The Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) and Bureau of International Trade Relations (BITR) recently held an information session and stakeholder consultations on self-certification under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) as part of its continuing advocacy to make Philippine exporters more competitive in foreign markets.

EMB Director Senen M. Perlada urged the participants to take advantage of the free trade agreements (FTA) that the Philippines entered into, and familiarize themselves with the developments to qualify for preferential tariffs provided by these FTAs.

Perlada noted that the most recent development is the self-certification system under ATIGA being implemented in some participating members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

This scheme requires a simple declaration that the goods satisfy the ASEAN originating criteria and all other requirements. With this scheme, exporters are no longer required to present a Certificate of Origin (CO) in claiming ATIGA tariff preferences.

Perlada also noted that self-certification under the ATIGA is a matter of trust.

BITR Assistant Director Angelo Salvador M. Benedictos also said that the system is being implemented in pilot stages.

The first stage covers Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, with Cambodia and Myanmar joining them soon. The second stage includes the Philippines, Indonesia and Lao PDR, with Thailand and Viet Nam joining them in the future.

The first pilot project has 311 participating companies while the second pilot project has 15 companies, wherein three are from the Philippines. These companies are eligible for the ATIGA tariff preferences when they export to participating ASEAN member countries covered in the respective pilot projects.

Benedictos noted that the three firms from the Philippines can avail themselves of the preferential ATIGA tariff when they export to Indonesia and Lao PDR.

Bureau of Customs (BoC) Director Illie Lionel B. Gramata said that he scheme no longer requires exporters to do a face-to-face transaction with the BoC.

He also noted that in the first pilot project, the exporters, producers, and traders may be authorized as certified exporter, while in the second pilot project, it is only the exporters and manufacturers. Also, in the first pilot project, invoice declaration is allowed in the commercial invoice and other export-related documents such as bill of lading and air waybill, while in the second pilot project, it is only on the commercial invoice.

“I urge you to apply for self-certification because it has no cost to you, except for the P115 fee for documentary stamp,” Gramata said to the participants.

He added that the scheme is expected to be implemented across the ASEAN region as a commitment under the ATIGA this year. (END)