• Clearance needed for imported used vehicles

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    SANTA ANA, Cagayan: Used-cars importers intending to take their units outside the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), should first secure clearances from proper authorities like the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

    This was the statement of CEZA officials clarifying that the “movements of imported second-hand vehicles arriving [at CEZA]are only limited within the confines of the special economic zone.”

    Jose Mari Ponce, CEZA administrator/chief executive, also clarified that the CEZA-issued import permit for used motor vehicles to Fenix CEZA International Inc. “is only good within the territorial jurisdiction of the economic zone.”

    “[We shall] only allow the release of units upon showing by the importer of a clearance coming from the BOC [Bureau of Customs], the BIR [Bureau of Internal Revenue] and the LTO [Land Transportation Office],” Ponce said.

    He said the BOC, BIR and LTO are invited to inspect and conduct an inventory of the arrival and or shipment at the Cagayan Freeport here “to ensure compliance and transparency.”

    CEZA recently issued used- car import permit to Fenix International, Inc. as a result of a decision by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) allowing their importation into the country.

    Fenix, one of the major importers of used motor vehicles at the economic zone, is the only importer granted with an import permit by the CEZA to conduct its business within the Freeport.

    On November 25, 2013, Fenix in a letter to CEZA has invoked its “legal right” that it be issued a permit to import used motor vehicles presenting its basis the decision by the RTC-Aparri Branch in Cagayan which declared “impliedly repealed” then President Arroyo’s Executive Order (EO) 156 which banned the importation of motor vehicles.

    The RTC decision penned by Judge Neljoe Cortez dated November 12, 2013 said that the Arroyo’s EO 418 modifying the Tariff Nomenclature and Rates of Import Duty on used Motor Vehicles has superseded EO 156.

    “[The April 4, 2005 issued EO 418 has] rendered inoperative the ban on used motor vehicles,” the court said referring to the December 12, 2002 EO 156.

    Also in its decision, the court has also enjoined the Office of the Executive Secretary, the Department of Finance, BOC and LTO, all respondents, from enforcing and implementing EO 156.

    A government corporate body, CEZA was created under RA 7922 or the Cagayan Special Economic Zone Act of 1995 by then President Fidel Ramos to manage and supervise the development of the 54,118 hectares Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport.

    Also managing the Port Irene which is now becoming a premier one-stop site for international shipping lanes, the CSEZFP also covers the entire Municipality of Santa Ana, including the Islands of Fuga, Barit, Mabbag in Aparri town.

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