The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is ready to implement the European Union Registered Exporters (REX) system for certifying the origin of goods. The system is crucial in allowing Philippine exporters to continue enjoying benefits under the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.
”The REX system will gradually replace the current system of origin certification based on certificates of origin [CO] (Form A) issued by BOC,” the agency’s Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group deputy commissioner Atty. Edward James Dy Buco said in a memo dated July 5.
A customs order on guidelines for implementation of the system will soon be issued.
Exporters may start applying online through https://customs.ec.europa.eu/rex-pa-ui/#/create-preapplication/.
Once the electronic application is submitted, a printed application from must be submitted by exporters to BOC’s Export Division or Export Unit together with the tax identification number; unique reference number (URN) for Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) locators and Client Profile Registration System for non-PEZA locators; and product evaluation report, if applicable.
All application forms submitted to the Export Divisions/Unit shall be endorsed to BOC’s Export Coordinating Division (ECD) for registration to the REX system.
Exporters shall be notified about the results of the application and assigned a REX number within seven working days from receipt of the complete set of documents by ECD from the export division of ports.
CO Form A shall be issued by the Export Divisions/Units for exporters that are not yet registered to REX until December 31, 2019. In case majority of exporters to EU are not yet able to register by the third quarter of this year, an extension of six months may be requested from the EU. If the extension is granted, it is only up to June 30, 2020.
First applied to the Generalized System of Preferences program from January 1, 2017, REX will eventually completely replace the current system of origin certification that is based on certificates of origin issued by government authorities and on invoice declarations made out under certain conditions by economic operators.
The global transition period from the current system of origin certification to the REX system started on January 1, 2017 and will last until June 30, 2020, at the latest. The Philippines had earlier notified that it would apply the REX system on January 1, 2019 but the Department of Trade and Industry last January notified exporters that BOC, the country’s competent authority, is still completing the two prerequisites for applying the REX system.
Under REX, the economic operators will prepare the so “statements on origin.” To be entitled to do this, an economic operator will have to register in the database of his competent authorities to become a registered exporter.
The European Commission provides and maintains the REX system, so GSP beneficiary countries do not have to develop the system themselves.
The REX system is supported by an IT system, which is basically a database in which competent authorities, in the Philippines’ case, the BOC, will register their exporters who intend to export products under a preferential trade arrangement and will keep their data up to date.
The Philippines was granted beneficiary-country status under the EU GSP+ in December 2014. Under this scheme, the Philippines may export 6,274 eligible products duty-free to the EU market. Prior to December 2014, the Philippines was covered by the regular EU GSP which provided zero duty to only 2,442 products and reduced tariffs to 3,767 products.
According to the EU Trade Preferences Monitoring Report released on January 19, 2018, the robust trade relations between the Philippines and EU were highlighted with EUR2 billion worth of Philippine exports in 2017, the products benefitting from the GSP+, compared to EUR1.66 billion in 2016. – Roumina Pablo