Why Customs suspended 70 importers, 45 brokers


Posted at Mar 07 2014 03:22 PM | Updated as of Mar 08 2014 01:37 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs on Friday suspended the accreditation of 70 companies and 45 customs brokers who it says have "repeatedly violated" Customs policies and procedures in filing import documents.

The BOC suspended these companies and brokers for non-compliance with its policies on disclosure of detailed product descriptions for goods imported. It said this was the first time a big batch of importers and brokers were sanctioned for failing to comply with this policy.

Customs Commissioner John Sevilla said these suspended importers and brokers will no longer be allowed to file import entries and will lose the privilege to import goods.

"The importers and brokers we suspended habitually failed to provide detailed information about the goods they imported. Ang hindi paglalahad ng kabuuang detalye ng inangkat na produkto ay malimit napalusot para mapababaang customs duties and taxes na dapat bayaran. Simple lang ang ibig sabihin nito — ito ay mistulang technical smuggling. Hindi na namin papayagan pa ang lantarang
pagsaway sa batas dito sa Bureau of Customs," he said.

Under Customs Administrative Order No. 8-2007 and Customs Memorandum Order 28-2007, imported articles must be described in sufficient detail for proper valuation and tariff classification. Importers and brokers have to provide details such as specific product description; make, model, variant and brand; and retail packaging or stock-keeping unit in the import entries filed with the BOC.

Last February 21, the BOC implemented CMO 04-2014. Under Section 3.5, “the existing accreditation of an importer or customs broker may be suspended, revoked or cancelled” if there are violations of the “Sworn Undertaking to strictly abide with existing rules and regulations on the Statement of Full Description of Imported Articles covered by entry declarations.”

"Let this be a warning to our stakeholders that we have zero tolerance for wrongdoing. They must do their part in helping reform the Bureau of Customs by complying with the law," Sevilla said.

Globe files appeal in behalf of broker

Meanwhile, Globe Telecom has filed a motion for reconsideration with the BOC to lift the suspension order on its customs broker REQ Brokerage Services.

REQ Brokerage was one of the 45 brokers, whose accreditation was suspended by the BOC.

In a statement, Globe general legal counsel Froilan Castelo said the company and REQ Brokerage have not received the official order from BOC.

He said the issue is a misinterpretation of the BOC administrative order that required brokers to describe imports in detail.

"The issue emanates from the limited number of characters (26 characters) provided in the online form that is supposed to describe the goods imported. This is why we always submit supporting documents as separate attachments because it is impossible to put all item descriptions in the online form," Castelo said.

Last year, Globe was commended by the BOC for being the Top 16th importer contributing P2 billion to its coffers.

Click here to download the list of importers and customs brokers with suspended accreditation.