MRA) of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Program.
An MRA refers to a formal document between two or more customs administrations outlining the circumstances and conditions for recognizing and accepting the AEO programs of the signing parties.
MRA benefits include a higher level of facilitation during cargo clearance, domestic and overseas; priority treatment if the cargo has been selected for inspection; and expedited customs cargo clearance in the event of trade disruption.
BOC Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group deputy commissioner Vener Baquiran, in a text message to PortCalls, confirmed the agency has began talks with the customs administrations of Hong Kong and Israel.
Baquiran said Hong Kong and Israel initiated the MRA negotiations based on the trade volume between the Philippines and the two economies.
Both MRAs are expected to be completed and implemented by the first quarter of 2025.
BOC on January 3 signed its first MRA with China, which currently has MRAs with more than 40 economies.
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Under the MRA with China, Level 2 Certified AEO members accredited by the BOC exporting to the East Asian country will be afforded trade facilitation benefits.
Similarly, exporters to the Philippines accredited as Advanced Certified Enterprises under the measures of the Enterprise Credit Management Programme of China’s General Administration of Customs will be afforded trade facilitation benefits by the BOC.
Both customs administrations parties will develop an implementation plan for the recognition, trade facilitation benefits, and exchange of information before its implementation six months from the signing of the MRA.
BOC earlier said it is actively participating in the development of an AEO MRA with all Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries.
The AEO Program is a partnership pursued globally by customs administrations to secure and facilitate trade by providing incentives to traders working jointly with customs administrations to improve supply chain security.
Implementation of the AEO program in the Philippines became possible in 2016 with the passage of Republic Act No. 10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
BOC launched its AEO Program in December 2019 in compliance with the country’s commitment to the World Customs Organization’s SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade.
Currently, BOC’s AEO Program covers importers and exporters, and has accredited under AEO Level 1 three companies—Toyota Motors Philippines Corp., Panasonic Manufacturing Philippines Corp., and Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines. The three are now being evaluated for Level 2 accreditation.