DTI said it will call for expansion of Executive Order No. 230-2000 (“Authorizing the Establishment of SGL Facility in the Bureau of Customs”) through the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).
The CMTA—still to be approved in both houses of Congress—is one of the Aquino administration’s priority bills designed to update and harmonize various customs regulations.
In a statement, Prudencio Reyes, Jr., supervising DTI undersecretary of Liaison Office for Legislative Affairs, said there is need to recognize SMEs “particularly those who strive to keep a high level of compliance in doing business with Customs policies and requirements, providing them access to the same SGL which (is) already made available to top 1000 corporations.”
Reyes, previously BOC deputy commissioner for Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group (AOCG), said the initiative is consistent with DTI’s key priorities in helping SMEs do business under simplified rules and procedures “amidst the stiffening competition and (SMEs’) struggles to put up and sustain their business.”
The SGL is a special facility under the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) to which the country has been a signatory since February 2010. The agreement mandates contracting parties to provide special procedures for authorized persons who pass certain criteria specified by Customs, including a record of compliance with Customs requirements and a satisfactory system for managing their commercial records.
Asked if the DTI proposal was immediately possible, current AOCG deputy commissioner Atty. Agaton Teodoro Uvero told PortCalls “not yet.”
He explained, “We are still reviewing current policies to possibly allow SMEs to participate in such a program”, adding details will still have to be discussed with DTI.
Uvero, who normally attends Congressional hearings related to the CMTA on behalf of the BOC, also said the inclusion of SMEs in the SGL program “cannot be (done) in CMTA.” He did not elaborate further.
Through the SGL facility, BOC may grant release of goods if the minimum identifying information is provided and allow subsequent completion of the final goods declaration; as well as approve clearance of goods at the declarant’s premises or another place authorized by Customs.
The BOC may also allow a single goods declaration for all goods imported or exported during a given period by the same person; and the use of an authorized person’s commercial records to self-assess a company’s duty and tax liability and to ensure compliance with other Customs requirements.
In addition, SGL allows lodging of the goods declaration through an entry in the records of the authorized person, to be supported subsequently by a supplementary goods declaration.
“Authorized persons as defined under RKC don’t give any distinctions as to size, whether you are an SME or a large corporation. In principle, you could be entitled to as long as you qualify under the BOC’s set of criteria,” DTI’s Reyes pointed out.
BOC earlier said about 100 companies are currently under the SGL program. — Roumina Pablo
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