The Export Development Council (EDC) has included the electronic certificate of origin (ECO) project of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in its 2015 work plan as part of the ground work to implement the automation project.
EDC is “looking forward to the implementation of E-CO as it will help in boosting the growth of the Philippine exports and raise the competitiveness of the country,” said Francis Ferrer, chairman of the EDC Networking Committee on Trade Policies and Procedure Simplification (NCTPPS), in a letter to Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina.
Ferrer said NCTPPS has been advocating reforms to “streamline and facilitate import and export procedures to reduce the high costs of doing business, turnaround time, and signatures as well as optimize the use of information technology.”
NCTPPS said the ECO project will accelerate full utilization of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Trade in Goods Agreement (ASEAN ATIGA).
Submission of certificates of origin (COs), which also constitutes a declaration by the exporter, is required to avail of preferential tariffs under the ATIGA.
Moreover, NCTPPS said complete customs automation is part of the Philippine Export Development Plan 2014-2016.
It noted that exporters, during a forum by the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), showed interest in joining the pilot implementation.
BOC has tapped value-added service provider (VASP) InterCommerce Network Services, Inc. to introduce a cloud-based software that will automate filing of the CO by exporters as part of the regional drive toward ASEAN integration.
InterCommerce president Francis Norman Lopez, in a presentation during the DTI-EMB forum, said the ECO is a cloud- and VASP-based implementation model that will allow exporters to submit their CO online anytime and anywhere.
The ECO system, created by Pan Asian eCommerce Alliance, a group of VASPs from different Asian countries including InterCommerce in the Philippines, will be undertaken in three phases, with Phase 1 having been set for a pilot run last May and full implementation by June.
Phase 1 includes online issuance of a ruling on origin country of goods (upload approved list of export products qualified under ATIGA rules of origin, or ROO), online CO application by exporter, and submission of scanned copies of support documents and e-payment of BOC documentary stamp; issuance of ATIGA CO; and online printing of approved ATIGA Form D by the exporter, with system-generated reference number and barcode.
The second phase — targeted for pilot testing in September and rollout in October — includes online application for pre-export verification on compliance to free FTA ROO; online approval; monitoring of CO utilization and retro-verification; application for other FTA COs; and management reports.
The third phase will allow for electronic self-certification.
BOC is getting ready to issue the implementing guidelines for the ECO. – Roumina Pablo
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