THE Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) providing for the issuance of customs passes to freight forwarders and their representatives continues to hang after talks between the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and freight forwarders bogged down. In a meeting last week, parties failed to reach an agreement concerning the scope of the customs pass. Another meeting is being scheduled this week. The BOC, together with the Alliance of Concerned Freight Forwarders (ACFFO), wants the passes limited to filing and amendments of manifests and loading of shipments at airport warehouses. They do not want the passes to allow the bearer authority to process import and export shipments deemed exclusive to BOC-accredited Customs Brokers and their duly authorized Customs Representatives or personeros pursuant to Customs Administrative Order No. 3-2006. CAO 3-2006 operationalizes the Republic Act 9280 or the Customs Brokers Act of 2004 at the BOC. The Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA) and the Airfreight Forwarders of the Philippines, Inc. (AFPI) together with the Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) and the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) want otherwise. PISFA executive director Atty. Romeo Sto. Tomas told PortCalls that if the BOC insists on limiting the scope of the pass then the issuance of the CMO is unnecessary. "We (PISFA, AFPI, CAB, PSB) want the customs pass without any limitation and allow the bearer to process import and export shipment. If not, then there is no need for the CMO. We want to offer total logistics wherein there are no barriers," Sto. Tomas explained. Aside from such issue, Sto. Tomas said there are no other contentious provisions in the proposed CMO. The group expects a favorable decision from the BOC after the agency, he claimed, hinted toward the end of the meeting at being open to adopting the PISFA, AFPI, PSB and CAB proposal. Earlier, the BOC agreed to use existing accreditation procedures enforced by the PSB and CAB as a pre-requisite to issuing passes for forwarders. The PSB opposed an earlier BOC proposal to subject forwarders to separate accreditation before issuing them passes. PSB claimed the move will only add to the bureaucracy. Meanwhile, the groups are still in the process of approving the CMO provision governing the employment of accredited customs brokers and customs representatives or personeros by companies. A final draft of the CMO is expected two weeks before July 21, or the day the 60-day extension period for the implementation of CAO 3-2006 lapses.