PCCI seeks repeal of BOC stuffing policy
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business organization, has expressed apprehension on the Bureau of Custom’s policy requiring Customs personnel to be present during loading schedules of exporters stressing it impedes trade and increases cost.
“This policy is an impediment to trade facilitation and could further increase the cost of doing business for exporters,” PCCI President Alfredo M. Yao said.
Yao pointed out that there are not even enough Customs personnel to certify every loading.
“The shortage of Customs staff is a reason for the mandatory X-Ray inspection and for the Customs prerogative to open containers on suspicion of misdeclarations,” he noted.
Yao said that PCCI appreciates the intent of the stuffing policy, which aims to establish the legitimacy of exporters as part of the risk management system being developed for exports.
But he noted the need to further study the implementation procedure to ensure that it will support the objectives of trade facilitation and export competitiveness, especially of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“Let’s help our small and medium exporters compete,” said Yao. “Their competitors in Asean countries don’t have that policy. Our exporters pay for additional costs of the transport, accommodations and meals of Customs staff. ”
“The other question is if BOC personnel are available, and if they are available are they available at night time, holidays and weekends,” said Yao.
“Small exporters have not factored in the costs of this new Customs policy in their export contracts,” he said. “The costs of this new policy are not in quotations negotiated six or nine months before.”
The cost of waiting includes additional rent for the use of warehouses while waiting for the BOC staff plus extra charges for trucks, Yao said.
For heavier items such as furniture and marble tiles, stuffing of a container to be witnessed by a Customs staff can take about five days.
“This BOC policy exposes our exporters to penalties of as much as 10 per cent on the first day of delayed shipments,” he said. “Worse, our exporters lose the next sale because buyers prefer to order from reliable suppliers.”
Yao said Commissioner John Phillip Sevilla should also hear from exporters themselves tales of “informal accounts of extortive rates and behavior forced on exporters.”
In addition, the port congestion at the ports in Manila increases the risks of delays, he said.
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