BOC sets uniform 5-year validity for all export product evaluation reports

A new Bureau of Customs memo makes uniform the five-year validity period for PERs regardless of which free trade agreement the export goods applying for CO fall under. Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay
  • The product evaluation report (PER), a requirement for Philippine export products to be issued a certificate of origin, is now valid for five years
  • An Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group memo dated Feb 10 amends an earlier memo that reduced validity of PERs to three years
  • Philippine Exporters Confederation welcomed the five-year validity period but pressed for eventual removal of additional evaluation for the same export products

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has set to five years validity of the product evaluation report (PER) required from exporters applying for a certificate of origin (CO).

A Feb 10 memo issued by BOC Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group (AOCG) deputy commissioner Edward James Dy Buco makes uniform the five-year validity period for PERs regardless of which free trade agreement (FTA) the export goods applying for CO fall under.

The new memo was issued to achieve consistency between Section 10.3 of Customs Memorandum Order 15-2019–which set at five years the validity period for PER of exports under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement—and all other FTAs.

Dy Buco confirmed to PortCalls in a Viber message that the validity period now applies to “all“ PERs.

The reckoning of the five-year period starts from the date of issuance of the PER.

Dy Buco’s February 10 memo amended AOCG Memo 67-2021 dated February 5, which set a three-year validity for PERs.

Under the Feb 10 memo, PERs previously issued to exporters with a validity of three years will be extended to five years, although the validity is subject to periodic review or whenever appropriate.

A PER is a document that contains the results of the pre-evaluation of export products applying for CO. An export product is required to be pre-examined and issued a PER by the BOC Export Coordination Division (ECD) to determine if it qualifies for a CO.

Welcome move

In response to the issuance of the Feb 10 AOCG memo, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. assistant vice president for advocacy and communications Ma. Flordeliza Leong said, “We deeply appreciate the swift positive response of the BOC through Dep Com Dy Buco on this issue.”

Philexport earlier decried the Feb 5 memo which shortened the PER validity to three years.

In the interest of trade facilitation though, Leong said Philexport hopes the need for additional evaluation for the same products will eventually be removed.

Dy Buco’s Feb 10 memo clarified that pursuant to AOCG Memo No. 228-2020, all provincial applications for the issuance of PER and CO are still to be filed with and be processed by the ECD of the local collection district.

For locally produced and/or wholly obtained export products (which do not require PER), self-declaration by the exporter, manufacturer, and/or trader exporting under various FTAs will be used as basis when applying for the issuance of a CO, in compliance with existing laws and rules.

Under CMO 02-2010, the ECD should exercise oversight functions on all activities related to the issuance and utilization of COs, whether unilateral, bilateral, regional, or multilateral.

The ECD also has the responsibility to pre-evaluate all exporters and their export products for CO issuance, regardless of where export declarations are processed and regardless of ports of loading.

Authorized issuance of COs can also be delegated by the ECD chief to the ED or its equivalent unit in collection districts where export declarations are processed, provided products exported have a pre-approved evaluation from the ECD chief.

A CO is a document declaring in which country a commodity or good was manufactured, and is required by many treaty agreements for cross-border trade so as to determine whether certain goods are eligible for import, or whether goods are subject to duties.

Under Customs Administrative Order No. 08-2020, any exporter may apply for the issuance of CO, with or without preferential tariff treatment, through a system allowing the electronic exchange of CO among respective free trade areas. If the system is not yet available, CO in paper form should be issued.

BOC or any designated government agency may determine the origin of goods for export and may carry out proper examination, if warranted. After verification, the CO may be issued by BOC, or by any concerned special economic and/or Freeport zone authority with BOC’s concurrence.

Currently, Filipino exporters intending to export goods within the ASEAN have the option to apply for an e-CO via the new national single window, TradeNet, to secure preferential tariffs under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement.

BOC in September 2020 also issued CMO 24-2020, which laid out guidelines for executing the newly enforced self-certification scheme within ASEAN. The certified exporter status may be used instead of the CO Form D, as the latter still requires exporters to apply for every shipment manually and only during office hours on regular work days.

Dy Buco said there are currently four certified exporters registered under the ASEAN-wide self-certification scheme. – Roumina Pablo