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Long queue of importers and customs brokers trying to beat the accreditation deadline at the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Exporters Confederation.

Long queue of importers and customs brokers trying to beat the accreditation deadline at the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Exporters Confederation.

The Department of Finance (DOF) has extended the accreditation period for Philippine importers and customs brokers with valid and existing accreditation by another month to July 31 from June 30.

Department Order (DO) 046-2014, dated June 26, 2014 and signed by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, said the extension was granted to give all concerned additional time to comply with all documentary requirements.

The order took effect immediately.

Under DO 046-2014, “Failure to file the proper application with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) by the date stated in the immediately preceding paragraph (July 31), and in the manner prescribed by the pertinent rules, shall result in the automatic cancellation of the existing accreditation, if any, effective 1 August 2014 or the date of expiration as indicated in the original BOC accreditation, whichever is earlier.”

The extension comes amid much complaint over the BIR and BOC’s inability to process the deluge of importer and broker applications. The BIR and BOC are attached agencies of the DOF.

Before the issuance of DO 046-2014, all importers and customs brokers must respectively secure the importer clearance certificate (ICC) and broker clearance certificate from the BIR and another set of accreditation from the BOC by June 30.

photo 3Barring so would have meant that importers and customs brokers, one month from the June 30 deadline, would be delisted from BOC Client Profile Registration System. That means their import shipments will not be processed by the BOC.

Brokers’ strike

Some brokers’ groups began a strike on June 26 with the intention to carry the activity through June 30, in protest of the new DOF, BIR and BOC accreditation regulations.

As of press time, the Customs Brokers Council of the Philippines, Professional Customs Brokers Association of the Philippines, Inc (PCBAPI) and Aduana Business Club, Inc have yet to decide on whether to push through with the June 30 strike, according to Rey Soliman, executive vice president of PCBAPI, considering a one-month extension has been issued.

Soliman told PortCalls their groups are not budging from their position calling for the recall of all DOF, BIR and BOC orders on the new accreditation process.

He described the one-month extension of accreditation to July 31 as a “temporary relief… to lessen collection impact” at the BOC.

The groups along with the Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) were called to a meeting by Finance Undersecretary Carlo Carag on Friday.

Samson Gabisan, CCBI executive vice president, told PortCalls in a phone interview CCBI members are not joining the brokers’ holiday.

In the Friday meeting with the DOF, Gabisan said CCBI requested the accreditation extension be moved to December 31.

CCBI also asked for the “synchronization” of BIR and BOC requirements for accreditation to avoid redundancies.

Slow application

The importer and customs broker accreditation regulations have sowed confusion in the trading community, with complaints of long queues and ill-informed staff at the BIR and the BOC. There are also reports that the BIR can only accommodate 300 applicants every single day.

According to BOC Deputy Commissioner for Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group Atty Agaton Uvero, there are about 15,000 importers and customs brokers previously accredited by the BOC. All of these have to secure new accreditation from both the BIR and BOC.

As of June 17, Uvero said only 600 applicants have been processed by the BIR (see related story below).

On the other hand, BOC public information and assistance division chief Charo Logarta-Lagamon told PortCalls that as of June 25, the BIR has already denied 7,000 applications.

Request for extension

Even the BOC office that processes applications of importers and customs brokers recommended an extension in accreditation period. On June 20, the Account Management Office (AMO) sent a letter to Customs Commissioner John Phillip Sevilla seeking extension of the accreditation for two months or until August 31, due to clamor from stakeholders.

AMO chief Atty Jemina Sy-Flores noted that as of June 20, only less than 800 importers and brokers have complied with the accreditation.

Moreover, Flores said AMO received letters from stakeholders who fear non-processing of their shipments because the importer/customs broker was not able to comply with the deadline due to lack of requirements.

During a June 17 meeting with AMO officials, the Portusers Confederation said importers and brokers may not be able to comply due to delays in accreditation processing at the BIR.

Flores said PUC contended that automatic expiry of accreditation after the lapse of the prescribed period “will have an enormous negative impact on their business and BOC collection.” – Roumina Pablo

6 Responses to “Importer, broker accreditation extended”

  1. I hope this is final and confirm extension, because until now we did not finish the processing with BIR.

    Thanks,
    Marilou

    Reply
    • Extension is confirmed. We’re just waiting for the copy of the order.

      Reply
      • means we can import this July eventhough we dont have yet the BIR-ICC since our BOC ICARE Accreditation will expire on Dec 12, 2014.,

        We have schedule of importation next month before that memo from BIR and BOC., If that extension applicable to us, we can import until before end July 2014.

        Thanks.

        Reply
  2. Hi! Our BOC accreditation will expire on July 19, 2014. We already filed our application for accreditation but was told that it is unlikely that it will be released or approved by July 19. In the meantime we have incoming raw materials coming this month. How do we go about it? Is there anyway we can speed up the process or get a temporary permit?

    Reply

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