CUSTOMS value-added service provider InterCommerce Network Systems (INS) is pilot testing an electronic import clearance system with the Department of Agriculture for official rollout in March.
The test involves private companies dealing with the Bureau of Customs and three attached agencies of the DA – the Bureau of Plant Industry, Bureau of Animal Industry and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
The companies include DOLE Asia, Cargill Philippines, Shinsky Trading, Liwayway Marketing, Hexa Trading and San Miguel Corp, all involved in the consignment of imported fruits, plants, animal meat and other perishables.
The system initially applies to the Sanitary and Phytosanitary import clearance filed at the Manila International Container Port and the Port of Manila and follows import permit requirements implemented by INS within the country’s ecozones. Additional documents required by the DA such as proforma invoice may be attached for electronic submission.
Pre-registration of importable goods is a must.
Under the scheme, importers electronically file their application for import permits through INS. The 24/7 system then prepares and processes permits, and arranges for the autodebit of import permit fees and their approval.
The process improves cycle time from two to four hours to less than 10 minutes, and reduces cost by 75%.
Once the application is filed electronically, the DA will automatically process the application and check whether the items are valid or approved before electronically sending the approved import permit application to the importer which can then be printed and shown to the DA or customs authorities before cargo release.
“The new system, when put into place, will significantly improve business processes at the three agencies through reduced queuing time, less face-to-face transaction and lower cost as most of the process involving the importation will be done online, including payment of agency fees,” INS president Francis Lopez told PortCalls.
He added it is a prelude to the National Single Window set for implementation within the year.