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The Bureau of Customs and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) have signed a memorandum of agreement renewing their cooperation to further improve operations covering shipments bound to PEZA economic zones.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) renewing their cooperation to further improve operations covering shipments bound to PEZA economic zones.

The MOA, signed by Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña and PEZA director general Charito Plaza on January 26, said the two agencies “both desire to continue with the reform and modernization of BOC-PEZA operations, particularly in the movement of goods and materials between PEZA economic zones (inter-zone transfers), as well as the entry and exit of goods to and from the zones, in accordance with Republic Act No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.”

BOC and PEZA first signed an MOA in 2001 to undertake programs to simplify and make more convenient the compliance with regulations and doing business at PEZA zones. Following this, both agencies have signed joint memorandum orders (JMOs) prescribing procedures for several BOC-PEZA operations.

PEZA’s Plaza, in an interview with reporters after the MOA signing on January 26, said the credibility and efficiency of the country’s import and export procedures is important to investors.

The MOA hopes to “ make efficient, make faster and make more honest and credible transaction and services,” Plaza said.

Automation of inter-zone transfers

Under the MOA, both agencies agree to automate operations governing inter-zone transfers, as well as the bringing in and bringing out of goods to and from PEZA economic zones, including local sales, disposal of goods in the domestic territory and transfer of goods to other economic zones and freeports administered by other authorities.

It also includes reviewing the effectiveness and efficiency of the current automated systems covered by existing JMOs and adopting more advanced policies and technologies, and studying other best practices to enhance customs facilitation and movement of the goods of economic zone enterprises.

Both also agree to undertake a comparative study between Philippine special economic zones’ operational procedures for moving goods and those of their counterpart special zones abroad to generate ways and means to make the regulatory environment for special economic zones in the country as good as, if not better than, others in the region.

The two agencies also commit to jointly promulgate and issue implementing rules and regulations on the transit of goods admitted into, exported from, withdrawn into the customs territory, and moved between PEZA economic zones.

Lastly, BOC and PEZA shall designate specific units and point persons-in-charge in their respective agencies to formulate and implement the appropriate programs, systems, and procedures, corresponding orders, MOAs, and other issuances as needed within an agreed timeframe.

The designated units and point persons-in-charge will report directly to the customs commissioner and the PEZA director general, respectively. – Roumina Pablo

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