Customs modernization may open new doors for brokers - study

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 20 2014 09:16 PM | Updated as of Mar 21 2014 05:16 AM

MANILA – A modernized program for the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will likely benefit custom brokers, a study by state-run think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said.

The study showed that a modernized customs administration can create a higher volume of trade, which in turn can lead to a new demand for brokers with expertise in customs rules and regulations.

"With the economic integration in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Philippines must successfully implement seamless, efficient, and transparent trading procedures to maximize the potential benefits from such integration," the study said.

A co-author of the study, PIDS President Gilberto Llanto, said a high volume of trade transactions require a more transparent and efficient customs administration.

As a signatory to the Revised Kyoto Convention or the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures, the BOC is required to institute customs procedures that comply with best practices and standards in the global markets.

However, attempts to modernize customs procedures are being opposed by some custom brokers, who believe that these measures will adversely affect their role in the customs administration process.

The brokers also said the proposed measures will also jeopardize the processes, integrity of transactions, and the revenue collection targets of the BOC.

The PIDS study, meanwhile, suggests that proponents of customs modernization should recognize “that it is necessary to ensure that the proposed bill is not inconsistent with existing laws such as the Customs Broker Act of 2004.”

The study also reminded BOC and oversight agencies that the primary indicator used to gauge the BOC's performance is its revenue collection effort and not the revenue collection targets.

"They also need to consider that the role of the BOC is evolving under a globalized and liberalized trading environment especially in view of the ASEAN Economic Community where tariff walls will become a thing of the past. A more relevant indicator of performance will thus be the timely and efficient facilitation of the volume of trade," the study said.