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ASEAN Single Window

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The Philippines is expected to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Single Window (ASW) before yearend, its participation in the regional initiative expected to provide businesses the benefits of less export time and lower transactions costs, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).

In November the Philippines will go live on the ASW, joining Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Brunei, which have all done so earlier. The ASW is the regional initiative that aims to speed up cargo clearance and promote regional economic integration by enabling the electronic exchange of border documents among the ASEAN’s 10 member states.

Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos are also expected to join the ASW by yearend.

Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran in a statement noted that Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Brunei are already exchanging over 460,000 customs and other trade-related documents a year at only 10% of the usual cost to traders.

“Once the ASW is streamlined and used across ASEAN, businesses will benefit through lower transaction costs and less time to export their goods to countries within the region,” Beltran said.

“Lower transaction costs will, in turn, enhance ASEAN’s trade competitiveness,” he added.

The Philippines will join the ASW via TradeNet, the country’s National Single Window (NSW) that will facilitate online the processing of permits, licenses and other clearances for the export and import of goods across the region.

TradeNet will be connected to and integrated into the NSWs of the other ASEAN members to expedite cargo clearance and promote regional integration.

The Philippines aims to have all 76 trade regulatory government agencies across 18 government departments eventually become fully interconnected to Tradenet, a development which will simplify import and export documentary processes covering an initial 7,400 regulated products.

Starting next year, additional documents that are expected to be exchanged through the ASW include sanitary and phytosanitary certificates, animal health certificates, self-certification of product origin, and shipping documents, Beltran said in a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III during a recent DOF executive committee meeting.

Beltran said the United States, Australia and New Zealand will provide technical assistance to ASEAN to ensure that its members take full advantage of the ASW by 2020.

Beltran earlier said TradeNet is also expected to streamline the application for electronic Certificates of Origin (e-COs) by members of ASEAN after the Bureau of Customs (BOC) released a customs memorandum order (CMO) that provides the guidelines for the submission and processing of all e-COs through TradeNet.

CMO 15-2019, which provides the guidelines for operationalizing the issuance of e-COs, was signed and issued by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero last March 18.

Beltran said the testing of the submission and processing of e-COs through TradeNet and ASW will continue in order to ensure that the process of exchange and connectivity is streamlined.

Beltran further said that BOC personnel have started retraining to familiarize themselves with TradeNet, while pilot exporters have also begun to upload data onto TradeNet.

He added that the first week of TradeNet’s live operations with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) was “successful, with no incident.”

PDEA has started processing 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 the approval and issuance of import and special export permits on dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and controlled chemicals, Beltran said.

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