MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has formed a panel to improve Philippine customs procedures in line with the country's deal with the World Trade Organization, according to a document Malacañang released on Thursday.
Duterte said the Philippines ratified the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in 2016, which mandates member-states to establish a national committee on trade facilitation.
"To faithfully comply with our commitments under the WTO-TFA, there is a need to establish a body which would streamline and improve stomas procedures and facilitate the implementation of rational, efficient and simple customs rules which will reduce the cost of trade transactions, and enable micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to participate more actively in international trade," he said in Executive Order No. 136.
To this end, Duterte ordered the creation of the Philippine Trade Facilitation Committee that would be chaired by the finance department.
The budget for the panel will come from appropriations of its member-agencies, said Duterte.
The Bureau of Customs has come under fire for billions of pesos worth of shabu that slipped on its watch while under the Duterte administration, which is waging a war against narcotics.
Duterte has repeatedly warned bureau personnel to resign or face administrative charges. The bureau has been linked to corrupt practices.