By Rea Cu, September 10 2018; Business Mirror


Image Credit to Department of Finance

THE Department of Finance (DOF) will start a series of workshops with various trade regulatory government agencies (TRGAs) this month on tariff harmonization and classification, to gather the base data needed to run TradeNet.gov.ph.

According to DOF Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran, who is the DOF’s anti-red tape czar, the workshops aim to gather 42 government agencies that regulate trade products and to harmonize their tariff codes. This is part of the government’s initiatives to facilitate trade and ease of doing business in the country.

The workshops will be facilitated by the Tariff Commission (TC) in coordination with the DOF Inter-Agency Business Process Interoperability (IABPI) Team, and the Bureau of Import Service of the Department of Trade and Industry. The workshop series will run weekly for five days from September to October at the TC office in Quezon City.

“The results of the workshops will be used as base data of the Tariff Code and Commodities that will be used by TC, Bureau of Customs and the regulatory agencies on TradeNet,” said Beltran in his report to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III during a recent DOF Executive Committee meeting.

The harmonization of trade commodity codes was one of the agreements arising from the April 2018 meeting of the National Single Window (NSW) Steering Committee, which Dominguez heads.

Members of the NSW Steering Committee are the secretaries of the DTI, Department of Agriculture, Transportation, Interior and Local Government, and Health; the governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), and the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

The NSW Steering Committee is part of the NSW Task Force for Cargo Clearance created via Executive Order 482 issued in 2005. The NSW Task Force consists of the steering committee and a technical working group headed by the customs Commissioner.

TradeNet, the government’s digital import and export permit platform, aims to link 76 TRGAs through a common database and shorten the processing of transactions for import and export clearances. The system is expected to minimize the costs of doing business and cut the processing time for the issuance of import and export permits.

The platform will also serve as the Philippines’s link to the Asean Single Window (ASW), a regional initiative that aims to speed up cargo clearances and promote economic integration by enabling the electronic exchange of border documents among the organization’s 10 member-states. Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are already using the ASW to exchange information on customs clearances.

Beltran said that through TradeNet, traders may apply online for import and export permits for commodities, such as rice, sugar, used motor vehicles, chemicals (toluene), frozen meat, medicines (for humans, animals or fish) and cured tobacco.

Last year it was reported that the software for the TradeNet was already delivered by the Department of Information and Communications Technology to the DOF in preparation for going onstream by the middle of this year.

In 2016 the DOF secured a P21.5-million grant from the German development bank KfW Group to help implement TradeNet. TradeNet aims to connect 66 agencies and 10 economic zones involved in approving import and export permits and other trading requirements.