IMPORTERS of goods passing through Subic Bay Freeport are being urged to submit their electronic inward cargo manifest in advance. The new ruling is in keeping with a joint agreement signed last week by Customs Commissioner Antonio Bernardo and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman Felicito Payumo.
The Bureau of Customs (BoC)-SBMA agreement provides for the alignment of policies and procedures on the admission of foreign goods into the Subic Bay Freeport. It is in line with international practices applied in other free zones worldwide, and in pursuance with the World Customs Organization International Convention on the simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures.
The agreement specifically calls for the adoption of a system of advance electronic submission of inward cargo manifests for the use of all sea and air carriers and a Single Administrative Document (SAD) in lieu of what the SBMA is currently using, as well as the remote lodgment by declarants of the SAD as the standard for filing and acceptance of the admission declaration at any time of the day or night.
A database of admissible items will also be created aimed at adopting the harmonized system codes as the standard for classification of goods brought into the freeport zone, except for cargoes discharged at other ports but consigned to enterprises and residents of the SBMA. These shall be covered by existing Customs regulations.
Under the agreement, the SBMA will admit SBMA-bound foreign goods provided the certificates of residency issued to residents and certificates of registration of locators and enterprises are verified. Applications for importation will be rejected in case of expired certificates.
For high-risk cargoes, the BoC and the SBMA will jointly conduct physical examinations while the BoC will issue a warrant of detention.
Bernardo said the declaration and permit for admission of foreign goods to Subic Bay Freeport shall serve as an import permit in all instances and shall be referred to as Admission Declaration and Permit.