The Strategic Trade Management Office (STMO) is now accepting applications for authorization/license to export strategic goods.
Strategic goods are products that, due to security reasons or international agreements, are considered to be of such military importance that their export is either subject to specific conditions or prohibited altogether.
STMO began accepting on July 1 export authorization applications from STMA-registered persons, as indicated in Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 20-26. MC 20-26 provides guidelines on export authorization.
STMO director Atty. Luis Catibayan said the office is waiving payment of the export authorization application processing fee in consideration of the coronavirus disease pandemic.
Registration is required prior to applying for an authority to export strategic goods under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10697 (An Act Preventing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction [WMD] by Managing the Trade in Strategic Goods, the Provision of Related Service, and for Other Purposes), or the Strategic Trade Management Act (STMA).
R.A. 10697 was signed in 2016 to comply with United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution No. 1540. RA 10697’s implementing rules and regulations was signed only in September 2018.
The UN resolution “imposes binding obligations on all states to adopt legislation to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and their means of delivery, and establish appropriate domestic controls over related materials to prevent their illicit trafficking.”
RA 10697 aims to regulate the export, import, transit and transshipment, reexport and reassignment of strategic goods, software and technology and the provision of related services to prevent WMD from proliferating.
STMO, an office attached to the Department of Trade and Industry, serves as the executive and technical agency of the government in establishing the systems for managing the trade of strategic goods pursuant to STMA.
STMO is enforcing a phased implementation of the STMA, starting with the exports sector. Exports under the STMA covers shipment of strategic goods out of the Philippines as well as the transmission of software and technology either via electronic/non-electronic methods.
Under MC 20-26, all persons who engage or intend to engage in the export of strategic goods should apply for authorization prior to undertaking the regulated activities. Export authorization is the authorization issued by the STMO to a person before engaging in the export of strategic goods.
Export refers to the following activities:
- An actual shipment of strategic goods out of the Philippines
- Transmission of software and technology
- Electronic media, including by fax, telephone, electronic mail, or any other electronic means to an ultimate destination outside the Philippines
- Non-electronic reassignments through face-to-face communication, personal demonstration, or handing over material or information to a foreign person, wherever located
The three types of export authorization are:
- Individual authorization is a license granted to one specific person or entity to engage in the export of strategic goods to one end-user, consignee and covering one or more strategic goods.
- Global authorization is a type of license granted to one specific person or entity to engage in the export of strategic goods to two or more specific end-users and/ or in one or more countries. This type of authorization requires an Internal Compliance Program (ICP) before application.
- General authorization is a license to export specific strategic goods to destination countries under the conditions specified in the general authorization. This type of authorization may be used by STMO-registered persons if they comply with two requirements: notify the STMO before the use of such authorization, and comply with the conditions set forth therein.
The authorization holder should ensure that the customs broker or authorized agent will submit to the Bureau of Customs prior to departure a copy of the authorization and extract of the manifest of the carrier. An authorization may be extended provided that the applicant should inform the STMO and submit an accomplished form not later than 15 calendar days before the expiration of the authorization.
Transactions exempted from the requirement of an export authorization include:
- temporary export of strategic goods by the government for the use of the Philippine military or police forces assigned outside of Philippine jurisdiction.
- export of strategic goods made in connection with a military, peacekeeping, or government humanitarian mission.
- export of strategic goods by the government in connection with law enforcement activities.
- any other circumstances, as provided by the National Security Council-Strategic Trade Management Committee.
The export authorization may be suspended, annulled, revoked, limited, or modified depending on conditions set forth under MC 20-26.
STMO earlier said it is focused more on exports than imports, as the latter sector is already regulated by other government agencies such as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Philippine National Police-Firearms and Explosives Division.
STMO will gradually cover other types of shipments, including transit/transhipment, re-export/re-assignment, related services (e.g. transporting, brokering), and imports. – Roumina Pablo