Tuesday, September 21, 2021
HomeOpinionThe Export AdvocatePaperless imports and exports

Paperless imports and exports

The Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) automation projects, namely the electronic-to-mobile (e2m) and National Single Window (NSW), are indeed a welcome change.


By electronically linking the permit and clearance system of 40 government agencies — from the Food and Drug Administration to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group –, the NSW will give traders the benefit of submitting their data in one form electronically, rather than approaching a number of agencies. They will also benefit from faster Customs clearance as the BOC acts on the accessible data.


Under the e2m, import and export declarations of traders are lodged electronically through accredited value-added service providers. Goods are also cleared electronically.


These programs are all well and good. But as they say, the devil is always in the detail.


As of last week, it seems there may be some hitches to the recently-activated Automated Export Declaration System (AEDS), which is part of e2m. The Philippine Exporters Confederation was still assisting exporters put together their accreditation papers for qualification to the AEDS’ Client Profile Registration System. Without such accreditation, exporters may not lodge declarations electronically.


There is talk that the information campaign for AEDS was wanting, leaving many exporters in the dark as to the system’s demands. In a sense, this problem can be easily addressed. All it needs is the conduct of more briefings on the subject.


But another issue may be harder to resolve. Most economic zone locators, including those in Clark and Subic freeport zones, already run their own version of the AEDS. Pioneered by the electronics industry at the beginning of this century, the AEDS in eco zones are now considered mature. In the future we hope there will be minimal glitches in the linkup of the ecozone AEDS to the NSW system.


Speaking of the NSW, we think that critical to its success is the smooth interconnection among 40 government agencies issuing permits and clearances. It is common knowledge that many of those agencies do not even have inter-office connection. Others have obsolete computers. Linking them to the NSW may turn out to be a real challenge, with huge funds needed. And then there’s the impending interconnection of the NSW to the ASEAN NSW to facilitate seamless flow of goods to, from and within the 600-million strong economic bloc. But that is altogether another topic.


These issues aside, we believe the BOC’s automation projects go a long way in minimizing, if not totally eradicating, smuggling and other illegal trading activities.


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