BOC to enforce system vs import misdeclaration

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THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) will implement early next year a modern system that will detect misdeclaration or undervaluation of imports that pass through various ports of entry across the country.

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Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon on Friday said the bureau is working on a Value Reference Information System (VRIS), an electronic platform that sets the value threshold or standard for every imported commodity based on historical value of previous importations and prevailing market values and statistical studies.

Faeldon added that the system can monitor on a daily basis importers declaring importations below the reference value, which is a form of technical smuggling,

“If there will be issues on the transaction value declared by importers, they will be asked to submit any document that will verify the declared value of commodity,” he said.

“The Bureau of Customs will push through with its implementation to avoid undervaluation of imports. This will protect legitimate importers and stakeholders from smugglers and corrupt stakeholders,” Faeldon added.

The new system will be implemented as soon as it is completed early next year.

Faeldon announced the use of the system after the bureau recovered an estimated P1.7 million worth of duties and taxes from undervalued steel imports at the Port of Subic.

He reported that Mannage Resources Trading Corp. (MRTC) initially declared the transaction value of a shipment of 5,000 metric tons of deformed steel bars to be $2 per metric ton, equivalent to P41,600,662.00 worth of duties and taxes.

But after a careful review of the documents submitted, it was found that the importation was undervalued, hence an adjustment was made on the freight charges in the amount of $16.50 per metric ton.

This resulted in total duties and taxes of P43,330,838.00, or an increase of P1,730,176.00 against the declared duties and taxes of P41,600,662.00, 4 percent higher compared to the declaration.

Under Section 1400 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), the Bureau cannot compel MRTC to pay surcharges since “no surcharge shall be imposed when the discrepancy in duty is less than ten percent.”

MRTC voluntarily corrected the undervaluation and paid the additional duties and taxes. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL

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