BOC kicks off National Trade Facilitation Workshop with ARISE Plus Philippines

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) continues taking the lead in advancing trade facilitation initiatives, in line with its aspirations to be at par with the most advanced nations and best practices through the conduct of the National Workshop with the theme “Strengthening the Trade Facilitation Capacity of the Philippines” on April 4-6, 2022, at the Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati City, Philippines.

With support from the International Trade Center (ITC) through the ARISE Plus Philippines Project, a hybrid session was conducted in collaboration with Philippine Trade Regulatory Government Agencies (TRGAs) and private sector representatives. This initiative represents the strong commitment of the BOC to facilitating and securing international trade that is responsive and exclusive to the needs of both government and the private sector, especially for the micro, small and medium enterprises that account for almost 90 percent of the businesses in the country.

Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero formally opened the session and expressed his gratitude for the unwavering support being given by international partners to the ongoing customs-to-business collaborations.

In his remarks, Guerrero emphasized that “In pursuit of a more transparent, inclusive, and secure trading environment, I recognize that the success of trade facilitation initiatives requires an inherent understanding of customs and trade policies. Strengthening the capacities of all actors involved underpins good governance, accountability, and increase in trader’s compliance that will contribute to an enhanced trade tax collection, transparency, and predictability.”

According to him, the customs-to-business partnership should be interwoven with the overall strategies of Customs modernization, that go beyond operational and technical matters for effectiveness and sustainability.

ARISE Plus Philippines Technical Working Group Chair, Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty from the DTI Industry Development and Trade Policy Group (IDTPG), shared that the ARISE Plus project seeks to improve the country’s trade competitiveness through capacity building mechanisms to adapt to evolving trade directions.

Gepty also stressed the importance of the inclusion of government institutions to strengthen the main foundation of the country’s global channel.

“The institutional capacity building for government agencies is critical in ensuring that the country abides with the four pillars of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, namely, transparency, simplification, harmonization, and standardization. These pillars will improve trade efficiency by cutting red tape at the border, increase transparency, and harmonize export and import clearance of goods by government agencies,” he added.

The 3-day National Trade Facilitation Workshop will open discussions on strengthening trade facilitation capacities in three priority areas namely: the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Program, the e-Commerce Clearance, and its Taxation Mechanisms, and the value proposition of an Integrated Risk Management System.