Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Exclusives, Ports/Terminals » TradeNet interface with ASEAN Single Window still on in Nov despite snag: BOC

Testing of the Philippines’ interconnection to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Single Window (ASW) has been put on hold, but the Department of Finance (DOF) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) are still working to meet the November target for the country to join the live operations of the ASW through the electronic exchange of certificate of origin (CO).

BOC Management Information System and Technology Group deputy commissioner Allan Geronimo explained in an email to PortCalls that testing between TradeNet—the Philippines’ National Single Window (NSW)—and the ASW is on hold due to technical issues related to the  application programming interface (API) between TradeNet’s and ASW’s gateways.

Linking to the ASW requires that the Philippines implements its NSW, called TradeNet, the government’s digital trading platform that aims to reduce processing time and number of transactions for import and export clearances.

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.

Geronimo said DOF, BOC’s mother agency, is procuring the technical modification required to solve the API issue.

“Until the procurement is done, the Philippines cannot proceed with the testing and join the ASEAN live eCO (e-ATIGA Form D) exchange. However, BOC and DOF are working on alternative solutions to meet the November live exchange,” Geronimo said, but did not elaborate.

Last March, BOC issued Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 15-2019 providing guidelines for the application, submission, and processing of ASEAN electronic CO (e-CO) using TradeNet. The guidelines follow the operational certification procedure of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA).

Geronimo said submission and approval of the CO through TradeNet has been pilot-tested with some companies.

“However, until the transmission problem can be solved to enable the Philippines to join the live exchange, the TradeNet-issued CO cannot be honored by ASEAN member states, and will still have to be complemented by the manual or paper CO,” he explained.

Under CMO 15-2019, BOC should conduct a three-stage approach to pilot-testing the e-ATIGA Form D through TradeNet. Stage 1 is live testing at the Port of Manila, Manila International Container Port, and Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Stage 2 entails live testing at the ports of Batangas, Clark, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and Subic; and Stage 3 involves the remaining ports and sub-ports joining live testing with at least five exporters and importers per port.

Geronimo is confident all ports will be ready when the country joins the ASW in November.

Under CMO 15-2019, TradeNet will be used in the application, processing, and issuance of e-COs for export, and in utilization of e-COS for imports.

A CO, or Form D, is an international trade document attesting that goods in a particular export shipment were wholly obtained, produced, manufactured, or processed in a particular country.

Under the ATIGA, the CO, which also serves as an exporter’s declaration, has to be submitted to secure preferential tariffs, which are tariff schedules giving one or more nations lower rates or other advantages over other countries.

To access TradeNet, exporters and importers must first create an account and company profile with their respective usernames and passwords. The procedures for using and accessing TradeNet accounts by the exporter, BOC or other users are detailed in the TradeNet Client User Manual for e-CO Issuance and TradeNet Agency User Manual that are attached as annexes to CMO 15-2019.

Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero earlier said BOC is taking several measures, including automating processes, enhancing cargo clearance examination, and strengthening institutional and individual capabilities in intelligence and enforcement to prepare for joining the live operations of ASW this year.

Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are already exchanging e-COs through the ASW. Myanmar and the Philippines are expected to join in November, and Laos by December. Other documents such as ASEAN Customs Declaration Document (ACDD), electronic phytosanitary (e-Phyto) certificate, electronic animal health certificate, and electronic food safety certificate can be exchanged through the ASW in the future. The exchange of ACDD is currently being tested among Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, while the e-Phyto certificate exchange is now being tested between Thailand and Vietnam. – Roumina Pablo

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