The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has released a masterlist of all of the regulated import products in the country and their corresponding import requirements in line with its efforts to promote transparency and lessen corruption in the bureau.
The bureau on Thursday said importers and brokers can download and access the list of regulated imports from the BOC website.
The downloadable imports list comes in three versions: by specific product, by broad category product and by regulating agency.
All three lists contain information for over 7,400 regulated products ranging from basic commodities like rice and sugar to vehicles, iron and steel products, oil and electronic goods, among others, the BOC said.
It added that each row in the list corresponds to one product. Also included in the row is the product’s category, who can import it, its regulating agency, list of prerequisite documents for Customs clearance and links to regulating agencies’ clearances and permits, among others.
“This is the first in the history of Customs that such a ‘bible’ of all regulated imports and their corresponding import requirements has ever been compiled. This is truly a major step in improving the Customs process,” Customs Commissioner John Sevilla said.
Sevilla added that the list will make transaction in the bureau efficient and eliminate any room for corruption in its personnel
“There will be less legwork for importers and brokers as they wouldn’t have to go from one agency to another just to inquire about the permits / clearances needed for importation and at the same time, our front-liners will be empowered as they now have a single reference list for all regulated products. They don’t have to guess what permits are needed for a certain product. They won’t make the mistake of requesting wrong or unnecessary clearance/permit,” he said.
By taking stock of all regulations, permits and clearances of various government agencies, the bureau will be able to see that many products require clearances from multiple agencies, he added.
Sevilla hopes that the initiative would serve as a catalyst of change for the different regulatory bodies to revisit their rules or regulations toward unified clearances for products that at present require more than one permit to import.
Furthermore, the BOC is advising importers and brokers to download and view the Regulated Imports List as the bureau will strictly implement all the requirements shown in the list beginning April 20, 2015.
All imports of products included in the list must have the required permits from the regulating agencies in the master list before it can be cleared by Customs, it said.
“Because the online masterlist will become the basis of all involved in the importation of products—from the importers, brokers, to the Customs personnel, we will make sure that the list is updated if ever there are any changes in regulations,” Sevilla said.
The BOC has also requested regulating government agencies that if there will be changes in their regulations on imports, to inform the bureau at least one month in advance before implementation so that the BOC can reflect the changes in the masterlist.