Philippine exporters have until June 30, 2020 to register with the European Union’s (EU) Registered Exporters (REX) system—the system that certifies the origin of goods and that the EU is progressively introducing in its preferential trade arrangements—after the EU agreed to a request for extension.
The extension of the registration period for Philippine exporters was disclosed by Bureau of Customs (BOC) Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group deputy commissioner Atty. Edward James Dy Buco in a memorandum dated November 17.
The deadline for registration was supposedly December 31, 2019, but BOC earlier said an extension to June 2020 could be requested to allow all exporters to register.
With the extension, Dy Buco said BOC “is given sufficient time to register all Philippine exporters to the system.”
He noted that by July 1, 2020 the EU will no longer accept Form A, or certificate of origin (CO), as the basis for origin certification.
Earlier, Dy Buco said the REX system would gradually replace the current system of basing the origin certification on the COs issued by BOC, which is the country’s competent authority in implementing the new system.
BOC is set to issue a customs memorandum order (CMO) providing guidelines on the implementation of the REX system. But even without the CMO, BOC last August said exporters may already apply online at https://customs.ec.europa.eu/rex-pa-ui/#/create-preapplication/.
BOC, in a session hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Export Marketing Bureau on August 20, disclosed that some exporters have already applied for REX registration.
The customs bureau said application is free of charge.
REX is the new system of certifying origin of goods that the EU is progressively introducing in its preferential trade arrangements. First applied to the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) program on January 1, 2017, REX will eventually completely replace the current system of origin certification that is based on the COs issued by government authorities and on invoice declarations made out under certain conditions by economic operators.
The global transition period from the current system to the REX system is from January 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020.
The Philippines had earlier notified that it would apply the REX system on January 1, 2019, but the DTI last January notified exporters that BOC was still completing two prerequisites for applying the REX system.
Under REX, economic operators will be the ones to make the “statements on origin.” To be entitled to do this, an economic operator will have to register in the database of his competent authorities as an exporter.
The European Commission provides and maintains the REX system so GSP beneficiary countries do not have to develop the system themselves.
The REX system is supported by an IT system, which is basically a database in which competent authorities—in the Philippines’ case, the BOC—will register their exporters who intend to export products under a preferential trade arrangement, and will keep the exporters’ data up to date.
Since August last year, the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. has been pushing BOC to take steps to ensure Filipino exporters will be able to register with the REX system so they can continue to enjoy benefits under the EU GSP program.
In December 2014, the Philippines was granted beneficiary-country status under the EU GSP+, which allows the country to export 6,274 eligible products duty-free to the EU market. Before this, the Philippines was covered by the regular EU GSP which provided zero duty to only 2,442 products and reduced tariffs to 3,767 products.
According to the EU Trade Preferences Monitoring Report released on January 19, 2018, the robust trade between the Philippines and EU was highlighted by the EUR2 billion worth of Philippine exports to the bloc in 2017, compared to EUR1.66 billion in 2016, as Philippine products benefitted from the GSP+. – Roumina Pablo