President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 136 creating a trade facilitation committee to streamline and improve customs procedures in the country
Signed on May 18, the order creates the Philippine Trade Facilitation Committee in compliance with the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement
Under EO 136, the PTFC is tasked to study, propose and coordinate the position, activities, or actions of the Philippine government on matters pertaining to implementation of the WTO-TFA and other trade facilitation commitments
The PTFRC is to be chaired by the Department of Finance, with the Department of Trade and Industry as co-chair and the Bureau of Customs as vice chair and various concerned government agencies as members
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order (EO) creating a trade facilitation committee to streamline and improve customs procedures in the country.
EO 136, signed on May 18, creates the Philippine Trade Facilitation Committee (PTFC) to be chaired by the Department of Finance (DOF), with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as co-chair and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) as vice chair.
The creation of the committee is in compliance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which mandates member states to establish and/or maintain a national committee on trade facilitation or designate an existing mechanism to facilitate both domestic coordination and implementation of the provisions of the TFA.
The Philippines ratified the WTO-TFA in 2016 and the agreement entered into force in 2017.
“To faithfully comply with our commitments under the WTO-TFA, there is a need to establish a body which would streamline and improve customs procedures and facilitate the implementation of rational, efficient, and simple customs rules which will reduce the cost of trade transactions, and enable micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises to participate more actively in international trade,” according to the the EO.
Under EO 136, the PTFC is tasked to study, propose, and coordinate the position, activities, or actions of the Philippine government on matters pertaining to the implementation of the WTO-TFA and other trade facilitation commitments.
It should also call on the assistance of and coordinate with relevant government agencies and stakeholders on various trade and trade-related concerns covered by the WTO-TFA and other trade facilitation commitments.
The PTFC will propose to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board Committee on Tariff and Related Matters trade regulations, measures, and practices, which are consistent with the objectives of the WTO-TFA and other trade facilitation commitments, to expedite movement, release, and clearance of goods.
The committee is tasked to undertake outreach, advocacy, capacity-building, and studies among its members and stakeholders to increase awareness of the best practices and benefits of trade facilitation.
In coordination with the Anti-Red Tape Authority, the PTFC should ensure compliance with Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 in relation to trade facilitation.
The PTFC may prescribe internal rules and guidelines in the performance of its duties and functions and for the conduct of its affairs.
BOC will also act as the Secretariat, which will provide administrative and technical support support to the committee.
In a statement, BOC said it “accepts these responsibilities and commits to continuously support the government’s initiatives to further reduce cost of trade transactions and improve international trade.”
Members of the PTFRC include the Department of Agriculture, Department of Foreign Affairs, NEDA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Transportation, Tariff Commission, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, DTI-Bureau of International Trade Relations, DTI-Bureau of Import Services, Food and Drug Administration, and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.
The initial funding requirements for the implementation of EO 136 will be charged against current appropriations of the member-agencies of the PTFC. The budgetary requirements for the succeeding years will be incorporated in the annual budget proposals of the member-agencies.