The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) signed on August 29 two agreements with China, including a donation by China of six x-ray machines to the bureau, during President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to China.
One agreement is between BOC and the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) on the Implementation of the Intergovernmental Agreement Regarding Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters.
The other is on the Implementation Contract on Project of China-Aid Container Inspection Equipment between BOC and the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).
The contract with MOFCOM, signed by BOC commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero and Chinese Commerce minister Zhong Shan, is for China to donate four mobile x-ray container vehicle inspection systems and two luggage inspection systems to the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the intergovernmental accord, signed by Guerrero and GACC minister Ni Yuefeng, defines the scope and guidelines for strengthening the cooperation and mutual assistance on customs matters between the two countries.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier said the agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance covers GACC’s commitment to assist the BOC in monitoring and stopping the entry into the Philippines of unauthorized cigarette-making machines originating from China.
Dominguez earlier this year directed the sister agencies BOC and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to work with their Chinese counterparts in stopping the illicit entry of cigarette-making machines that were being used to manufacture counterfeit tobacco products in the Philippines.
The finance chief issued the order after confirming from BIR commissioner Caesar Dulay that the illegal tobacco trade has shifted from smuggling cigarettes to producing counterfeit brands locally using undocumented cigarette-making machines acquired mostly from China.
Guerrero had reiterated the Philippines’ concern over the entry of unauthorized cigarette-making machines originating from China to the Chinese vice minister of the GACC on the sidelines of the 28th ASEAN Customs Directors-General Meeting held last June in Laos.