News


De minimis increase to P10,000

October 18, 2016

Imported goods valued at P10,000 and below are no longer subject to duties and taxes pursuant to the Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 2-2016. The CAO implements the de minimis provision of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) or Republic Act (RA) No. 10863.

Importations at de minimis value shall be lodged and processed using a simplified and enabled electronic system to allow advance clearance and ensure proper customs monitoring and control to capture and preserve pertinent data on de minimis importation.

Imported goods within the de minimis value are entitled to immediate release. However, following importations are not entitled for immediate release as de minimis importations:

1. Importation declared as “without commercial value”;

2. Tobacco and liquor products carried by passengers in excess with allowable limits but within de minimis value;

3. Goods subject to requirements or conditions imposed by the concerned regulatory agency, unless for personal use and within the limits allowed by regulations;

4. Prohibited and restricted importations; and

5. Importations to be entered conditionally free, for warehousing, for transit, and/or admission to free zone.

The CAO also provides that based on internationally accepted customs administration risk management principles, customs examiners may physically inspect the imported goods. For more details, please click CAO No. 2-2016

FDA mandates electronic filing for License to Operate

October 18, 2016

Started September 1, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates all applicants for License to Operate (LTO) to file their applications through the FDA website (www.fda.gov.ph).

Documentary requirements for the application are provided under FDA Administrative Order (AO) No. 2016-0003 (Guidelines on the Unified Licensing Requirements and Procedures of the FDA). They must be submitted in PDF file format through the FDA e-portal.

Filing applications through the e-portal requires an authorized user account to be provided via email by the Public Assistance, Information and Receiving (PAIR) unit of FDA.

This new system facilitates applications nationwide especially in the regions. For more details, please click FDA Circular No. 2016-004 (Procedure on the Use of the New Application Form for License to Operate thru the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Electronic Portal (e-portal)) and FDA Circular NO. 2016-006 (New Format of License to Operate (LTO) for Establishments Regulated by the FDA).

DOST supports PEDP 2015-2017 through innovation programs

October 18, 2016

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is implementing programs supporting the Strategies of the Philippine Export Development Plan 2015-2017.

Setting-up of One Stop Laboratory Services for Global Competitiveness (One Lab) is one of DOST’s programs to raise the productivity and competitiveness of Philippine enterprise (Strategy 3). One Lab is an innovative program that leverages technology to be able to harmonize testing and laboratory services from different agencies, making them more accessible to the public. Since 2015, DOST has maintained 21 laboratories.

Another is the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) which provided assistance to 2,081 firms as of 2016. It gives assistance to MSMEs in acquiring industry-standard equipment or technologies, technology needs assessment, technical training of the MSME's workforce, technical consultancy services, product improvement/development and packaging and labelling.

DOST also established the Food Innovation Centers (FICs) to support the enhancement of the innovative capacity of the export sector (Strategy 8). The project aims to roll out the DOST-developed food processing equipment for product quality and productivity improvement of food processors in the regions. It is established to promote and demonstrate the functionality of the locally fabricated processing equipment. Food manufacturers are allowed to use the facility at minimal cost to test the feasibility of their products at a small scale production before they venture into the business of producing these products at a commercial scale capacity.

BIR reduces requirements for TIN application

October 18, 2016

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) reduces its documentary requirements for the application for Tax Identification Number under Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 93-2016 issued last 2 September 2016.

This circular covers applications of self-employed individuals, estates and trusts, corporations, partnerships, cooperatives and associations, registration of branch/facility types, Local Employee, purely Tin Issuance, books of Accounts, transfer of registration and cancellation of TIN.

For further information regarding the updated checklist of requirements, visit the BIR website http://www.bir.gov.ph or click on http://www.bir.gov.ph/index.php/revenue-issuances/revenue-memorandum-circulars/2016-revenue-memorandum-circulars.html

EDC opposes proposed Excise Tax on Sugar Sweetened Beverages

October 18, 2016

The Export Development Council (EDC) expresses its reservation to House Bill No. 292 “An Act Imposing Excise Tax on Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs)” which seeks to levy, assess and collect an excise tax of PhP 10.00 per liter of SSBs. The imposition of tax is aimed to generate a Health Promotion Fund to address health concerns that stem from the consumption of SSBs.

EDC recognizes that the objective of this Bill is to promote a healthy lifestyle among Filipinos. However, the passage of this Bill might hamper the growth of the beverage industry, local sugar farmers as well as fruit farmers since it will experience a decline caused by lower demand of fruit juices and sugar. It is noted that beverage is one of the key export sectors cited in the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2015-2017.

The Beverage Industry Association of the Philippines (BIAP) states that consumption of SSBs is behavioral in nature and driven by the individual consumers’ choices, habits, and attitudes. Accordingly, SSBs do not pose a health concern when consumed normally.

EDC recommends that the government explores other strategies (public awareness campaign and promotion of a healthy lifestyle) that can reduce SSB consumption and develop an efficient “off-setting measure” to cover the losses to be incurred in the commitment to provide a reformed tax policy package. Imposing excise tax on a single product alone tends to be regressive and unfair for the industry.

BIR clarified issues of exporters on VAT Relief

September 20, 2016

In a response letter to the Export Development Council (EDC), Deputy Commissioner Nestor S. Valeroso of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) clarified the following which caused confusion to some exporters who avail of VAT Relief for their export products subject to 0% VAT:

1. Foreign buyers who transact with exporters only and not with the government are NOT required to secure Tax Identification Number (TIN) under Executive Order (EO) No. 98, series of 1999;

2. Non-Resident Foreign Corporations (NRFC)/Non-Resident Alien Not Engaged in Trade or Business (NRANETB) who buys products from Philippine exporters and do not generate income within the Philippines are not included in the coverage of Section 3(1)(ii) of Revenue Regulations (RR) 7-2012 on final withholding tax on income derived from sources within the Philippines; and

3. TIN is not a mandatory requirements/field in the Sales Data Screen of the BIR Relief System Module under the Quarterly Summary List of Sales for Export Sales made by VAT-registered persons whose sales are subject to zero percent (0%) rate. Hence, compliance report can be accomplished/submitted even if TIN of foreign buyers are left blank.

Dep. Comm. Valeroso further stated that “all persons liable for Value-Added Tax (VAT) are required to submit Quarterly Summary List of Sales for Export Sales that must contain information including the TIN of the buyer (only for sales that are subject to VAT), notwithstanding, information pertaining to sales made to buyers not engaged in business or practice of profession may still be required from the seller”.

Priority provisions on CMTA set for weekly public consultation

September 20, 2016

The Department of Finance (DOF) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) have prioritized fourteen provisions under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) or R.A. 10863 which will be subjected to weekly public consultations. The CMTA was enacted into law last 30 May 2016. Draft Customs Administrative Order (CAO) which will serve as the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of CMTA will be posted every Thursday at the DOF website.

Stakeholders are encouraged to visit the DOF website at http://www.dof.gov.ph/cmta_irr/ to view and download the draft CAO and to submit position papers using the DOF template at cmta_irr@dof.gov.ph/ cmta.irr.pmo@customs.gov.ph . Deadline of submission of position papers and the public hearing will be on the seventh calendar day after the posting of the draft CAO.

Final CAO for every priority provision will be published after 21 days of public hearing for administrative order (AO) without substantive changes and 30 days after public hearing for AO with substantive changes. For more details, CMTA-IRR Secretariat can be reached at 526-8849.

Export products to UAE need Halal certification by January 2017

September 20, 2016

Effective January 1, 2017, products entering the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are required to be certified by UAE- Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (UAE-ESMA). This new regulation for control on Halal products covers food, beverages, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals, including production systems and service associated with these products.

Exporters are encouraged to register directly with the UAE-ESMA. More information are available at http://www.esma.gov.ae/en-us or at the following offices:

Emirates Authority Standardization & Metrology (ESMA)
PO Box 48666 Dubai, U.A.E.
E-mail Address: Halal-registration@esma.gov.ae
Tel. No.:9714 2084300 /2084357
Fax No.: 9714 2951898
Mobile No. 97150 2539497


Yousef Mohamed Al Marzouqi
Head of International Conformity Affairs
Tel. No.: +971(4)2944434
Direct Line: +971 (4) 208 4369
Fax No.: +971 (4) 2944428


Mr. Harold Grecia Orona
Conformity Officer
E-mail: Harold@esma.gov.ae

Aquino bill seeks to create a Government Efficiency Office

September 20, 2016

Senator Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV recently filed Senate Bill No. 348 or an Act Creating a Government Efficiency Office (GEO) to improve the quality of regulations and reduce regulatory burden.

The GEO will be an attached agency to the Office of the President. It shall have the primary responsibility of implementing the National Policy on the Development and Implementation of Regulations (NPDIR). The NPDIR shall contain the regulatory management and review policies and guidelines to be followed by all government agencies.

Another provision in the Bill is the establishment of an Internal Regulatory Management Unit (IRMU) for each government agency. The IRMU will be in close coordination with the GEO for regulatory management and review of proposed and existing regulations.

This proposed measure affirms Strategy 2 of the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2015-2017 which pertinently implements one of the 10 Point socio-economic agenda of President Duterte, i.e. increasing competitiveness and ease of doing business. This measure will be beneficial as the Philippines is aiming to be part of the top third in the World Bank: Doing Business rankings by year end.

EDC revises export targets for 2016-2017

September 20, 2016

The Export Development Council (EDC), in its meeting last 22 July 2016 agreed that the revised export target for 2016 will be flat or 0% on goods, +9% on services and +3% on total exports and retain at +3% for total exports for 2017. EDC decided to be more conservative this time considering continuing sluggish global demand and world trade which impact many economies, including the Philippines.

EDC- Executive Committee Chair, Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado said that we should be mindful of the current global trends since a lot of economies have slowed down particularly the major destinations of our exports.

The total export target set in the PEDP 2015-2017 was 6.6-8.8% for 2016. However, the first five months performance of merchandise exports is down at negative 6.6%.

It can be recalled that the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) has also downgraded the merchandise export projections to 3% growth in 2016 and 6% growth in 2017.

IRR on controlled chemicals to take effect on 9 August 2016

September 20, 2016

The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 9516 which governs controlled chemicals is expected to be implemented starting 9 August 2016, 15 days after its publication last 25 July 2016.

Said IRR reduced the list of controlled chemicals from 101 to 32 (15 High Risk and 17 Low Risk) and streamlined the processes and issuance of licenses and permits. It also stipulates that police escort is now only required in the movement of high-risk chemicals without escort fees.

The Annexes of said IRR include: A) List of Controlled Chemicals; B) Guidelines in the Movement and Transportation of Controlled Chemicals; C) Processing of Licenses and Permits; D) Fees and Charges; E) Guidelines and Procedures in the Inspection of Storage Facility; F) Parameters for issuance of Certificate of Good Standing and G) Forms (application forms).

NBI warns exporters on online transactions

September 20, 2016

“Cybercrime is rampant and statistically, has the most number of criminal acts”, Investigative Agent Francis Señora of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) stated in his talk entitled “How to Avoid Cybercrime in Export Transactions” at the Philippine Export Competitiveness Program Seminar of the Department of Trade and Industry- Export Marketing Bureau.

He informed exporters about the different forms of hacking, such as (1) E-mail spoofing, a forgery of a header making an e-mail appears to come from a particular source; (2) phishing or fraud, where hackers acquire important information, such as usernames and password through internet by creating a website that disguises like a legitimate site. He emphasized that the third is the Social Engineering, the most dangerous form of hacking where too much personal information may be given.

To avoid cybercrime, Agent Señora advises the following: be conscious with all postings in social media and internet; be observant on the questions being asked especially by strangers; do not download nor open an attached document from an unknown sender; invest in using the company’s email rather than using your personal email; do not use Yahoo in online transaction because it does not follow a lot of protocols on the internet.

Moreover, you must use mnemonic passwords which agent Señora called the “super password. Mnemonic password uses the first letter of a random story that is retained in your memory. For example, I cross the street will come up as ICTS, and then add numerical digits for more secured password. It’s not advisable to use birth dates as a password since it is the easiest way the hackers can access private accounts of an individual.

BPS Notice to Exporters: Proposed Trade Regulations on Export Products

September 20, 2016

The Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) invites exporters to comment on the proposed technical regulations of USA, Japan, EU, Middle East and other countries on identified products.

Your export products may be affected, so be updated and provide comments on these trade regulations by regularly accessing the WTO-TBT Enquiry Point. BPS can be contacted by email at bps@dti.gov.ph or by phone at 751-4700.

EDC supports Project Repeal of NCC

July 11, 2016

The Export Development Council (EDC) has manifested its support to the Project Repeal program of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) during its launching last 13 June 2016. The said program aims to scrap outdated laws and regulations and to rationalize existing ones to cut red tape and improve the ease of doing business in the country.

Some of the EDC submission for repeal are the following: Presidential Decree (PD) 1221 requiring mandatory dry-docking of ships in MARINA-registered ship repair yards; Letter of Instruction (LOI) 1005-A to remove the conflict of interest of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in being a port operator & regulator; and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Memorandum Order No. 10-2014 on the Import Clearance Certificate (ICC) requirements.

NCC has identified 17,338 department orders and issuances for review or action. Of the total issuances, 3,959 have been reviewed while the remainder are still under review.

DTI launches innovation hub for start-up MSMEs

July 11, 2016

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) - Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) launched the Negosyo Center Plus: Innovation Hub on 6 June 2016 at the DTI International Building, Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City.

The Innovation Hub offers coworking space to technology-based Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and a relational form of assistance that will lead to collaboration within the start-ups community. It provides a venue for start-ups to deal with prospective clients, network with government agency experts and conduct businesses.

The Negosyo Center Plus: Innovation Hub aims to usher in a new breed of businesses that will thrive in the digital economy, to create an enabling environment conducive to sustainable growth of the startups and to create new Philippine products and service categories in the Information Era that will differentiate the Philippines.

The DTI, being the lead agency tasked to implement the Philippine Export Development Plan, provides the venue for such interaction to enhance the innovative capability of the export sector.

List of controlled chemicals down to 32

July 11, 2016

The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) on handling chemicals reduced the list of controlled chemicals from 101 to 32. These chemicals regulated by the Philippine National Police (PNP) are now categorized to 15 high-risk and 17 low-risk chemicals.

However, the PNP Chief may update the said list or add new chemicals in consultation with a research and development team that will be commissioned by the PNP and for the approval of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary.

The IRR implements Section 4-C to 4-F of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1866 as amended by Republic Act (RA) No. 9516. It was signed by DILG Secretary Senen Sarmiento last 9 June 2016.

Other features of the IRR include streamlined processing of application for the license to manufacture, deal and purchase and all the permits on controlled chemicals. This has reduced the number of documentary requirements and delegated the approving authorities.

DTI-certified micro and small enterprises may buy from dealers who are licensed to sell controlled chemicals within the maximum allowable quantity and without securing the Permit to Purchase. Maximum allowable quantity is the threshold quantity of a substance a user may purchase or consume within a year. This volume is yet to be determined by the PNP.

The IRR also provides the establishment of guidelines on the accreditation of transport providers and company-owned vehicles in lieu of the PNP escort service and fees. It also simplifies the procedures for companies in good standing.

The PNP is also preparing for the automation of processes and the establishment of Regional Civil Security Units to facilitate applications in the regions.

ITC: 94% of procedural obstacles to trade imposed by government

July 11, 2016

In a survey on Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) in the Philippines conducted by the International Trade Centre (ITC), results revealed that 94% of the procedural obstacles (PO) faced by both importers and exporters are imposed by the government agencies in the country and half of them concern delays and fees.

The survey details unusually high fees and charges, informal payments, delays in the issuance of certificates/licenses/permits and redundant documentary requirements. These are encountered in: 1. Product requirements and conformity (exports): Technical compliance expense; 2. Customs clearance and control (imports and exports) and; 3. Rules of Origin (ROO) and other trade rules (imports and exports).

To address the aforesaid issues, multisectoral stakeholders recommend to review, rationalize and streamline government regulations, intensify inter-agency coordination in consultation with private sector and to conduct information dissemination campaign for importers and exporters.

These findings come in time with the implementation of the “Strategy 2: remove unnecessary regulatory impediments to the movement of foods and delivery of services” of the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2015-2017 and the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte in his inaugural speech directing all government agencies “to reduce requirements and the processing time of all applications, from the submission to the release” and “to remove redundant requirements and compliance with one department or agency, shall be accepted as sufficient for all”.

The Export Development Council (EDC) through its Technical Working Group (TWG) on NTMs shall advocate with specific government agencies to address these issues.

BOC Issues Operational guidelines for foreign ships Co-Loading Act

July 11, 2016

The Bureau of Customs has released guidelines to operationalize some sections of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Foreign Ships Co- Loading Act.

Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 16-2016 was signed by Commissioner Lina on June 10 operationalizing Sections 6,7,8 of Joint Department Administrative Order (JDAO) No. 001-2016, which sets the IRR of Republic Act No. 10668 or the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act.

Section 6 of the JDAO provides the rules for co-loading import cargo; Section 7 for co-loading export cargo; and Section 8 for co-loading empty containers.

Export cargoes, empty container
Export cargoes shall be covered by Export Declaration at the port of loading, whether or not passing through another Philippine Port of Entry for delivery to the foreign port of destination.

For Empty Foreign Container Vans, the Bureau of Customs will issue a Special Permit to Load for Domestic Movement (SPL-DM) with reference to the domestic leg in case the empty container is transferred from one Philippine Port to another and a Special Permit to Load for Immediate Exportation (SPL-IE) in case the foreign empty container is loaded by a foreign vessel for immediate exportation.

The requirement for Boat Notes will be dispensed for purposes of co-loading.

Import Cargoes
Co-Loading Import Cargoes should be covered by an Electronic Inward Foreign Manifest (e-IFM) indicating the registry number of the carrying vessel.

The foreign ship operator or agent of the foreign Recipient vessel shall request for a Permit for Co-Loading to the Office of Deputy Collector for Operations (ODCO), or equivalent office, at the port concerned at least twelve (12) hours before arrival of the vessel.

The approved permit for co-loading must be immediately sent via email or fax by ODCO at the port of discharge to the ODCO at the port of final destination. At the ODCO or equivalent office at the port of discharge, the Manual Discharge under the Bureau’s e2m system for cargoes subject of co-loading shall be followed.

The containers for co-loading shall not be included in the port terminal operator’s automated system such as Terminal Appointment Booking System, gate pass, etc. since the containers are for temporary movement only.

Aquino approves law on Customs Modernization

June 27, 2016

President Benigno S. Aquino recently signed Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

The CMTA enables full customs automation and will make it easier for exporters, importers and traders to comply with complex customs processes. With CMTA, the Philippines will now be compliant to the Revised Kyoto Convention.

Some of the salient provisions of the new measure are the increase in the de minimis value from P10 to P10,000, higher tax-free provision in balikbayan boxes and the declarant provision which states that the engagement of custom brokers is mandatory only for two years, beyond which is optional. Aside from amending existing laws, CMTA redefines free zones, reclassifies customs bonded warehouse (CBWs) and includes advance ruling and alert orders in a more simplified process.

The IRR of CMTA is being prepared by the Bureau of Customs and expected to be issued on June 30.

Measure to promote HALAL export signed into law

June 27, 2016

President Benigno S. Aquino recently signed Republic Act 10817 or the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act to establish a comprehensive program for the development and promotion of Halal exports.

The Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Program will be formulated to cover the entire value chain for food, products and services, agricultural production, manufacturing, export and marketing assistance and application of Halal certification standards.

The Act also establishes the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board as a policy-making body on Halal export development and shall set the overall direction for the implementation of the aforesaid Program. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary will chair the Board while the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary will be the Vice-Chair.

Joint Department Order to implement Co-Loading Act

June 27, 2016

Joint Department Administrative Order No. 001 s.2016 was issued last May 16 for the implemen-tation of the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act or Republic Act No. 10668, also known as the amended Cabotage Law. The Secretaries of the Departments of Finance, Transportation and Communication, Trade and Industry, and Justice signed the joint order which serves as the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of said law. The IRR took effect last May 31.

President Benigno S. Aquino III signed in July last year the amendments to the Cabotage Law which is expected to help cut logistics cost and ease restrictions, allowing foreign ships to transport, import and export cargoes directly to and from any Philippine port of entry.

The revised law is seen to foster competition among domestic shipping companies in the country and will pave the way to lower shipping costs. In addition, it will assist importers and exporters in enhancing their competitiveness in the light of intensifying international trade.

Export Development Council seeks DBM support for PEDP projects of agencies

June 27, 2016

The Export Development Council (EDC) endorsed the Programs, Activities, and Projects (PAPs) to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to support the requests of the concerned agencies for budget allocation for 2016 and budget proposals for 2017. The PAPs will efficiently implement the strategies in the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2015-2017.

EDC Resolution No. 1, Series of 2016 endorsed the PAPs to the Office of the President and to the DBM. This Resolution covers the PAPs of The Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department Science and Technology, Department of Health, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Labor and Employment, and National Economic and Development Authority.

While Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas also submitted its PAPs in support of the PEDP, the implementations of its programs are funded within its own budget.

CMTA awaiting President's Signature

May 20, 2016

The Bureau of Customs and other stakeholders will soon have an enabling domestic legislation to be compliant with the Revised Kyoto Convention as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) has been transmitted to the Office of the President last 03 May 2016 for signature into law.

Once the bill is enrolled at the Office of the President and is not signed into law within thirty (30) days by the President, it lapses into law unless vetoed.

The CMTA simplifies procedures to lower the cost of doing business, allows automation of procedures, uses international best practices and prevents discretion of Customs officials.

Innovate: The Challenge to Exporters

May 20, 2016

The Depart-ment of Trade and Industry encourages exporters to innovate on products, processes and marketing approach to enhance domestic production and be more competitive.

In the recent Forum on the Regionalization of the Philippine Export Development Plan 2015-2017 for Regions 1, 2, 3 and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), DTI- Export Marketing Bureau Director Senen Perlada emphasized the 8th strategy of the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2015-2017. Strategy 8 is enhancing the innovative capacity of the export sector through an efficient system of national innovation, some activities included under this strategy are improving exporter’s access to appropriate knowledge networks that will help them find and identify relevant technologies and information and providing resources and incentives for undertaking joint research activities and other technical collaboration among firms. He remarked that the strategy was personally added by the President which aims to develop and diffuse new technologies.

EDC recommends legislative priorities to 17th Congress

May 20, 2016

The Export Development Council (EDC) through its Networking Committee on Legislative Advocacy and Monitoring (NCLAM) has prioritized the export sector’s legislative agenda for the 17th Congress to have a more competitive export industry.

On transport and logistics, some of the recommendations include the Amendment of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Charter in order to separate the regulatory and operator functions of both agencies. There is also a proposal to repeal Presidential Decree (PD) 1221 that requires mandatory dry-docking in MARINA registered shipyards.

On trade financing, EDC supports the proposed amendments to Republic Act 9501 (Magna Carta for MSMEs) to provide a 10-year extension to the mandatory lending provision of said law.

The proposed revision on the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 8172 (ASIN Law) shall be finalized for endorsement to the National Nutrition Council and the Salt Iodization Advisory Board. EDC acknowledges that there is a need to clarify an exemption in all salt incorporated in export food products.

Government to converge programs aligned to PEDP 2015-2017

May 20, 2016

Government agencies submitted to the Export Development Council their respective programs, activities and projects (PAPs) aligned to the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2015-2017. This is in compliance with Memorandum Circular No. 91 issued by the President to 14 relevant government agencies directing them to collectively work and review all relevant policies to facilitate exports and eliminate those that hamper its free flow.

The major PAPs in support to the PEDP include the following: The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) will implement a culture of continuous improvement in the quality of regulation by requiring concerned agencies to conduct periodic Regulatory Impact Assessment. The Department of Science and Technology will beef up its Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SET-UP). The Department of Labor and Employment presented its Two-Tiered Wage System, an approach to the setting of minimum wage and promoting productivity improvement. The Department of Interior and Local Government will institutionalize the Local Economic and Investment Promotion Officers (LEIPO) as one of the economic drivers in the LGUs. These programs aim to raise the productivity and competitiveness of Philippine enterprise.

To exploit opportunities presented by regional and preferential trading arrangements to expand market access within trade partners, explore new trade partners and develop new export products, the Department of Foreign Affairs laid a program to promote key and emerging products for inclusion in Free Trade Agreements (FTA) to expand market access within the existing trade partners, especially in areas where there are no Commercial Attaches.

To remove unnecessary impediments to the free flow of goods and services, the Department of Agriculture (DA) highlights its Trade Enabling Risk Management System to strengthen sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) Policy & Risk Management Framework. DA also plans to automate the SPS clearance procedures. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its Guidelines on the Unified Licensing Requirements and Procedures for the License to Operate.

On improving exporters’ access to trade finance, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas sets its program called Foreign Loan Approval and Registration System (FLAReS).

On improving infrastructure to support trade, the Department of Public Works and Highways will continue to upgrade roads and maintain bridges along national roads.

Implementation of PAPs will be monitored by the EDC

President approves Executive Order Expanding Ro-Ro to Cha-ro

April 19, 2016

President Benigno S. Aquino III recently approved Executive Order No. 204 expanding the coverage of Executive Order No. 170 (s.2003) and Executive Order No. 170-A (s. 2003) to include container-chassis roll-on-roll-off (CHA-RO). The E.O. is one major advocacy of the Export Development Council.

CHA-RO is a mode of RO-RO shipping where the container is mounted on a chassis and loaded on and off the cargo belly of the RO-RO ships by a prime mover or tractor. Unlike in the purely RO-RO mode, the container-mounted chassis is disengaged from the prime mover which is left at the port of origin. At the port of discharge, the container-mounted chassis is then engaged with and picked up by another prime mover from the cargo belly of the vessel.

The E.O. will lower transport cost by at least 15-20% mainly because the prime mover, an expensive equipment, is not required to travel with the chassis-mounted container onto/from the RO-RO ships. This will also support and complement the establishment of the ASEAN RO-RO project network and address issues related to the movement of natural persons (i., e. the driver), Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Services, and technical operations. Thus, it will support and promote the competitiveness of the export sector.

For more details, please click Executive Order No. 204- Expanding Ro-Ro to Cha-ro.

High Compliance of TABS seen in the first week of implementation

April 19, 2016

Operators of Manila’s container terminals said the first week of strict and full implementation of Terminal Appointment Booking System (TABS) showed compliance by users and growth in truck transactions.

Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) commercial and risk management director, Christian Lozano, said that they are seeing an improvement in compliance on March 16 from 72% to 96% of the writing. No shows were down to only 4% for MICT.

According to Manila South Harbor operator Asian Terminal Inc. (ATI), there is a 100% compliance at the port gates because of the strict application of the “No TABS booking, no entry” rule.

Aside from high compliance, there is also an increase in truck transactions on the first Sunday of full implementation of TABS.

ATI said initial data showed truck transactions on March 20 “increased by over 80% compared to previous Sundays of March” while MICT said that the number of import pullouts on March 20 was “three times higher” compared to March 13 (Sunday). There was a high utilization last March 20 because of the rebate/ incentive TABS giving back to the users. There are still some issues with the system regarding the long lines and difficulty in entering the port as well as unfamiliarity with booking through TABS.

Penalties for late arrivals (trucks that come two hours after their booked slot) is P1,625. No shows, or trucks that arrive three hours or more after their appointment, will be fined P3,251. The imposition of penalties will take effect starting April 1.

Regionalization of PEDP drew cooperation in Mindanao and Visayas

April 19, 2016

The DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) and Export Development Council (EDC) spearheaded the recently concluded regionalization of Philippine Export Development Plan 2015-2017 held in Davao City for Regions 9, 10, 11, 12, CARAGA and ARMM and in Cebu City for Regions 6, 7, 8 and NIR. Commitments from the representative of the public sectors were enlisted to collectively work for the increase in exports for their respective regions. A representative from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 9 shared about the implementation of the Two-Tiered Wage System which aims to improve the coverage of minimum wages; promote worker and enterprise productivity and address the negative effects of minimum wage policies. To provide support to the Strategy 4 of the PEDP, DOLE indicated their programs such as JobStart Philippines that assist young Filipinos with career development pathways by creating opportunities to improve technical skills and the JobsFit which is their latest labor market study that gives emphasis in the in-demand and hard-to-fill occupations of the key industries subjected to be the main source of employment growth in the country.

In Cebu, Regional Director Efren Carreon of National Economic and Development Authority- Region 7 informed about the on-going infrastructure programs such as the expansion of Cebu airport and the construction of the new airport in Bohol. He also mentioned about the expansion of the Cebu International Port (CIP) that will give advantage to the exporters.

Representative from the Department of Agriculture-Region 7 stated that there must be a development and expansion of intermediate products and production areas by coordinating with the LGUs and collaborating with private and public sectors.

The Export Development Council shall monitor the abovementioned responses from the respective government agencies in pursuance to the Memorandum Circular No. 91.

Some provisions of CMTA to be carried out soon-BOC

April 19, 2016

The Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) has been approved by the Bicameral Conference Committee last January. It is being finalized by both Houses of Congress to be enrolled to the Office of the President for his approval. However, even before the law is enacted, five provisions under the CMTA will be carried out soon as announced by Bureau of Customs Deputy Commissioner Agaton Uvero.

The first is on relief consignment, requiring that donations to calamity victims are both duty-free and tax-free. Uvero said that another priority is the issuance of Customs Administrative Orders to implement the declarant provision. On the urgent list too is the increase in de minimis value from P10 to P10,000 for articles brought into the country duty-free through postal companies, international couriers or by hand-carry. Yet another priority is the issuance of rules to implement the increase in the amount of exemption for a balikbayan box to P350,000 for those who have stayed in a foreign country for at least ten (10) years and have not availed of this privilege. The fifth on the priority list states that all goods declared for consumption should be cleared through formal entry process.

PEDP 2015-2017 Work Plans to be disseminated to regions

March 22, 2016

The Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) and the Export Development Council (EDC) will hold a series of Fora on the REGIONALIZATION OF PHILIPPINE EXPORT DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2015-2017 in the following schedule:

Regions Date Time Venue
NCR
(Reg 4A/4B/5/NCR)
16 March 2016 9:00am–2:00pm Ace Hotel and Suites, Pasig City
Mindanao
(Reg 9/10/11/12/ CARAGA/ARMM)
29 March 2016 9:00am–2:00pm Microtel, Davao City
Visayas
(Reg 6/7/8/NIR)
31 March 2016 9:00am–2:00pm Hotel Elizabeth, Cebu City
Pampanga
(Reg 1/2/3/CAR)
5 April 2016 9:00am–2:00pm Holiday Inn, Clark Pampanga

The activity aims to promote the strategies and work plans set under the plan and solicit commitments among stakeholders in the implementation of various programs to transform the Philippines into a strong, competitive and innovative exporting nation and make exports a primary platform to achieve inclusive growth.

Exporters, business support organizations (BSO) and concerned government agencies are invited to these fora. Confirmations may be made through email: pedp@edc.net.ph or the nearest DTI Regional Offices and Philexport Chapters in the abovementioned regions.

EDC addressing challenges of ASIN Law

March 18, 2016

The Export Development Council- Networking Committee on Legislative Advocacy and Monitoring is studying the proposed review of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 8172 or An Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide (ASIN Law) enacted in 1995. ASIN Law requires all producers and manufacturers of food-grade salt to iodize the salt that they produce, manufacture, import, trade or distribute. All food manufacturer processors using food-grade salt are also required to use iodized salt in the processing of their products.

The local salt industry is finding it hard to compete with the global market of salt and food products with salt due to the restriction for salt producers to offer a wide array of different salt types even in the domestic market. ASIN Law is also seen to limit innovations on the type of salt that will fit the needs of a product as well as leads to the loss of some nutrients during processing. With this, small local salt farmers are unable to compete with large salt producers especially in the global market.

It is further noted that the intent of the law is for local consumption only and that export products should not be covered by the law.

The National Nutrition Council informed the body that the revision of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the said law is on-going and this will guide the Technical Working Group (TWG) created by EDC to further address what may be done to amend the said law.

IMO introduces new policy on Verified Gross Container Weight

March 18, 2016

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) will be implementing the new policy on verified gross container weight pursuant to the amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention on Cargo Information effective July 01, 2016. The SOLAS convention is applicable globally.

The new policy mandates that no packed container shall be allowed loading by the carrier and port operator without the submission by the shipper of a verified gross container weight. It is a violation of SOLAS to load a container aboard a vessel without proper weight verification. There is no exemption to this requirement.

President Aquino Approves PEDP 2015-2017

February 16, 2016

The Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2015-2017 is approved by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III in a Memorandum Circular, which also instructs all concerned government agencies to collectively work and review all relevant policies to facilitate exports and eliminate those that hamper its free flow.

The plan, one of the most important elements of the International Trade Strategy forms part of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP). It lays out a three-year plan of providing a business environment supportive of trade, growth and innovation that would enable domestic industries to establish their niches in regional and global markets, in turn, raising the status of the Philippines in the global value chain.

PNP Extends Moratorium on Regulated Chemicals

February 16, 2016

The Philippine National Police (PNP) extends the moratorium on the license and permit to import, handle and transport requirements for certain regulated chemicals until 30 April 2016.

During the 80-day extension, the PNP will not require importers, traders and distributors of the following controlled chemicals to secure license, permit, escort and to submit a consumption report:

1. Aluminum Granules 13. Potassium Iodate
2. Aluminum Powder 14. Propylene Glycol
3. Amorphous Phosporus 15. Sodium Chloride
4. Barium Chromate 16. Sodium Sulphate
5. Gallic Powdet 17. Sodium Periodate
6. Glycerine 18. Ammonium Acetate
7. Hydrogen Peroxide 19. Ammonium Sulfate
8. Hydroflouric Acid 20. Glycerol
9. Hydrogen Chloride 21. Hydrochloric Acid
10. Phosphorus Sesquisulphide 22. Potassium Permanganate
11. Phosphoric Acid 23. Potassium Sulfate
12. Phosphorus Red 24. Sulfuric Acid
25. Toluene


However, for the purpose of public safety and national security, the said extended moratorium still excludes nitrates, chlorates, nitric acid, explosives and explosives accessories.

The moratorium, which is supposed to end on 9 February 2015, is a result of consultative meetings of PNP with private stakeholders and other relevant government agencies.

This move will give ample time to PNP and Department of Internal and Local Government (DILG) to promulgate and issue the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) of RA 9516 which governs the explosives, explosives accessories, explosive ingredients and controlled chemicals.

The export industry, which is also importers of raw materials such as chemicals, is looking forward to the issuance of the said IRR which will streamline the process and documentary requirements of PNP license and permit.

CMTA approved at BICAM

February 16, 2016

The Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) has been approved in the Bicameral Conference after both Houses have reconciled the Senate and House Bills of the CMTA. The bill now awaits the signature of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

The bill amends the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) in compliance with the Revised Kyoto Convention which is a blueprint for “modern and efficient customs procedures” of the World Customs Organization.

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and Sponsor of S.B. No. 2968 said that the bill aims to promote transparency and accountability to Bureau of Customs through considerably reducing human intervention due to “electronification” of customs procedure.

Representative Romero “Miro” Quimbo, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means said that the CMTA will democratize transactions by redefining the role of customs brokers, it must be noted that the CMTA will be fully compliant to the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC).

The CMTA has wide-ranging support from both the public and private sectors citing that this Bill is a tool to overhaul the Customs and update the TCCP.

Standardization as a pillar of the National Quality Infrastructure

February 16, 2016

The establishment of a National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) is one of the strategies under the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2015-2017. “NQI focuses on Standardization, Metrology Testing, Certification and Accreditation as a national tool for trade facilitation, industry competitiveness, best regulatory practices and consumer protection”, says Director Ann Claire Cabochan of the Bureau of Philippine Standards.

BPS will play a crucial role on this as it is mandated to be the National Standards Body of the Philippines to develop, promulgate, implement and coordinate standardization activities of the country. As the National Standards Body, BPS formulates Philippine National Standards (PNS) and ensures that the PNS adheres to International Standards such as ISO 9000 (Quality Management), ISO 14000 (Environmental Management), ISO 500001 (Energy Management) to name a few.

Dir. Cabochan added that the BPS is a signatory to the World Trade Organization -Technical Barrier to Trade (WTO-TBT) agreement. As a member of the WTO-TBT, the BPS ensures that our SMEs are protected through standards, technical regulation, conformity assessment procedures (testing, calibration, inspection and certification), packaging and labeling.

The BPS continues to develop standards that will serve as springboard to quality, safety and efficient and optimized use of resources resulting to production of lower cost of goods for the MSMEs in the country.

Business Advised to be Sustainable Amidst Climate Change

February 16, 2016

In the recent National Export Congress, Dr. Cora Claudio of the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development recommended that the country should be equipped with Integrated Risk Communication, Assessment and Management Strategy. This will prepare the country to set up measures like earthquake drills, insurance cover and efficient and wise use of the natural resources in order to sustain businesses

She also advised companies in the country to set up their own energy conservation programs, rain collection systems and other means to mitigate the risks and effect of the climate change. Such measures and systems when put in place, will become part of their social responsibility in ensuring that the country will still be a better place to live in for the next generations to come.

Her recommendations are fitting and proper as the country is prone to many risks regarding climate change such as extreme heating events, extreme rainfall events, increasing ocean temperature, sea level rise and disturbed water level. With these risks in mind, she called on government and businesses to recognize that Climate Change is real and all the signs are there for business to take decisive actions.

Hence, the Philippine government should agree on the climate deal at Paris Climate Conference or COP 21 held in Paris, France that in 2020, the global temperature does not rise by 2”C or even 1.5”C compared to the pre-industrial era because of greenhouse emissions. In the said COP 21 conference, private sector commitment is very crucial for all governments of the world to turn the agreements into reality in their respective countries.

Terminal Appointment Booking System to run on February 15

February 04, 2016

The largest port operators in the Philippines ICTSI (International Container Terminal Services Inc) and ATI (Asian Terminals Inc) will strictly implement the Terminal Appointment Booking System (TABS) on February 15, 2016. TABS is an electronic platform where brokers and forwarders book the movement of containers out of the Manila International Container Terminal and other international ports in Manila. This system was developed to minimize road traffic and prevent container build-up at the Port of Manila and MICT. TABS users are exempted from the truck ban as approved by MMDA. Also, TABS users will enjoy the reduced fees during non- rush hours while port operators will give rebates for releasing of container during weekends.

Exporters and importers are encouraged to use TABS for their convenience as well as to decongest the port area in Manila.

Law against weapons of mass destruction approved

February 04, 2016

President Benigno S. Aquino III recently signed RA 10697 or the Strategic Trade Management Act, prohibiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Philippines.

Strategic goods refer to products that are considered to be of military importance, that their export is either prohibited or subject to conditions. Such goods are generally suitable to be used for military purposes or for the production of WMD, or goods listed in the National Strategic Goods List.

After the 9/11 terror attack, the concept of terrorism has evolved as a global concern and with the height of globalization, the reach of delivery systems for terror groups have also been enhanced and expanded. Even the goods that we use daily can be utilized in the development and production of WMD. It is for the reason that the Act is enacted to simultaneously pursue the objectives of WMD non-proliferation and economic advancement in global trade.

A Strategic Trade Management Committee under the National Security Council will be established as a policy body to formulate and adopt strategies and policies for the effective implementation of the said act. To enforce the provisions of this act, the Strategic Trade Management Office (STMO) will be created under the Department of Trade and Industry.

The law covers any natural or juridical person operating within the country or engaged in export of strategic goods and re-export of strategic goods from the Philippines to another country. Any person who intends to engage in the export, import, transit, and transhipment of strategic goods or the provision of related services shall be required to obtain an authorization from the STMO.

DOST builds capabilities of Philippine food industry

February 04, 2016

In anticipation of the ASEAN Integration and huge market demand for innovative food products, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched the High Impact Technology Solution (HITS) and Food Innovation Center to build the capabilities of the Philippine food industry.

HITS was implemented to promote the use of locally developed technologies or Filipino innovation to address the needs and problems of the food processing industry in the country. Through the HITS, DOST developed food processing equipment, native and popular food products in new form, flavour and appropriate packages for longer shelf life.

The DOST Food Innovation Centers serve as one-stop shop R & D facilities that cater to the needs of MSMEs, start-up entrepreneurs, proprietors and students in their localities. The centers enable product innovation and diversification to maximize value addition to agricultural and fishery products.

Retort pouches, special bottles and cans; vacuum fryers under reduced pressure & temperature; spray dryer for conversion of liquid or food solutions into dry powder and freeze dryers are examples of innovations in the food industry through the Food Innovation Centers.

This Breakthrough was presented during the last National Export Congress 2015.

PNP Suspends Regulations on Commonly-Used Controlled Chemicals

December 16, 2015

Effective 9 December 2015, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has temporarily suspended its requirements for companies in securing license or permit when they import, handle, or transport some commonly used controlled chemicals. The moratorium will end until 9 February 2016.

The chemicals subject to the 60-day moratorium are:

1. Aluminum Granules
2. Aluminum Powder
3. Amorphous Phosporus
4. Barium Chromate
5. Gallic Powder
6. Glycerine
7. Hydrogen Peroxide
8. Hydroflouric Acid
9. Hydrogen Chloride
10. Phosphorus Sesquisulphide
11. Phosphoric Acid
12. Phosphorus Red
13. Potassium Iodate
14. Propylene Glycol
15. Sodium Chloride
16. Sodium Sulphate
17. Sodium Periodate
18. Ammonium Acetate
19. Ammonium Sulfate
20. Glycerol
21. Hydrochloric Acid
22. Potassium Permanganate
23. Potassium Sulfate
24. Sulfuric Acid
25. Toluene

The moratorium means that such controlled chemicals are subject to:

a. no license or permit requirement from the PNP;
b. no escorting requirements from the PNP;
c. no reportorial requirement from the PNP;
d. no confiscation of stock by the PNP;
e. no collection of any amount arising from, in association with or in relation to escorting services.


However, in ensuring public safety and national security, the temporary suspension does not cover nitrates, chlorates, nitric acid, explosives and explosives accessories. Following is the list of explosives, explosives accessories and controlled chemicals that are excluded in the moratorium:

1. Black powder
2. Composition 4
3. Delay compound
4. Di-Nitro-Toluene
5. Emulsion matrix
6. M201 Fuse
7. Nitrocellulose
8. Nitroglycerine
9. Phosphorus
10. Picric acid
11. Propellant charges
12. Slurry blast agent
13. Slurry powder
14. Sulfur powder
15. Tetryl
16. Smokeless Powder


Within the 60-day suspension, government and private sector stakeholders will thresh out the categorization of controlled chemicals consistent with Presidential Decree No. 1866 as amended by Republic Act No. 9516.

This move, lauded by importers and exporters, is a result of a series of consultative meetings between the PNP, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Export Development Council (EDC), trade associations and other relevant agencies after some companies experienced delay in their operation due to difficulty in securing permits to purchase, handle and distribute controlled chemicals.

DILG Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento and PNP Director Ricardo Marquez also announced, during their meeting with relevant agencies last 9 December 2015, that a Technical Working group (TWG) will be created immediately to come up with a list of categorized controlled chemicals. The draft TWG recommendation will be used in formulating the implementing rules and regulations of P.D. 1866 as amended.

For more details, please click Temporary Suspension of Regulation of Commonly Used Chemicals and list of Controlled Chemicals Subject for Moratorium.

National Export Congress Slated on December 03, 2015

November 30, 2015

Exporters, manufacturers, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), government policy makers, business support organizations and academe are invited to the National Export Congress 2015 on December 03, 2015, 8AM to 5PM, at the Marriott Grand Ballroom, #10 Newport Boulevard, Newport City Complex, Pasay City.

The National Export Congress is the highlight of the National Exporters’ Week on December 1-7, 2015. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Enabling SMEs for International Markets” to promote favorable business environment to enable domestic industries, particularly SME exporters, to enhance their capabilities to supply to international markets. The Congress will discuss the global economic outlook, APEC agenda, trade facilitation, marketing assistance and innovation for global competitiveness. The event will also award exporters for their exemplary performance and contribution to Philippine export growth.

Also, there will be one-on-one consultations with government clearance agencies on export permit requirements and with commercial attachés on exports opportunities in specific markets.

Interested parties may register at the National Exporters Week.

PNP Temporary Permit for Regulated Chemicals Extended to April 2016

November 30, 2015

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has approved the extension of the validity period of temporary permits of regulated chemicals until 30 April 2016 in a Memorandum signed by the Chief PNP last 28 October 2015. The extension will give companies sufficient time to complete their requirements and be granted their respective regular licenses.

Those with existing temporary permits who are compliant to the requirement of Monthly Consumption Report are automatically extended. However, companies who do not submit such report have to re-apply for extension.

To avail of the extension of the temporary permit, all applicants, whether existing regular licenses, new temporary permits holders or forthcoming temporary license holders (Manufacturers, Purchasers and/or Dealers) are required to submit the following documentary requirements:

1. Notarized letter request signed by the authorized representative indicating the controlled chemicals to be procured, mode of procurement, delivery date/s, quantity and purity/grade; Declaration of the actual inventory of controlled chemicals as of the date of filing; Valid Company ID of the authorized representative; Board of Director’s Resolution (for corporations)/Special Power of Attorney (for partnerships and sole proprietorship), as proof of his authority to transact on behalf of the company.

2. Proof of Payment of applicable permit fee (special bank receipt from Land Bank of the Philippines).

3. Location, address and description of capacity of storage facility.

4. Notarized monthly consumption reports for the months of August and September (depending on the date when the temporary permit was issued).

If qualified, the license fee will be waived and can be processed for 5 working days excluding the date of application. All applicants are also required to submit notarized monthly consumption/utilization reports to Explosives Management Division (EMD) and Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) within 10 calendar days of the succeeding month.On the terms of extension, following are the period of validity of the required permits:

Validity Period (non-extendible) Processing Time (excluding date of submission of application) Processing Fee
Temporary Permit to Purchase and Move Explosives 60 Days 3 Working Days P1,500
Temporary Permit to Unload 60 Days 3 Working Days P0.10/kg or P0.10/liter
Temporary Permit to Import 180 days 3 Working Days P6,000
Temporary Permit for Radio Message 60 days (one-time use only) 3 Working Days

Within 60 days upon approval of the temporary license, the applicant must submit his application for a regular License to Possess Explosives/Explosive Ingredients and/or Controlled Chemicals to the PNP. Non-compliance of the applicant would lead to the cancellation of his temporary permit and his inventory shall be subject for confiscation.

The approval is a response following the series of meetings between government, private sector and other concerned industry associations who experienced delays in their operations because of difficulties in complying with regulations on the purchase, handling, and distribution of controlled chemicals.

Under RA 9516, there are 41 chemicals that are regulated by PNP and commonly used by manufacturers. These include hydrofluoric acid and hydrogen peroxide that are widely used by furniture and handicraft exporters in cleaning and bleaching their raw materials.

For more details, please click Extension of Temporary Permits on Regulated Chemicals to download the Memorandum.

CTAP Scraps Trucking Guiding Rates

November 30, 2015

The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) discontinues the publication and issuance of trucking guiding rates. In its Board Resolution No. 006 series of 2015, CTAP gives opportunity to its members to freely negotiate and give appropriate trucking rates with their client and be shielded from price fixing allegations.

The Export Development Council (EDC) led the advocacy for CTAP to discontinue and suspend the publication of CTAP’s Guiding Truck Rates in compliance with R.A. 10667, the Philippine Competition Act of 2015. The law prohibits anti-competitive activities, price fixing and price control.

DPWH Extended the Implementation of Anti-Overloading Law

October 13, 2015

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) extended the implementation of anti-overloading policy in response to truckers’ request for more time to comply with the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) requirement under Republict Act No.8794 “An Act Imposing a Motor Vehicle’s Charge on Owners of All types of Vehicle and for Other Purposes”.

DPWH Secretary Rogelio L. Singson and DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya signed the Public Advisory and formally announced the suspension of the enforcement of the maximum allowable GVW for trucks/trailers under codes 12-2 and 12-3 until July 31, 2016.


Customs Scraps Import Forms

October 13, 2015

Exporters who are also importers, are pleased with the move of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to discard two (2) import forms such as the Import Entry and Internal Revenue Declaration (IEIRD) and the Supplemental Declaration on Valuation (SDV). This rule is provided by Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 29-2015 dated 1 September 2015. This will eliminate unnecessary use of papers and expensive forms, hence, importers can now reduce their transaction costs with the BOC in the release of their imported items.

Under CMO 29-2015, the use of IEIRD or BOC Form 236 will be discontinued in favor of the Single Administrative Document (SAD) which will now serve as the entry declaration. The SAD is secured through the E2M Customs system and printed in two (2) copies.

The information in the SDV will be indicated in Box 39 of the SAD which is considered mandatory field in the entry declaration.

The CMO implements the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) entered into by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Tariff Commission and other government agencies on the electronic information interchange between the BOC and other agencies.

New Financing Assistance Available to MSMEs

October 13, 2015

The Small Business Corporation (SB Corp) has introduced its innovative financing facilities to help the country’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. These are:

1. Trade Fair and Inventory Build-up Loan Fund - for participation in local and international trade fairs, for inventory build-up, space/booth rental and shipment cost;
2. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Licensing and Production Site Compliance Loan Fund - to finance the cost of licensing and physical assets or improvements that need to be acquired by the MSME in order to be granted the license;
3. Patents Licensing and Inventory Build-up Equity Fund - to finance patent licensing cost and inventory build-up;
4. Commercialization of Innovation Awardee Equity Fund - to finance start-ups with outstanding product/ service concepts;
5. Halal and Kosher Certification Loan Fund - to finance MSMEs engaged in food processing and are seeking certification of products for export to Muslim and Jewish territories;
6. Loan Fund for Farm Development for Pocket Farmer Entrepreneurs - to finance the production requirement for long gestating and /or non-traditional high-value crops by farmer entrepreneur and corporate employees;
7. Equity Financing for Corporatized Enterprises - to finance MSMEs operating in industry clusters with funding requirements from P50K to P200K; and
8. Lending to MSME Clientele of DTIs SSF Program - to finance the working capital requirements of DTI Shared Service Facility (SSF) beneficiaries.

Interested MSMEs may contact SB Corp at telephone nos. 751-1888, 894-1677 or 813-5726.

BOC no longer requires PDEA Certificate of Exemption for Lithium Ion Batteries

September 15, 2015

A Certificate of Exemption is no longer required for importation of lithium Ion batteries provided that these are imported as finished product. This was reiterated in Customs Memorandum Circular No. 96 -2015 pursuant to Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation 1-2014.

The issuance and enforcement of said CMC is the result of consultations conducted by the Export Development Council among Dangerous Drugs Board and other government agencies as well as affected industries to address delay in the release of imported lithium ion batteries used by the electronics sector

Exporters and SMEs Invited to Financing Forum

September 15, 2015

A financing forum focused on Philippine SME exporters is being geared up for this month. The event entitled: “Empowering SME Exporters through Innovative Financing” will be held on 29 September 2015 at the 2nd Floor Function Room 2, SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.

The said event aims to increase awareness of Philippine SME exporters and potential entrepreneurs of the various financing programs of banking institutions; to introduce innovative financing schemes for SMEs such as crowd sourcing and angel funding; and to induce the banking sector and other financing institutions to lend more to SMEs. In addition, the relevance of the newly established Credit Information Corporation (CIC) will also be introduced. Moreover, cliniquing activities with banks is also included in the said event.

The activity is organized under the Philippine Export Competitiveness Program (PECP) of the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), in coordination with the Export Development Council – Networking Committee on Financing (EDC-NCF) and the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT).

Interested participants may call Ms. Mary Anne B. Abdon of the EMB at (02) 465-3300 local 108 or email at Exponet@dti.gov.ph.

PNP issues temporary permits for controlled chemicals

August 07, 2015

The Philippine National Police (PNP) issued a memorandum granting the issuance of Temporary Permits to Purchase and Move Explosives/Explosive Ingredients/ Controlled Chemicals and Temporary Permit to Import and Unload, provided, application forms have been submitted to the Civil Security Group-Firearms and Explosives Office of the PNP. The permits shall be valid for three (3) months from the date of issue and shall be valid for one time use only. Further, applicants shall submit all documentary requirements within the validity period of the permits.

This trade facilitation move is the result of a series of meetings among the Export Development Council, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), Bureau of Custooms, PNP and the affected industries such as the Semiconductors and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Inc. (SEIPI) and the Samahan sa Pilipinas ng mga Industriyang Kimika (SPIK) in addressing the sluggish issuance of permits and licenses which would have resulted to slowdown and possible stoppage of operations of some electronics manufacturers.

The issuance of temporary permits shall be valid from July 24, 2015 until October 31, 2015 only and not subject to extension

PH Competition Act encourages entrepreneurs to compete

August 07, 2015

With the recently signed Philippine Competition Act or Republic Act (R.A.) 10667, entrepreneurs, whether small or big can now compete with market leaders and will be more encouraged to provide better products and services at reasonable prices.

Also, doing business in the country will be more attractive to potential investors who are afraid to enter because of the market dominance of multinational companies.

The Act, which aims to ensure that there will be fair competition among market players, prohibits abuse of dominant positions, cartels, price fixing during auctions or biddings, anti-competitive agreements and mergers and acquisitions that limit or control competition.

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) will be established to implement the national competition policy and look into anticompetitive behaviors that violate the law. The PCC will be composed of a chairperson, four commissioners and an executive director.

R.A. 10667 was signed into law by President Benigno S. Aquino III at Malacañang last 21 July 2015. It was one of the legislative agenda advocated by the Export Development Council (EDC), together with other business organizations

Foreign Co-Loading Law boosts competitive shipping market

August 07, 2015

R.A. 10668, otherwise known as the Foreign Co-Loading Law was signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III last July 21, 2015. The law which practically amends the cabotage rule now allows foreign vessels to dock at any Philippine port for loading and unloading of foreign cargoes. Foreign cargo refers to import and export cargo carried by a foreign vessel. The benefit of the bill is to reduce logistics costs and provide transhipment services needed by exporters and importers that will lead to competitive pricing of goods.

This reform will also help decongest Manila ports as most shipments normally have to unload first in Manila before shipping directly to other domestic ports around the country. The amended Cabotage Law will increase port revenues and provide price-competitive shipping service that will help exporters to compete effectively in the international market.

FDA simplifies rules on importation of urban hazardous substances

August 07, 2015

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) issued Memorandum Circular 2015-006 which eases the ruling of importation of urban hazardous substances, as long as manufacturers will import these substances for their own use.

This is good news to manufacturers of cosmetics, furniture, and non-food products. The License to operate and Certificate of Product Registration are no longer required from them. Instead, an Import Clearance shall be issued by the FDA for every shipment, provided the following documents are submitted to FDA:

1. Letter of Intent;
2. Notarized Affidavit of Undertaking stating that the imported product does not contain any banned ingredient/s and is intended solely for own consumption and not for marketing;
3. Copies of shipping documents such as bills of lading, commercial invoice and packing list; and
4. Proof of payment of PHP 510.00

This FDA Memorandum Circular is welcomed by exporters as it will surely facilitate trade for Philippine export growth.

DTI to review existing laws and policies for startups

August 07, 2015

Secretary Gregory Domingo of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) pronounced that the government shall review and adjust existing laws and create new policies to help startup companies (sometimes referred as innovative Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)). He admitted that the government is lagging behind in terms of understanding and supporting the startups in the country.

SMEs have the potential to contribute greatly to the economic growth through the product and process innovations they introduce to the market. The Trade Chief said that the sector accounts for 97 percent of all enterprises in Asia Pacific economies and employs 50 percent of the workforce in these countries.

To take full advantage of the growth of startups, the government is considering government funding for startups, though discussions on how it will be done shall take place first. At present, there are private-sector led initiatives to finance SMEs.

DTI’s planned reforms are echoed with one of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) advocacies in supporting SMEs. DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said that one of the thrusts of the department is to provide technical assistance to entrepreneurs wanting to open up a tech startup and innovate and develop new products and services.

These reforms were stated during the Slingshot MNL 2015 which is the official startup event of the Asia Pacific Cooperation (APEC) Philippines 2015 organized by DTI and DOST last 6-7 July 2015.

Bureau of Customs bares plans for 2015

July 21, 2015

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) laid out projects and programs that will support the ASEAN integration and Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP).

The main goal of the BOC is to broaden the scope and functionality of the current electronic system to ensure the full implementation of paperless, queueless and no face-to-face transactions especially those that are still manually processed as well as the automation of record keeping and inventory tracking of tax-free imports. Hence, the National Single Window and the customs transaction system will be integrated to enable faster verification and utilization of import permits. This aims to eradicate fraud in the BOC and increase customs revenue.

BOC Commissioner Alberto Lina bared his five reform principles during the PHILEXPORT General Membership Meeting last June 30, 2015 at the Manila Hotel. These are:

1.Adopting integrity as the agency’s work ethics following President Aquino’s mandate of “Daang Matuwid” as the foundation for action;
2.Leveling the playing field by ensuring fair, efficient, speedy, and hospitable services;
3.Battling corruption;
4.Continuing to decongest ports and improve systemic interventions by adapting to a growing economy;
5. Optimum performance from each and every officer and employee to transform the Bureau into a proactive organization.


The BOC is now implementing the following trade facilitation policies that will benefit exporters:

1. Implementation of ASEAN Certificate of Origin self-certification 2nd pilot project (CMO 2-2014);
2. Exemption of refrigerated shipments, transhipments, PEZA bound containerized shipments and export shipment from mandatory x-ray scanning (CMO 6-2014); and
3. Revision of BOC port operation manual abolishing the requirements of Notice of Stuffing and the presence of Stuffing Inspector during the stuffing/loading of export cargo container (CMO 4- 2015).

These reforms were disclosed during the PEDP 2015-2017 Regional Seminar held last May 27, 2015 at the Crimson Hotel, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

DOST 12: Adopt Philippine Halal Logo

July 21, 2015

The Philippines is the first non-Islamic country granted permission to use the unified standard of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) - Standards and Metrology Institute for the Islamic Countries (SMIIC) and the Halal Logo, as shown here.

DOST 12 is confident that with the new Halal logo which conforms to the SMIIC standards, issues on fake Halal products, certification schemes and compliance to international certification will be addressed.

With the thirty two (32) member states of SMIIC, DOST 12 Regional Dir. Zenaida P. Hadji Raof Laidan urged delegates to implement, adopt and strictly adhere to SMIIC Standards, during the Philippine Halal Assembly 2015 held last 3-5 June 2015 .

PCCI, EDC Invite Exporters to the 5th National Educational Forum

July 21, 2015

The PCCI Education Committee, in collaboration with the Export Development Council-Networking Committee on Human Resource Development and the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry invite exporters and other businesses to the 5th National Education Forum (NEF) on 27 August 2015 at the Penthouse, Board of Investment Building, Makati City. The theme for this year’s event is “Aligning Business Education in the Context of ASEAN Economic Integration”.

The forum will focus on the importance of aligning the country’s business education with the requirements of the AEC and the preparations made by the academe and business sector to enable them to compete and reap the benefits from the economic integration through education and higher learning. Expected to attend this forum are leaders and professionals from the business sector and academe. An international speaker from Australia will discuss the Philippine-Australian Cross Qualifications in Connection with the Philippine Qualifications Framework.

Those interested to attend may register with Ms. Juliet Espino of the PCCI Secretariat at telephone number 02-846-8196. Registration fee is P600.00 per person.

Foreign shipping lines lift port congestion and emergency surcharges

June 15, 2015

Fifteen 15 members of the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) lifted the Port Congestion Surcharge (PCS) as of May 7, 2015. These shipping lines are APL Company PTE., Ltd.,"K" Line, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk Line, Orient Overseas Container Lines, Regional Container Lines Pte. Ltd., Pacific International Lines Pte. Ltd., Evergreen Line, COSCO Container Lines Co., Ltd., TS Lines Limited, Sinotrans Container Lines Co., Ltd., YangMing Marine Transport Corp, SITC Container Lines, Ltd., Wan Hai Line, Ltd., China Shipping Container Lines Co., Ltd.

It is noted that other foreign shipping lines such as APL Company PTE., Ltd., "K" Line, Hapag Lloyd, MCCTransport, Maersk Line, and MOL did not impose Emergency Cost Recovery Surcharge (ECRS).

This development is one of the agreements during the consultation conducted by DTI Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba and LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez last 30 April 2015 in support to the call of Senator Bam Aquino to shipping lines to bring down the logistics cost to pre-port congestion rates since the port is now at the normal level.

This gives exporters and importers choices on which shipping lines to use in order to reduce their cost of shipping.

Bureau of Customs readies Electronic Certificate of Origin

June 15, 2015

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) will implement the Electronic Certificate of Origin (E-CO) as part of the Philippine commitment to the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) E-CO implementation in June 2015.

The E-CO is the online application for COs by exporters. This includes electronic submission of documentary requirements such as export declaration, commercial invoice, airway bill/ bill of lading and export permits as well as electronic payment of documentary stamp tax (DST). Once all pertinent documents have been submitted to BOC thru the value added service provider (VASP) and the DST has been paid, an email notification shall be received by the exporter. The approved CO needs to be printed and must be signed by the Customs officer. Although the pilot implementation is limited to ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) Form D, the system developed is ready for other preferential and non-preferential CO.

The E-CO aims to reduce processing time and costs. It will also establish a maintained database of export products that may be tagged qualified for other Free Trade Area Rules of Origin.

The target date for the E-CO pilot implementation is in July 2015. Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and Port of Cebu voiced their willingness to join the pilot implementation. Other exporters also expressed their interest in joining the pilot implementation of E-CO during the forum conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry- Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB).

The Export Development Council (EDC) supports the E-CO as it is one of its advocacies in streamlining and facilitating import and export procedures to reduce the high costs of doing business, turnaround time, and signatures as well as optimize the use of information technology.

European group submits policy recommendations for PH competitiveness

June 15, 2015

The European-Philippines Business Network (EPBN) submits the policy recommendations for Philippine competitiveness to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and other government agencies. The European group identified crucial legislative and operational changes that the Philippine government should implement to have a more competitive environment for foreign businesses. The advocacy papers aimed at facilitating market access and ensuring a level playing field in the country, some of their recommendations include the passage of bills on fair competition law, rationalization of fiscal incentives, customs modernization and anti-smuggling, agriculture production growth and renewable energy. The main objective of this partnership is to help increase and improve PH market access in international trade.

The Export Development Council supports trade related recommendations that will raise Philippine competitiveness, lead to greater technology exchange for innovation to attain increase in Philippine exports.

  (From left) Project Director, EPBN Henry Schumacher welcomed the high-level representatives from the private and public sectors Arsenio Balisacan of NEDA, Rogelio Singson of DPWH and Gregory Domingo of DTI

SMEs share financing experiences in TV documentary

June 15, 2015

The TV show “On the Money” now focuses on stories of individuals and small businesses who have succeeded through financing assistance. It also features those who have blundered so that ordinary people and SMEs can learn from these experiences.

The TV show has been reformatted this way by the collaboration of the Credit Information Corporation (CIC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).

CIC head Jaime Garchitorena believes that the “Philippines can benefit from this show as there is great need for financial literacy in the country”.

“On the Money” airs every Wednesday at 6:30 pm and replayed at 11:30 pm, and 3:30 pm of the next day.

Philexport urges vigilance among exporters amidst flat export performance

June 15, 2015

Mr. Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr, President of PHILEXPORT, speaking before the Regional Seminar on the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2014-2016 urged exporters and other stakeholders “to remain vigilant to make sure we build up on whatever strengths we have, individually and as an industry”. This he said amidst breaking the news that the export performance in the first quarter is flat.

Ortiz-Luis said that NEDA has noted that the contractions in sales of agro-based products, manufactures, and petroleum products in February slightly outweighed the year-on-year gains in exports of electronic products, garments, and chemicals.

He also cited several challenges that threaten the sector in meeting its target, among them are natural hazards which unfortunately are part of our topography and the looming phase-out of 15-year old trucks that threaten to raise trucking fees far greater than the port congestion levels. .

Ortiz-Luis believes that “banking on the strengths that are unique to us, we remain confident that we can hold against our own counterpart elsewhere.” He assured the export community that PHILEXPORT will remain their active partner in developing a better Philippines and re-committed to be the champion for MSMEs and the export industry in helping achieve a resilient, inclusive and sustainable economy now and in the future.

Sen. Bam Aquino enjoins truckers, shipping lines to lower fees

May 04, 2015

Sen. Bam Aquino called for a senate inquiry about shipping and trucking fees. He said that the only issue left after the port congestion is the logistics cost that includes high shipping and trucking charges. Therefore, there is a need to get back the pre-port congestion level rates since the port is now at normal level.

During the meeting, it was reported by port operators that the port congestion has gone down from 97 percent to 60 percent, and it is now operating efficiently. There are no vessels queuing at berth and truckers are in just-in- time mode.

Senator Aquino asked the truckers associations and the shipping lines to bring down the logistic costs to pre-port congestion rates. The shipping lines are committed to eliminate some charges while truckers already decreased their rates by 10 percent.

The Senator also urged Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFB) Chairman Winston Ginez to meet with the truckers and shipping lines on Thursday April 30, 2015 to discuss and iron out the remaining complaints, including the high logistics costs that are affecting the cost of basic commodities.

Furthermore, Chairman Winston Ginez warned to look into cancelling franchises of the truckers if they do not bring down their logistics costs. Undersecretary Dimagiba warned that DTI may file charges if they will not decrease their fees.

DTI supports the extension of RO-RO policy to Chassis RO-RO Service

May 04, 2015

DTI Sec. Gregory L. Domingo endorses the proposed Executive Order expanding the coverage of E.O. No. 170 to include Chasis-Roro (CHA-RO) in the RO-RO service. The CHA-RO is a mode of RO-RO shipping where the container is mounted on a chassis and loaded on and off the cargo belly of the RO-RO ships by a prime mover or tractor. Unlike in the purely RO-RO mode, the container-mounted chassis is disengaged from the prime mover which is left at the port of origin. At the port of discharge, the container-mounted chassis is then engaged with and picked up by another prime mover from the cargo belly of the vessel.

The proposed E.O. will lower transport cost by at least 15-20% mainly because the prime mover, an expensive equipment, is not required to travel with the chassis-mounted container onto/from the RO-RO ships. This will also support and complement the establishment of the ASEAN RO-RO project network and address issues related to the movement of natural persons (i., e. the driver), CIQS, and technical operations. Thus, it will support and promote the competitiveness of the export sector.

The implementation of CHARO to the RORO service is the realization of one of the strategies identified in the Philippine Export Development Plan 2014-2016 to “improve the efficiency of infrastructure services particularly energy, logistics, transportation and communication through continuous regulatory reforms”. This will help reduce cost of shipping and thereby increase the logistics competitiveness.

PEZA locators to use E2M filing of transhipment entries

May 04, 2015

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) issued Joint Memorandum Order 1-2015 requiring all PEZA locators importing goods to file transhipment entries electronically through the E2M system. PEZA locators must enrol with the PEZA through the Value-added service providers (VASPs) to qualify for the usage of PEZA electronic Import Permit System ( e-IPS) for the tax and duty-free importation of foreign goods necessary for its PEZA-registered activity.

Various documentary requirements such as telegram, boatnote and Customs-EPZA Warehousing Entry (CEWE) are no longer required to be submitted upon filing of transhipment entry. Moreover, underguarding of goods from BOC to PEZA warehouse shall no longer be needed since the PEZA locator shall be required to post a General Transportation Surety Bond at each port of discharge where the shipments arrive. Although electronic filing shall be strictly implemented on 4 May 2015, manual filing shall still be allowed only upon certification of the BOC Deputy Commissioner for Management Information System and Technical Group (MISTG) that the E2M system is down for more than two (2) hours.

PEZA shall provide ample space and facilities for the joint use of PEZA and BOC to implement the JMO.

Private sector pushes for the Philippine Multi-Modal Logistics Industry Roadmap

May 04, 2015

The private sector is pushing for the Philippine Multi-modal Transportation and Logistics Industry Roadmap, which will aim to integrate multi-modal transport system in the country. Seamless logistics system is identified as one of the key elements in achieving inclusive growth and poverty reduction in the country.

The draft roadmap identified three phases in order to achieve its goals. Phase 1 (2015-2016) is for capacity building which involves the formulation of soft infrastructure, as well as the refining and concretizing the existing policies essential for a solid logistics system. Phase II (2017-2022) is for capacity extension and efficiency enhancement which involves the material implementation of policies, and the adaptation of efficiency measures. Lastly, Phase III (2023-2030) is for the Integrated Multi-Modal Logistics which involves the creation of information and physical linkages with regional and global system.

In a forum spearheaded by the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA), it was agreed that the final roadmap will be advocated to the concerned government agencies such as National Economic Development Authority, Department of Transportation and Communication, Department of Trade and Industry, among others for proper action.

This initiative implements Strategy 3 of the Philippine Export Development Plan 2014-2016 which is to “improve the efficiency of infrastructure services particularly energy, logistics, transportation and communication, through continuous regulatory reforms”. This roadmap will help facilitate movement of goods and services thereby bringing down the cost of shipping.

This recommendation is strengthened by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and National Competitiveness Council (NCC) to have a balanced regulatory reforms and infrastructure expansion. Further, a strong and comprehensive national multimodal transport logistics development plan is needed to take full advantage of its economic growth and enhance its position as a transport hub in the region.

Exporters/Stakeholders invited to the Regional Seminars on PEDP 2014-2016

May 04, 2015

The Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) and the Export Development Council (EDC) will hold a series of Regional Seminars to implement the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2014-2016 in Pampanga, Cebu, Davao, NCR and Bicol on the following schedules:


The seminars aim to inform and promote the strategies set under the plan of transforming the Philippines into a strong, competitive and innovative exporting nation and making exports a primary platform to achieve inclusive growth.

Essential to the implementation of strategies in the PEDP is the cooperation among exporters, business support organizations (BSO) and government agencies to help increase Philippine exports. Hence, the DTI and EDC is inviting exporters, BSOs and relevant government agencies to attend the above seminar. Confirmations may be made through this email or the nearest DTI Regional Offices and Philexport Chapters in the abovementioned regions.

Customs releases Regulated Imports List

April 10, 2015

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) recently released the Regulated Imports List (RIL) which consolidates more than 7,000 imported commodities needing import permits or licenses from regulatory agencies. It provides not only the requirements but also the timeline and processing fees in obtaining the said import permits/licenses. It will benefit importers who are not familiar with the import processes of regulated products.

The RIL is available in three versions: by specific product, by category, and by regulating agency, at the BOC website (http://repository.gov.ph/customs/). Effective April 20, 2015, BOC will strictly require import permits/licenses for products listed in the RIL.

BOC Commissioner John Philip Sevilla provided a walk-through of the RIL and its User’s Guidelines during the dialogue session of the National Competitiveness Council. He clarified that commodities arriving in the Philippines without import permit/license may still be allowed entry, provided permits/licenses are issued within 30 days after arrival, otherwise they will be seized.

EDC calls on truckers to restore rates

April 10, 2015

The Export Development Council (EDC) issued Resolution No. 2, series of 2015, urging Truckers and Truckers Associations to restore the trucking rates and charges to the pre-port congestion level since the Manila port operations have normalized and fuel prices have gone down in recent months.

The EDC is concerned that despite the improvements in the ports, exporters continue to be burdened with high cost of trucking charges. This contributes to the increase in prices of both export and domestic goods thereby diminishing the competitiveness of Philippine products.

The EDC will continue to advocate policy reforms to help exporters boost their export competitiveness with competitive cost and reliable transport logistics being central to trade.

DTI to promote export Halal certified products

April 10, 2015

With the growing demand for Halal certified products of the estimated 2.04 Billion Muslims population in the world, with 1.36 Billion estimated population in Asia in 2013, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is eyeing the opportunity to promote export products that are certified by the Halal Certifiers. These Certifiers have to be internationally recognized for products to be accepted.

Currently, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) has accredited the following Halal Certifiers:

1. Halal International Chamber of Commerce and Industries of the Philippines, Inc. (HICCP)
Unit 701 Jafer Place, Eisenhower St., Greenhills, San Juan City (Recognizing Country/ ies: Singapore and Thailand)

2. Mindanao Halal Authority (MINHA)
3/F Dinopol Bldg., Osmeña St., General Santos City Recognizing Country/ies: Singapore, Thailand)

3. Muslim Mindanao Halal Certification Board, Inc. (MMHCB).
No. 2 Abdul Kadil Daod Apartment, Campo Muslim Drive, Cotabato City (Recognizing Country/ies: Singapore and Thailand)

Another Halal Certifier, one of the most active, is The Islamic Dawah’ Council of the Philippines (IDCP) which is a recognized Halal Certifier in the Philippines by the World Halal Council (WHC) based in Malaysia, has already certified hundreds of companies.

Halal is a way of life for Muslims rather than a religious constraint. Non-Muslim firms in other countries are exerting efforts in expanding their Muslim-friendly offerings to catch the increasing demand for Halal products. In 2030, the global Halal market is projected to be a US$10 Trillion Industry making Muslims one of the fastest growing consumer segments in the world.

GI to maximize EU-GSP+ benefits

April 10, 2015

Through the use of Geographical Indications (GI), the Philippines has potential to double its export value to Europe. GI is a distinctive mark and a type of Intellectual Property Right used to identify a product where quality is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

Some of the potential GI products in the Philippines are Davao Pomelo, Bicol Pili Nut, Aklan Piña Cloth, Guimaras Mango and Kalinga Coffee. During the GI and EU-GSP+ forum organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Inc. (PCCI) and European Union (EU) Delegation last 11 March 2015, the latter urged the participants to support the effort of the Intellectual Property Office of Philippines (IPOPHIL) in crafting the GI Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR).

GI products are protected internationally under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement which is administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO). TRIPS Agreement sets the minimum product standards in order to avoid misleading the public and prevent unfair competition.

Mr. Stephane Passeri, Project Coordinator for the Food and Agriculture Organization who is tasked to develop GI usage in Asia shared that neighboring Asian countries currently have GI Registrations. These are Thailand which currently has 64, Indonesia has 26, Malaysia has 35, Vietnam has 41 and Cambodia has 2 including the Kampot Pepper.

DOST, local industries join hands in preparing for AEC 2015

March 10, 2015

Innovation is a key ingredient to survive in the increasing competitiveness in the ASEAN Economic Community 2015. Thus, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) has identified the research and development needs of several industries and embarked on a technology matching forum held last 26 February 2015 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila.

Partnerships were initiated to identify innovative technology solutions which can be developed, outsourced, centralized or handled by ITDI and business units; which business processes need to be improved or streamlined, and how ITDI and industry alliances should be restructured to bring PH products and services to the market faster. Technical assistance are given in the fields of chemicals and energy, environment and biotechnology, food processing, materials science, packaging technology, metrology (calibration of measuring instruments), standards & testing and technological services.

Exporters and business support organizations are encouraged to partner with ITDI for their technology upgrade needs. Individual companies availing of the ITDI services will have to share the cost of technology development. However, if the technology will be designed for specific industries, ITDI may take on the cost of development.

ITDI is at the DOST Compound, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City, with tel. no. 837-2071 local 2184/2268. More information is available at http://www.itdi.dost.gov.ph.

PHILEXPORT urges government to increase budget in science and technology

March 10, 2015

PHILEXPORT President Mr. Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr. recommended that in order for the country to sustain economic growth, there is need for the government to increase its budget on science and technology. This will reinforce the country’s technological innovation, research and development capabilities.

Ortiz-Luis also stressed the need to push more students to take up engineering and S & T based courses. He also expressed his support to the establishment of S & T centers of excellence that will promote competitiveness and dynamism of sectors like food, agriculture, forestry, energy and the MSME sector as the country continues to prepare for the AEC integration.

These recommendations were presented during the DOST Technology Matching Forum last 26 February 2015 at the Sofitel Hotel, Manila.

Stuffing requirements for exports repealed

February 26, 2015

There is no more need for an Inspector to be present during stuffing and sealing of containers for export. In addition, Notice of Stuffing is no longer required to be submitted to Customs Container Control Division (CCCD). This policy is issued by Commissioner John P. Sevilla through Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 4-2015 dated 21 January 2015. The CMO repealed Sec. 16 B. 1.1 of the Revised Customs Port Operations Manual.

In a meeting conducted by the Export Marketing Bureau and the Export Development Council, Commissioner Sevilla saw the need to repeal the requirement of the CCCD of the Manila International Container Port (MICP) since it entails additional documents, procedure, and costs causing delays and missed export deadlines and commitments.

Commissioner Sevilla wanted to be liberal with Philippine exports. However, he instructed CCCD to install a risk management system for the random inspection of stuffing to avert the illegal exportation of regulated and prohibited products.

CMO 4-2015 can be downloaded here

Empty containers allowed in ports only for 90 days

February 26, 2015

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) shortened the number of days for the re-export of empty containers in ports from 150 days to 90 days. Starting May 1, 2015, empty containers shall be re-exported within 90 days from the date of last discharge per Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 01-2015. In case of containers stuffed with imported goods, they shall be re-exported within 90 days after the return to the shipping lines as evidenced by the Equipment Interchange Receipt. Otherwise, failure to re-export said containers within 90 days shall be treated as imported and subjected to payment of duties and taxes.

The CAO exempts containers arriving as empty from January 30 until April 30, 2015 from any charges if they are re-exported by July 29, 2015.

The CAO is one of the agreements made during the Cabinet Cluster meeting on Port Decongestion to eliminate overstaying empty containers inside Manila Ports.

DTI and Senate strengthen support to SMEs

February 26, 2015

“We recognize how important SMEs are that is why we came up with programs like Shared Services Facilities (SSF),SME Roving Academy (SMERA), and Doing Business in Free Trade Areas (DBFTA),” Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said during the recent National Export Congress held at the PICC, Pasay City

DTI has been actively supporting the improvement of capabilities of the country’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to increase their participation in global trade. DTI has long been working on measures to remove trade barriers for SMEs in marketing their products to foreign markets. This is in order for them to expand and strengthen their integration in the global value chains along with multinational corporations.

Domingo assured that SMEs will be at the center of the agenda in the coming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in 2015. “We feel that SME agenda is very important. We are pushing to simplify the trade rules to make SME benefit in global trade. That means simplifying application forms and customs procedures,” Domingo said.

On the other hand, Senator Bam Aquino quipped, “Our SMEs need to develop themselves further, not just for the larger market outside but also for the largely untapped market here in our country. A lot of our SMEs with the right design intervention, with the right financing, with the right capacity building, can produce products which our country will patronize and which can compete with the rest of the world.

Exporters joining Trade Fairs continue to enjoy travel tax exemption

February 26, 2015

Ninety five percent (95%) of travel tax exemptions (TTE) issued to exporters for 2014 is for their participation in trade fairs & exhibitions. The Export Development Council (EDC) endorsed 982 TTEs to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) which issues the exemption certificates. The rest are for participation in outbound business matching, seminars and conferences.

For the past eight (8) years, the EDC and TIEZA continuously support Filipino exporters through Executive Order (EO) 589. Said EO exempts exporters joining international trade fairs, exhibitions, selling missions, conferences, seminars and other promotion activities, from paying the travel tax of Php 1,620 for economy class and Php 2,700 for business class.

Exporters are encouraged to avail of this government support. The application form can be downloaded at http://edc.net.ph/downloads/TTEform.pdf

For other information, exporters may call the EDC secretariat at telephone numbers 890.4645 and 465.3329.

Exporters invited to the National Export Congress 2014

November 12, 2014

Direct and indirect exporters, SMEs, academe, and government agencies as well as international organizations are invited to the National Export Congress 2014 on December 5, 2014, 8AM to 4PM, at the Reception Hall, Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

The Congress is the highlight of the National Exporters' Week on December 1-7, 2014. This year's theme is "Integrating SMEs to Global Value Chains" The event aims to inspire exporters, specifically direct and indirect SME exporters to participate in the global value chains offered by the ASEAN Economic Integration and other regional cooperations and free trade agreements. It will also harness individual strengths of firms, share best practices, and synchronize policy reforms that can enhance SMEs' ability to gain greater participation in the global production network.

Several activities in NCR include the Exporter's Bazaar at the DTI International building, and Usapang Exports' series of seminars. For more details please visit this link Exporters Week 2014

Also, Regional Offices of the DTI, PHILEXPORT and some universities will also celebrate, and are encouraged to conduct activities in line with this year's theme.

Exporters’ “seagrass” not prohibited under FAO No. 250

November 12, 2014

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) clarified that the seagrass being used for handicrafts being exported is not the subject of the FAO No. 250. Said order prohibits the collection, harvesting, gathering, selling, and/or exporting of Brown Algae (Sargassum spp.), and Seagrass. Both agencies identified the samples and description presented by the Export Development Council, Export Marketing Bureau, and exporters as Rhynchospora corymbosa (Common name: Matamat, Golden Beaksedge),Actinoscirpu grossus (Common name: Giant bulrush, Greater club-rush), and Typhaorientalis (Common name: Bullrush, Lampakanay) as not banned for export.

The BFAR & NFRDI letters can be read at click here

PCCI resolutions to benefit exporters

November 12, 2014

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) submitted to President Aquino, eight (8) resolutions that will help sustain the country’s growth and competitiveness.

Four of these resolutions such as energy, education, port congestion, and agriculture will help improve the competitiveness of Filipino exporters.

On energy and power, PCCI urges the National Government to formulate an integrated and sustainable energy and power development roadmap with a clear, definite target level of power supply capacity and rate; doable and time-bound strategies to achieve the desired goal; and premised on the goal to revitalize manufacturing, attract more quality foreign investments and achieve sustainable and inclusive growth.

On Education and Human Resource Development, the business community and government should support the implementation of the Philippine Qualification Framework (PQF) and the ASEAN Qualifications Framework for global competitiveness.

On Port Congestion, focus all future port developments in Subic and Batangas.

On Agriculture, urge the National government to hasten the Agri-mechanization and modernization to be at par with other ASEAN countries.

In all of these endeavours, the business chambers, associations and enterprises are urged to enter into partnerships with government to hasten economic and inclusive growth in the country.

PBC urges government to prepare SMES for ASEAN integration

November 12, 2014

In the recently concluded 40th Philippine Business Conference (PBC), the government was urged to draw strategies and programs that will promote and support the integration of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the global and regional value chains. They also urged both the government & private sector to come up with a clear program on the promotion and security of Philippine brands; and to improve the physical connectivity of Mindanao to BIMP-EAGA and the rest of the ASEAN.

On the other hand, the business community was encouraged under the Proudly Philippine Made banner, to work with the government in providing SMEs with access to technology, common service facilities, financing and other support to infuse not only a competitiveness mind-set among them but to provide them with sustenance to help them find more niches for their further participation in the value and supply chains and their participation in the ASEAN Integration in 2015.

Bitung Port authorizes entry of goods

October 07, 2014

The Indonesian Ministry of Trade authorized the entry of food and beverages; electronics and garments to Bitung Port. These products used to be in the negative list of imports into Indonesia. Bitung Port is part of the ASEAN connectivity to promote investments, tourism and trade relations between the Philippines and Indonesia, another cooperation under the ASEAN Economic Community 2015. This information is relayed recently by the Philippine Consulate General in Manado City.

Exporters of the said sectors may take this opportunity to explore new business partners in Indonesia.

Steam activated carbon not hazardous, hence a regular cargo

October 07, 2014

The Export Development Council conducted an industry briefing on activated carbon last September 16, 2014 to address the existing restriction and prohibition to load “Steam Activated Carbon” in most shipping and feeder vessels since it is alleged to be inflammable and therefore considered as hazardous material. Shipping cost of hazardous materials is 30% higher than regular cargoes.

Mr. Bonifacio Fernandez, a representative from the activated carbon industry said that “Steam Activated Carbon” is a porous carbonaceous substance manufactured by means of heating granulated charcoal about at 1000°C with the presence of steam inside a rotary kiln. This process makes the steam activated carbon incombustible.

Now that the shipping lines are aware of the qualities of steam activated carbon, Mr. Fernandez suggests that the shipping lines should ensure that there will be no misdeclaration of goods making sure that the cargo is not raw nor granulated charcoal.

Atty. Max Cruz of the Association of International Shipping Lines, Inc. invited Mr. Fernandez to discuss the issue during their board meeting on November 5, 2014, to brief other shipping line representatives.

WTC to host conference on Markets of the World: ASEAN and ASEAN-AFTA

October 07, 2014

The World Trade Center is hosting again the Markets of the World Conference on October 14, 2014 at Function Rooms 1 and 2 of the World Trade Center Metro Manila. The conference will feature the ASEAN and ASEAN-FTA partner countries and the Philippines’ key partners in Middle East.

This event will be beneficial to exporters in preparation for the ASEAN Integration in 2015. Exporters and the business community are invited to attend the said conference.

For more information, please call Ms. Mary Grace “GI” De Guzman of the World Trade Center Metro Manila at telephone no. 902-0000 ext. 213 or email mideguzman@wtcmanila.com.ph.

DTI Keen on boosting the manufacturing sector

October 07, 2014

The recently concluded Philippine Economic Briefing highlighted the government’s goal of sustainability through the following: (1) infrastructure investments; (2) development plan for small & medium enterprises (SMEs) and the manufacturing sector; and (3) priority bills and additional reform agenda for the next two years.

Trade and Industry Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal said that the government is keen on helping further boost the manufacturing sector of the country, which accounted for 2.3 million jobs as of last year or up by 1.5% from the previous year. He also reported that the average growth of the manufacturing sector accelerated from 2.4% in 2005-2009 to 7.9% in 2010-2013. This growth accelerated further in the first half of 2014 to 8.8%.

Cristobal said that with the continuation of government finance programs and technical assistance, the manufacturing sector is expected to generate more jobs in the near future.

Manila lifts truck ban indefinitely

October 07, 2014

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has lifted the truck ban in the city indefinitely to help ease congestion in the ports effective September 13, 2014.

Estrada issued Executive Order 67, ordering the immediate lifting of the truck ban in the city to give way to the efforts of the national government to address port congestion. The EO further instructed all departments and offices in the City of Manila, including the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau, the Manila Police District and the Department of Engineering and Public Works to extend full support and assistance to concerned national government offices and agencies.

The Cabinet Cluster on Port Congestion estimates that by the end of September, utilization of the Ports of Manila has lowered to 85%.

Palace approves lower port fees in Batangas to decongest Manila ports

September 08, 2014

The Office of the President has approved the reduction of port charges and other vessel-handling related services such as Dockage-at-berth fees at the Port of Batangas. This move aims to attract more shipping lines and port users to utilize the Batangas International Port as well as to decongestion Manila Port.

Shipping lines calling at Batangas International Port can enjoy a 90% discount on Port Dues from the existing fee of $0.081 per gross revenue ton (GRT) per day to only $0.0081 per GRT per day as well as a 90% cut in Dockage-at-berth from $0.039 per GRT to only $0.039 per GRT per day. The new rate is applicable for six months. The discount for the succeeding six months will be reduced to 50% for both or from $0.081 GRT per day to $0.040 per GRT per day and from $0.039 per GRT to $0.020 per GRT per day.

Fair competition act enters the period of interpellation in the senate

September 08, 2014

Senator Bam Aquino, Chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, delivered his sponsorship speech for Senate Bill No. 2282 or the Fair Competition Act of 2014 as the bill entered the period of interpellation.

Sen. Aquino pointed out the many advantages of having a Competition Law which include the development of better products and services through innovation, increasing product efficiency and improving supply chain management as well providing more choices for consumers at competitive prices. He also mentioned that together with the recently passed GoNegosyo Law, the Competition Act will encourage more and more Filipinos to put up their own businesses which will in turn help drive inclusive growth.

In the House of Representative, the consolidated bill of all the various House bills regarding the Competition Act is still awaiting Committee Approval. The Export Development Council will continue its ardent support for the passage of this bill.

Industry-Academe partnership to strengthen human resource development

September 08, 2014

The recent 4th National Education Forum (NEF) led to a common understanding that a well-institutionalized industry-academe partnership can play a major role in improving the Philippines' greatest asset – human resources, therefore, helping advance PH global competitiveness.

2014 NEF Chair, Dr. Eduardo Ong stated that “responding to the global realities and domestic demands requires a balance between what is demanded by the labor market and what is being supplied by the education and training sector”. Globalization includes among others, freer and borderless movement of capital goods, services, technology, information and human resources between and among countries. Thus, the rapid change in information and communication technology directly impacts on the way work is being organized and executed.

He added that these are all happening now as the government made its move by reshaping the education system through the K to 12. This new educational system emphasizes academic, technical-vocational and entrepreneurial aptitude to create a versatile workforce for the industry and to ensure the continuous advancement of relevant knowledge and skills through a permanent industry-academe cooperation.

The Export Development Council Networking Committee on HRD collaborated with PCCI and the Philippine Council of Deans for Business Educators in organizing the 4th NEF.

Industry-Academe partnership to strengthen human resource development

September 08, 2014

The recent 4th National Education Forum (NEF) led to a common understanding that a well-institutionalized industry-academe partnership can play a major role in improving the Philippines' greatest asset – human resources, therefore, helping advance PH global competitiveness.

2014 NEF Chair, Dr. Eduardo Ong stated that “responding to the global realities and domestic demands requires a balance between what is demanded by the labor market and what is being supplied by the education and training sector”. Globalization includes among others, freer and borderless movement of capital goods, services, technology, information and human resources between and among countries. Thus, the rapid change in information and communication technology directly impacts on the way work is being organized and executed.

He added that these are all happening now as the government made its move by reshaping the education system through the K to 12. This new educational system emphasizes academic, technical-vocational and entrepreneurial aptitude to create a versatile workforce for the industry and to ensure the continuous advancement of relevant knowledge and skills through a permanent industry-academe cooperation.

The Export Development Council Networking Committee on HRD collaborated with PCCI and the Philippine Council of Deans for Business Educators in organizing the 4th NEF.

National Education Forum to Enhance HR Competitiveness

August 20, 2014

The Export Development Council Networking Committee on Human Resource Development in collaboration with PCCI Education Committee and the Philippine Council of Deans and Educators in Business (PCDEB) shall conduct the 4th National Education Forum (NEF) with the theme “Business Education: Responding to the Challenges of the Work Environment” on 29 August 2014 at the De La Salle University-College of Saint Benilde, Taft Campus, Taft Avenue, Manila.

This forum will be attended by leaders and professionals in the fields of education and business. It aims to enhance competitiveness by emphasizing academic, technical-vocational and entrepreneurial aptitude; ensure the continuous advancement of relevant knowledge and skills through a permanent industry-education cooperation, advocate apprenticeships for pre-recruitment training of students beginning at basic education and strengthen the role of the academe and the industry in developing labor-related policies that will contribute to the development of human resource.

PCCI urges exporters to use Sundays to decongest ports

August 20, 2014

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) recently encouraged exporters to release their shipments on Sundays in order to help decongest the ports in Manila. This is in response to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) which opens its operations on weekends from 8:00AM-5:00PM at the Port of Manila and the Manila International Container Port (MICP) beginning June 28, 2014.

This palliative measure will relieve pressures caused by the day-time truck ban in the City of Manila.

Malacanang backs up EDC’s advocacy on the simplification of the new accreditation policy of BIR and BOC

August 20, 2014

Executive Secretary Pacquito N. Ochoa, Jr., Office of the President, in a Memorandum sent to Department of Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, enjoined the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to consider not requiring personal appearance by the applicant in Manila for the importer/customs broker accreditation process under BIR Revenue Memorandum Order No. 10-2014. He further urged BIR to review the documentary requirements with a view to removing unnecessary documents from the list; since some documents such as income tax returns are already submitted to the same office. He also recommended postponing the deadline for compliance to a reasonable later date.

As of July 31, 2014, the BOC and BIR has not extended the deadline for the accreditation of customs brokers and importers despite the pleas and opposition from the stakeholders due to the added steps, delay and costs brought up by the new accreditation procedures.

The Malacañang move is the result of the advocacies of PHILEXPORT Cebu, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Export Development Council (EDC), as well as the meeting among EDC, BIR and BOC regarding the two-stage vetting accreditation.

EDC opposes the draft DENR Administrative Order on the Exportation of Forest Products and Forest-Based Products

August 20, 2014

The Export Development Council (EDC) recently stated its opposition on the draft Administrative Order of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with subject “Revised Rules and regulations Governing the Exportation of Forest Products and Forest-Based Products.

EDC highlighted its concern regarding the undue power given to the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) which makes it difficult to monitor and to control/prevent “hidden costs”; as well as the collection of arbitrary processing and oath fees, requiring original documents and open-ended requirements contradicts the objective of transparency and simplification.

Amending DAO 99-46 entitled “Revised Regulations Governing the Entry and Disposition of Imported Logs, Lumber, Veneer, Plywood, Other Wood Based Panels, Poles and Piles, Pulpwood and Wood Chips” was reiterated by EDC to DENR, as a more strategic and timely solution in order for the furniture and wood manufacturers sector attain its potential to be the top exporting industry in our country.

EDC opposes the draft DENR Administrative Order on the Exportation of Forest Products and Forest-Based Products

August 20, 2014

The Export Development Council (EDC) recently stated its opposition on the draft Administrative Order of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with subject “Revised Rules and regulations Governing the Exportation of Forest Products and Forest-Based Products.

EDC highlighted its concern regarding the undue power given to the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) which makes it difficult to monitor and to control/prevent “hidden costs”; as well as the collection of arbitrary processing and oath fees, requiring original documents and open-ended requirements contradicts the objective of transparency and simplification.

Amending DAO 99-46 entitled “Revised Regulations Governing the Entry and Disposition of Imported Logs, Lumber, Veneer, Plywood, Other Wood Based Panels, Poles and Piles, Pulpwood and Wood Chips” was reiterated by EDC to DENR, as a more strategic and timely solution in order for the furniture and wood manufacturers sector attain its potential to be the top exporting industry in our country.

LTFRB implements “No Apprehension Policy” to all trucks for hire

July 10, 2014

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will observe a nation wide “No Apprehension Policy” of Trucks-for-Hire with green plates. This policy was issued under the Joint Administration No. 2014-01 for a period of one (1)month from June 28, 2014- July 28, 2014 to give adequate time for trucks-for-hire to apply for their franchise and provisional authority (PA).

To fast track the application of Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) filed in the Central Office, the LTFRB, in cooperation with the Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines offers a free pick-up of application and delivery of PA to applicants.

Further clarifications may be obtained from the LTFRB 24/7 hotline 459-2129

EDC requests AISL to extend “Container Free Time Period”

July 10, 2014

The Export Development Council is requesting the Association of International Shipping Lines, Inc. (AISL) to extend the free time period in returning empty containers in view of the existing port and road traffic congestion for a period of two(2) months.

In a letter dated June 20, 2014 to AISL, EDC cited that the severe congestion along the port and container yards has prolonged the process of returning empty containers causing exporters to go beyond the free time allotted by the shipping lines. The congestion in the port resulted to unforeseen negative effects such as additional detention or demurrage fees to the transport and logistics chain of exporters.

The request will temporarily waive fees on detention/demurrage fees, which is unduly charged to exporters, for the next two (2) months until the situation in the port normalizes.

DTI proposes a PH National Trade Repository

July 10, 2014

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), as chair of the Committee for the ASEAN Economic Cooperation (CAEC), has proposed the creation of a Philippine National Trade Repository (PNTR) which will serve as a single source or website containing comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date information on all trade related matters. The PNTR will be an important component of the government’s trade facilitation strategy. The PNTR will provide businesses easier access to information and facilitate compliance with prescribed regulations. This was announced by Atty. Sherwin Prose Castañeda, Assistant Director of the DTI Bureau of Import Services (BIS) during the June 2014 CAEC Meeting.

Under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), the PNTR will connect and interoperate with the national trade repositories of ASEAN member states to create the ASEAN Trade Repository (ATR). Once established, the PNTR should create a more transparent environment for trading and help reduce the amount of transaction time and costs. DTI-BIS will be the lead agency in the PH, while all other government agencies will collaborate in supplying information required in the system.

Accreditation of Brokers and Importers Extended!

July 10, 2014

The Department of Finance (DOF) issued Department Order No. 046-2014 extending the application period of importers and customs broker for accreditation with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) & Bureau of Customs (BOC) until 31 July 2014.

The extension has been granted following complaints of applicants about the delay in the processing and approval of BIR due to sheer volume of applicants.

Failure to file the application with the BIR and BOC within the extended date will automatically cancel the existing accreditation.

EDC also continues to advocate for the decentralization of receipt of applications to reduce the costs of transportation, accommodation, etc. of importers and brokers outside Metro Manila.


EDC Cautions Customs on the proposed load port survey

June 13, 2014

In a position paper submitted to Department of Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, the Export Development Council (EDC) strongly recommends the amendment of the proposed Customs Administrative Order (CAO) on Load Port Survey (LPS) requirement and advanced import clearance system for bulk, break-bulk, containerized and other non-containerized cargoes. It further recommends to make the LPS voluntary if the importer wants to be exempted from physical and x-ray inspection at the time of arrival of importation.

The legality of issuing a CAO was also raised in the said position paper stating that a mere CAO cannot amend the provisions of an existing Administrative Order which is issued by the President of the Philippines. Further, the Commissioner will exceed his delegated authority by issuing regulation which requires Destination Inspection (DI) by the Accredited Cargo Surveying (ACS) companies in certain cases, thereby limiting the powers of customs officers to examine and assess imported articles under the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP).

EDC cites that the restrictive measure of the draft CAO may result to delays, higher costs, forgone business opportunities and reduced competitiveness.

EDC supports the proposed revised rates on CY/CFS

June 13, 2014

The EDC has manifested its support on the proposed Bureau of Customs (BOC) Memorandum Order on revised rates of Off-Dock Container Yard/Container Freight Stations (CY/CFS). The said CMO will amend CMO 24-2001, which prescribes rates charged by CY/CFS outside of customs zones.

In a position paper submitted to the BOC last May 23, 2014, the EDC expressed its strong recommendation to the BOC to exercise its authority per CAO 11-80 in order to promulgate uniform rates to be charged by CY/CFS and to ensure that logistics costs are viable and reasonable. EDC notes that the existing rates which are being charged by the Association of Off- Dock CY/CFS Operators of the Philippines (ACOP) violate CMO 24-2001.

The draft CMO will help Philippine exports become more competitive especially those coming from small and medium enterprises as well as aid in fulfilling the Philippines’ commitment to further improve its business environment through lowering the cost of doing business in the country.

VP Binay emphasizes need to invest in education and employee development

June 13, 2014

“Education and the development of employee welfare mechanism have plenty of room for development. In education, the business sector must work with schools and training institutions to align courses offered with the competencies required in the workplace”, said Vice President Binay during the 35th National Conference of Employers.

The VP emphasized that productivity of enterprise is a responsibility shared by all sectors, citing worker motivation as a vital ingredient for achieving desired outputs in the workplace. He added that employers need to implement strategic human resource initiatives to effectively motivate employees. Further, he also emphasized the need to continuously work with government and learning institutions to harmonize education agenda with the needs of the industry.

In conclusion, he urged employers and the business community to invest more on education and employee development.

EDC and NCC support institutionalizing the National School Feeding Program

June 13, 2014

The Export Development Council and National Competitiveness Council- Education and Human Resource Development Technical Working Group (EDC/NCC-EHRD TWG) is supporting the Substitute House Bill for National School Feeding Program.

The bill “An Act Institutionalizing the National School Feeding Program for Public Kindergarten and Elementary Pupils and Appropriating Funds Thereof” calls for the State to promote the rights of children to survival, development and special protection with full recognition on the nature of childhood and its special needs.

The bill aims to ensure that adequate health and nutrition programs are accessible to school children throughout their early childhood years; achieve improved attendance and survival rates in public kindergarten and elementary schools; enhance the physical, social, cognitive, psychological and language development of young children; mitigate nourishment among school children; and to establish an efficient system for early identification, prevention, referral and intervention of developmental disorders and disabilities in early childhood.

In general, the bill ensures the country’s future, specifically in enhancing human resource competitiveness that includes competitiveness of Philippine exports by integrating the industry and education sectors to match the skills and knowledge of the workforce with the needs of businesses. This means sustainability of talents and improvement of the country’s competitiveness in all aspects. The bill does not only ensure a healthy mind and body, but a healthy and robust economy of the country in the future.

Manila Mayor grants an 8-day moratorium on truck ban

May 14, 2014

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada signed an eight-day moratorium on the truck ban starting May 13, 2014 until May 20, 2014.

The moratorium resulted from a formal request made by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio L. Singson last May 9 asking Estrada for the temporary suspension of the controversial truck ban in line with the 2014 World Economic Forum on East Asia. The forum will gather international experts on business, government, politics, and civil leaders in the ASEAN region. According to Sec. Singson, the moratorium on truck ban is intended to clear the huge back log of containers due to long queuing of 6-7 vessels at any given time.

The said moratorium will provide all stakeholders opportunity to assess and evaluate the most efficient truck operating hours and to mitigate traffic congestion in the City of Manila.

For more details, Executive Order No. 49 can be downloaded at www.edc.net.ph

EDC recommends simplification of the new accreditation policy of BIR and BOC

May 14, 2014

The Export Development Council (EDC) recommended to the Department of Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima to revisit the new accreditation policy providing a two-stage vetting accreditation of importers and customs brokers with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). This is in response to the issues and concerns identified by EDC affecting exporters who import raw materials and other inputs to their export products. Without such accreditation, they will not be able to transact with the BOC.

The recommendations highlighted the impact of BIR Revenue Memorandum Order No. 10-2014 and Customs Memorandum Order No. 04-2014 specifically on the inconsistent provisions on the documentary requirements, processing time, accrediting offices, records-keeping and transitory provisions. EDC further recommended to harmonize and simplify the requirements in these issuances for trade facilitation.

Exporters/Stakeholders consulted for PEDP 2014-2016 Regional Consultation Workshops

May 14, 2014

Essential to the development and crafting of the Philippine Export Development Plan 2014-2016 is the consultation among exporters, business support organizations, and government agency partners. Hence, the recently concluded PEDP 2014-2016 Regional Consultation Workshops held in Davao, NCR and Cebu validated the export status, targets and strategies laid down for PEDP 2014-2016

The Consultation Workshops were organized by the Department of Trade and Industry in cooperation with the EU-TRTA Project 3, the Export Development Council and the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc.

The PEDP is one of the most important elements of the International Trade Strategy. The plan, when approved by the President, will be jointly implemented by the government, exporters and other concerned sectors.

PH MSMEs urged to seize opportunities in AEC 2015 to accelerate PH advantage

May 14, 2014

Former NEDA Secretary, now USAID Chief of Party, Dr. Cielito F. Habito urges PH MSMEs to seize opportunities to accelerate PH advantage in ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2015 and other trade agreements. He stated that despite the challenges posed by the AEC, it also opens more opportunities for less developed members. Unbalanced gains were foreseen as big businesses are better positioned than MSMEs to reap gains, hence small businesses require deliberate support and assistance.

Dr. Habito mentioned that value chains which are largely intra-industry in nature will cross national boundaries and complement PH products, hence resulting to lesser competition. He also encouraged MSMEs to enhance efficiency via supply chain design & strategic location of various business functions. Dr. Habito added that greater efficiency can result from more technology sharing and can lower costs & prices for all. He urged MSMEs to deploy skilled labor strategically for maximum productivity and tap wider financing options from integrated regional capital markets.

Congress calls for amendment of IRR of Magna Carta for MSMEs

April 23, 2014

Congressman Rufus Rodriguez, in a privilege speech last 05 March 2014, calls for the amendment of the BSP Circular 625, the implementing rules and regulations of the Magna Carta for MSMEs, to align the sanctions on non-compliance to the mandatory allocation of loans. He also asked to clearly define “loan portfolio” and to restructure the monitoring system. He recommended for a review of the law by convening the Oversight Committee to validate varying claims on how the law is interpreted and implemented. These recommendations aim to provide better access of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to credit .

According to him, despite the numerous existing financing programs, MSMEs still find difficulty in accessing credit. While it is true that the opportunity for the poor to be productive can come from the MSME sector which is seen as the critical driver of the country’s economic growth, the sector’s performance remains constrained by high cost of doing business, lack of access to financing, lack of market information, low productivity and competitiveness.

As a result, the Congressional Oversight Committee will convene when Congress resumes in May 2014.

EDC Creates Public-Private TWG on Customs Modernization and Tariff Act

April 23, 2014

The Export Development Council led the organization of a dedicated Technical Working Group (TWG) that studies the bills on Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA). The TWG aims to ensure that the CMTA is consistent with the Revised Kyoto Convention and other international trade facilitation protocols.

The EDC TWG-CMTA acts as the primary technical group that shall consolidate and solidify the positions of various relevant agencies both from the public and private sectors such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT), Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), Makati Business Club (MBC), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Tariff Commission (TC), etc. This is in conjunction with the initiatives from the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines in innovating and updating Customs policies to make it more responsive to a modernized and automated environment.

DTI’s Export Trade Complaints Committee helps resolve export disputes

April 23, 2014

The Export Trade Complaints Committee (ETCC) of the DTI Export Management Bureau (EMB) helps resolve complaints arising from export trade-related transactions including but not limited to: non-payment of delivery, non-delivery of paid order, short shipment, cancelled L/C order, quality specifications deviations, and other nature of complaints.

The ETCC is chaired by EMB Director Senen M. Perlada and composed of representatives from EMB, DTI Office of Legal Affairs (OLA), Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT) and the Credit Information Bureau Inc. (CIBI). They are assisted by EMB personnel duly trained by the Makati Regional Trial Court and the Supreme Court of the Philippines, to mediate on export-related complaints. Complainants may file complaints to EMB Director Perlada, the nearest DTI regional / provincial office or Philippine Trade Post abroad.

For more information, the ETCC Secretariat may be contacted at tel. +63(2)465-3300 loc. 112 or email at: etcc_Secretariat@dti.gov.ph

DENR-FMB, DTI initiates Forum on Legal Timber Verification

April 23, 2014

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Forest Management Bureau (DENR-FMB) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are supporting initiatives of the Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines (CFIP) for the verification of legal timber to help Philippine producers comply with requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and other international trade legislation.

The EU Timber regulation is a binding legislation that the European Union has introduced to reduce illegal logging. This regulation is part of a 2003 initiative, called the EU Forest law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, which recognizes the role both producers and consumers play in curbing and stopping illegal timber harvesting in trade.

In the said Forum held last 26 March 2014, Mr. Raul Briz, Senior Forester Management Specialist said that the DENR-FMB is currently developing a clear structure of all documents required for legal verification that will provide the structure for the Timber Legality Assurance Scheme and setting up TLA procedures in compliance with EUTR.

At present, the Philippines is working towards a comprehensive approach for importers to conduct "Due Diligence" and a system that will continually improve transparency across the supply chain.

Mr. Nicolaas de Lange, CFIP National President emphasized that the EUTR will affect the furniture industry which employs 1.9 million direct and indirect workers in 2013. He further said that 20-25% of the total industry's exports go to the EU market.

EDC pushes Batangas International Terminal as alternative Ports

March 20, 2014

With the on-going efforts in resolving issues arising from the truck ban, the Export Development Council urges exporters and truckers to use Batangas International Port as an alternate port for goods moving in and out of South Luzon since the Port of Manila is congested and operating beyond its capacity. Hence, cargo trucks continue to congest not just the port but also the major thoroughfares in Metro Manila.

EDC believes that Batangas Port is ready to accommodate shipments since all major road infrastructure networks are in place. It also serves as a complementary gateway for the ports of Manila. The port is directly connected with the major highways via modern infrastructure making it conveniently accessible to shippers, truckers and passengers.

To realize this, EDC recommended the issuance of a policy or an executive order directing foreign cargoes to shift to the newly developed Batangas International Port as a long-term solution to decongest the Ports of Manila.

Moreover, EDC and PEZA are jointly encouraging ecozone locators to nominate Batangas International Port as their port of loading of export cargoes and unloading of imported raw materials.

EDC supports the proposed Super Green Lane (SGL) for SMEs

March 20, 2014

The Export Development Council (EDC) expressed its support on DTI’s initiative to enhance the Super Green Lane (SGL), intended to introduce greater efficiencies in customs and trade to small and medium enterprises.

The Super Green Lane, established by Executive Order No. 230 s. 2000, provides a special facility which, with the use of Electronic Data Interchange, will allow for the advance processing and clearance of the shipments of the country’s topmost qualified importers without prior physical examination and documentary check on their shipments upon compliance with pertinent Customs laws, rules and regulations.

With the proposed expansion of the SGL for SMEs, modernization and efficiency in customs clearance processing can now be greatly felt by almost 99.6% of Philippine SMEs; since the initial SGL and SGL Plus only covered 0.4% of the industry. It will assure qualified SME importers and exporters with simplified, prompt and efficient customs clearance and will pave the way towards other government initiatives, such as the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO), Self-Certification System and the National SME Development Plan.