Group created to craft rules streamlining agri import procedures

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Group created to craft rules streamlining agri import procedures
  • The Department of Agriculture created a technical working group that will craft rules to streamline import procedures for agricultural products
  • The group will formulate implementing guidelines for Administrative Order 20
  • AO 20 required streamlining of procedures and requirements in the licensing of importers, and minimizing processing time of import applications
  • The TWG will be chaired by DA undersecretary for policy, planning and regulations Atty. Asis Perez; DA assistant secretary for policy and regulations Atty. Paz Benavidez II will serve as vice chairperson

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has created a technical working group (TWG) that will craft guidelines on streamlining administrative procedures for imports of agricultural products.

The TWG, created under DA Special Order (SO) No. 768, will implement Administrative Order (AO) No. 20 series of 2024, which directed DA, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and/or Department of Finance (DOF) to, among others, streamline procedures and requirements in the licensing of importers, minimize processing time of applications for importation, and exempt licensed traders from submission of registration requirements.

SO 768 was signed on May 30 and took effect immediately. In addition to DTI and DOF, the TWG will coordinate with the Bureau of Customs.

The AO noted that while there are existing measures to streamline administrative procedures and policies on the importation of agricultural products and remove non-tariff barriers, “it has been observed that administrative constraints and non-tariff barriers, that unduly add to the costs of importation and limit supplies, continue to persist, thereby increasing domestic prices of agricultural commodities.”

AO 20 said it is “imperative to further streamline administrative procedures to foster transparency and predictability of policies on the importation of agricultural products in order to help ensure food security, maintain sufficient supply of agricultural goods in the domestic market, and improve local production…”

The TWG will be chaired by DA undersecretary for policy, planning and regulations Atty. Asis Perez; DA assistant secretary for policy and regulations Atty. Paz Benavidez II will serve as vice chairperson. A secretariat was established to assist the TWG.

Subject to consultation with the National Economic and Development Authority Committee on Tariff and Related Matters, the TWG should facilitate importation of certain agricultural products beyond the authorized minimum access volume and reduce or remove administrative fees.

The group will also have to streamline procedures and requirements for the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance, and take concrete steps to improve logistics, transport, distribution and storage of imported agricultural products.