The Department of Finance (DOF) and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) are working closely with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to integrate the process of issuing DA permits into TradeNet, the government’s online trading facilitation portal.
Finance undersecretary Gil Beltran, in a report during a recent DOF executive committee meeting, said DA has already issued an order instructing its personnel to coordinate with DOF and DICT to link the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) certificates into TradeNet.
DOF in a statement noted that DA is a key component of TradeNet, being among the regulatory bodies that process permits for imports and exports, particularly of agricultural products such as rice, which is now freely imported under the rice tariffication law, subject to compliance by traders of SPS requirements.
Beltran added that DA has created project teams that will integrate the issuance of SPS certificates into TradeNet and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Single Window (ASW).
TradeNet (tradenet.gov.ph), which will perform the function of the Philippine government’s national single window (NSW), will eventually be interconnected to the ASW. The ASW is a regional initiative that aims to speed up cargo clearances and promote economic integration by enabling electronic exchange of border documents among the 10 ASEAN member-states.
“These teams will work with the DOF and DICT in developing TradeNet modules for the ASW exchange,” Beltran said.
According to a separate report by DOF’s Inter-Agency Business Process Interoperability (IABPI) Team, the Bureau of Plant Industry will handle the e-phytosanitary certificate, and the Bureau of Animal Industry and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the e-animal health certificate.
“The target of the Philippines to join the ASW is November 2019,” the IABPI team said.
TradeNet has started processing permits for imports and exports, according to Beltran.
Beltran said the online portal is also expected to streamline application for electronic Certificates of Origin (e-COs) by ASEAN members after the Bureau of Customs (BOC) released a customs memorandum order (CMO) that provides guidelines for submission and processing of all e-COs through TradeNet.
CMO 15-2019 provides guidelines for operationalizing the issuance of e-Cos and was signed by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero last March 18.
Beltran said testing of the submission of e-COs with the ASW through TradeNet will continue to ensure the process on exchange and connectivity is streamlined.
He added retraining of BOC personnel to familiarize themselves with TradeNet has begun; pilot exporters have also started to upload data onto TradeNet.
Beltran noted the first week of TradeNet’s live operations with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has been “successful, with no incident.”
PDEA earlier processed online the special export permits of six pilot firms–Merck, Inc.; Unilab Inc.; Pasar Corporation; Roche Philippines, Inc.; Petron Corp.; and Coral Bay Nickel Corp.
PDEA’s online processing involves approval and issuance of import and special export permits on “dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and controlled chemicals,” Beltran said.
Once TradeNet is fully operational, the DOF official said traders may apply online for import and export permits for commodities such as rice, sugar, used motor vehicles, chemicals (toluene), frozen meat, medicines (for humans, animals, or fish) and cured tobacco.
The government’s goal is to have all 75 trade regulatory government agencies across 18 government departments fully interconnected via TradeNet.
DOF said TradeNet will simplify import and export documentary processes covering an initial 7,400 regulated products.