Product certification in the country will be aligned with international trade practices to ease business procedures, enliven competition in the retail trade and ensure consumer access to safe products and services, the Bureau Philippine Standards (BPS) said on Thursday.
Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo said the revisions to the BPS product certification scheme would be made in time for the economic integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN).
“We are guided with the Department’s intent to streamline policies and procedures to ease doing business in the country,” he said.
Under the existing BPS Product Certification Scheme, manufacturers and importers of electrical products, mechanical/ building and construction materials and chemical and consumer products, shall have their products evaluated based on specific Philippine National Standard (PNS).
Those that comply with the performance and safety requirements of the PNS are issued with the Philippine Standard (PS) license or Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) certificate, which allow them to distribute and sell in the market with the PS or ICC mark
“The revision of the administrative orders is part of the Bureau’s program in keeping its guidelines and procedures abreast with the regional and global trade developments to contribute in the DTI’s efforts on trade facilitation,” BPS Director-in-Charge Ann Claire Cabochan said.
“Enforcement of technical regulations is essentially a gate-keeping function. The new scheme will address the recurring incidents where substandard products are able to gain entry into domestic market,” she said.
A major revision included inspection, sampling and testing of an imported regulated product in its country of origin based on the requirements of PNS.
“The Bureau recognizes our commitments under the Agreements on Technical Barriers to
Trade (TBT) as the proposed revisions highlight the principle of equivalence in test results for imported products,” Cabochan said.
The other revisions that the BPS has put forward included certain adjustments on fees and surety bond, a reduction on documentary requirements; and, a tightening the monitoring and enforcement procedures.
“The revisions are slanted on the safety parameters specified in the PNS that will respond to the needs of the consumers,” DTI-Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba said.
“In fact, the new order is aligned to the DTI’s proposed changes to the Consumer Act of the Philippines that was submitted to Senator Bam Aquino and Congressman Mark Villar last week,” Dimagiba said.
“It included the Department’s authority to shut down business outlets that are caught selling uncertified products, to increase fines to no less than P50,000 up to P10,000,000, computed at five percent of the gross value of the product, which is a subject of consumer complaint,” Dimagiba said.
The BPS called on its stakeholders to review the changes at the BPS website (bps.dti.gov.ph) and to submit their comments and position papers on or before 24 March 2015. The draft has likewise been circulated to WTO members for comments in keeping with the transparency requirements of the TBT Agreements.