DTI: BOC modernization plan beneficial to MSMEs

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The Department of Trade and Industry has recognized the new Bureau of Customs (BOC) modernization plan as beneficial to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in cross border trade, mainly because of the benefits to exporters.

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In early February, the Customs bureau announced it has partnered with reputable information technology (IT) groups and launched a plan to modernize the technology within the BOC for a more transparent and effective law enforcement.

Trade Secretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. said the plan will allow exporters – mainly MSMEs – to move their goods faster across borders which will support the competitiveness of domestic MSMEs.

“The use of technology solutions to ease documentation and customs procedures will allow our exporters to expeditiously move goods across borders and to capitalize on the growing benefits of our trade engagements,” Cristobal said in a statement.

The plan is in line with the Customs Modernization Act (CMA) which will lift the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines on a par with the World Customs Organization (WCO) standards. The CMS has yet to pass Congress.

The trade department not only distinguished the modernization plan, but also Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina whose work lends support the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC)’s Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs (BAA-MSMEs).

The Boracay Agenda aims to pursue regional cooperation in trade facilitation to develop dynamic and global MSME sector. Among the priority actions of the agenda is the simplification of procedural and documentary requirements for MSMEs.

“Bringing the Philippines’ customs procedures in line with global best practices will successfully plug our local enterprises, particularly MSMEs, as part of global value chains or as direct exporters of finished goods and services in regional and global markets,” Cristobal noted.

“Further progress in trade liberalization will also ensure that our businesses can make full use of market opportunities,” he added.

The DTI cited the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), saying the BOC modernization plan will ease the country’s performance in terms of trade facilitation procedures and further improve the Philippines’ ranking in the Trading Across Borders (TAB) indicator measured by the Word Bank-International Finance Corporation’s Ease of Doing Business Report.

The TAB measures time and costs associated with the logistical process of exporting and importing goods using three sets of procedures – documentary compliance, border compliance and domestic transport – within the overall process of exporting or importing goods. NCC is currently finalizing its TAB targets.

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