Makati City - Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. lauded the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) technology modernization plan to improve customs services. “The use of technology solutions to ease documentation and customs procedures will allow our exporters to expeditiously move goods across borders and to capitalize on the growing benefits of our trade engagements,” said Cristobal.

The BOC recently launched a series of information technology projects in preparation for the passage of the Customs Modernization Act (CMTA). The CMTA will amend the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines to comply with the World Customs Organization (WCO) – Revised Kyoto Convention that lays down international guidelines for modern and efficient customs practices in the 21st century.

Key provisions of this legislation include the reduction of opportunities for corruption and technical smuggling, updating existing law/s to address modern business and trade practices, promoting a paperless environment in trade transactions, and reducing the cost of doing business and thus encourage investments.

Cristobal said that Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina’s work likewise lends support to Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC)’s Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs (BAA- MSMEs). The BAA-MSMEs aims to pursue regional cooperation in trade facilitation to develop dynamic and global micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Among the priority actions of the agenda is the simplification of procedural and documentary requirements for MSMEs.

“Bringing the Philippines’ customs procedures in line with global best practices will successfully plug our local enterprises, particularly MSMEs, as part of global value chains or as direct exporters of finished goods and services in regional and global markets. Further progress in trade liberalization will also ensure that our businesses can make full use of market opportunities,” concludedCristobal.

According to the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), BOC’s modernization plan will also ease the country’s performance in terms of trade facilitation procedures and will further improve the Philippines’ ranking in the Trading Across Borders (TAB) indicator measured in the Word Bank-International Finance Corporation’s Ease of Doing Business Report.

The TAB measures time and costs associated with the logistical process of exporting and importing goods using three sets of procedures—documentary compliance, border compliance and domestic transport—within the overall process of exporting or importing a shipment of goods. NCC is currently finalizing its targets for TAB.