The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business organization, raised concerns about the adverse effects on business of the advanced cargo clearance system or pre-shipment inspection system (PIS) proposed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
PCCI president Alfredo Yao explained that while the clearance system is intended to facilitate trade, there are a number of issues that have to be satisfactorily addressed by the government first. Otherwise, the measure will just further burden businesses, he said.
“The proposed pre-shipment inspection system must not go against the goal of trade facilitation which is to reduce associated cost and maximize efficiency while safeguarding legitimate regulatory objectives. By implementing this policy, are we just adding another layer to the already existing risk management and other clearance processes of customs? Who will bear the burden of the additional costs? Hopefully, it will not be us legitimate businesses,” Yao said.
PCCI also underlined the need to ascertain the data handling capability and integrity of service providers, efficient coordination between customs and the service provider, adequate dispute mechanisms, and minimal costs, among other concerns. The organization also noted that the system is no longer being used in developing countries.
“This has to be carefully studied. There are many gray areas in the proposed system,” Yao said.
Moreover, he proposed that instead of the PIS, the BOC should focus on fast-tracking its efforts to modernize customs administration and implement institutional reforms if it wants to effectively curb smuggling and facilitate the movement of goods across borders.