The Bureau of Customs (BOC) said it is working on a set of customs regulations that would address gaps and challenges in the processing and clearance of cross-border e-commerce shipments.
Theresita Eisma, national consultant for the e-commerce program under the ARISE Plus Philippines Project, said the proposed customs regulations would respond to the specific needs of the growing Philippine cross-border e-commerce market.
The new customs order is also seen to adopt World Customs Organization (WCO) guidelines and other international best practices on cross-border e-commerce, said Eisma during her recent presentation at a national workshop on trade facilitation organized under ARISE Plus.
The ARISE Plus Philippines Project is a four-year program being implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) with funding from the European Union, to enhance the BOC’s readiness to comply with international trade facilitation commitments.
Eisma said that the e-commerce project’s technical team has developed a comprehensive report that assesses the BOC’s cross-border clearance procedures against the WTO Guidelines for the Immediate Release of Consignments by Customs and the WCO Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce.
The report identified gaps and challenges in customs clearance procedures and the movement of goods across the value chain and made recommendations and action points for the drafting of the new customs regulation.
Consultative sessions were then conducted between the ITC and the BOC technical working group (TWG) from the second half of 2022 until January 2023 to pave the way for the development of a customs memorandum order (CMO).
About 13 key points were recommended for inclusion in the CMO, including the mandatory declaration of the customs value, items, and end consignee data in the e-manifest, consolidated declaration for Category 2 (de minimis) shipments, standardization of procedures for express, non-express and postal items, application of risk management techniques, development, and implementation of a dedicated e-commerce portal for the processing of declarations and release of shipments.
“These matters are meant to address potential revenue leakages and challenges in transacting e-commerce declarations while ensuring that trade facilitation measures are implemented and balanced even for MSME transactions,” said Eisma.
The recommended measures are aligned with the WCO Immediate Release Guidelines, WCO Framework of Standards for e-Commerce, SAFE Framework, and WCO Reference Data Elements for Cross-Border E-Commerce.
Eisma said the first draft of the proposed CMO is expected to be submitted by the BOC drafting team this month for peer review by the e-commerce technical working group.
Consultative sessions with the BOC will be held later this year to help finalize the new CMO that will lead to the order’s signing for implementation, Eisma added.