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International Resource Center
Philippines Country Profile
* Country Information
* Trade Group Member
* General Import Clearance Information
* Philippines Import Prohibitions
* General Import Restrictions
* Philippines Import Restrictions
* Special Import Provisions
o Personal Effects
* General Export Clearance Information
* Philippines Export Prohibitions
* General Export Restrictions
* Philippines Export Restrictions
* Regulatory Contact Information
Population: 99,900,177 est.
Language: Filipino, English, Spanish, Chinese and other local dialects
Weights and Measures: International Metric System and British Imperial System
Currency: Philippine Peso (PHP)
Time Zone Operates on Greenwich Mean Time
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Trade Group Member
The Philippines is a member of the
* World Trade Organization (WTO) (The Republic of the Philippines is a founding member.)
* The WTO is the successor organization of the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) - a multilateral treaty that provides a code of agreed rules for international trade embodying rights and obligations of legal character and was the negotiating forum on reduction of trade barriers and the improvement of world trade. GATT was the international "court" wherein governments settled trade disputes with other GATT members.
* The WTO entered into force on 1 January 1995 and, as of 31 May 2001, 141 countries have ratified their acceptance of the WTO, which now includes the People's Republic of China and Taiwan as its new members.
* The three (3) main objectives of the WTO are
* To help trade flow as freely as possible;
* To achieve further liberalization of trade through negotiations; and
* To set up an impartial means of settling disputes.
The Philippines participates as a WTO beneficiary nation of the GSP "Generalized System of Preferences" program. Qualifying products originating in GSP countries can be exported to major developed countries and receive lower or zero tariff rates, which aid in the promotion of exports for the GSP country. For additional information on the GSP program and participating countries see http://www.unctad.org/gsp/.
* World Customs Organization (WCO)
The WCO is a successor organization of the CCC (Customs Co-operation Council) established in 1952, is an independent intergovernmental body of worldwide membership whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of customs administration. It provides a forum where delegates representing a large variety of members can tackle customs issues on equal footing. It is the only international organization dealing exclusively with customs matters.
* The main functions of the of the WCO are as follows:
1. To examine the technical aspects of customs systems, as well as the economic factors related thereto, with a view to proposing practical means of attaining the highest possible degree of harmony and uniformity;
2. To prepare draft Conventions on customs matters;
3. To recommend measures that would ensure the uniform interpretation and application of Conventions;
4. To make recommendations for the settlement of disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the Conventions (however, the WCO is not a court and cannot side with one party or the other);
5. To furnish interested governments, on its own initiative or upon request, information or advice on customs matters; and
6. To cooperate with other intergovernmental organizations as regards matters within its competence.
The WCO works mainly through its technical committees that are divided into different fields, to wit:
1. Nomenclature and Classification - comprises the Harmonized System Committee, Harmonized System Review Sub-Committee and Scientific Sub-Committee.
2. Valuation - consists of the Technical Committee on Customs Valuation (GATT) Agreement.
3. Customs Technique - composed of the Permanent Technical Committee, Enforcement Committee and ADP Sub-Committee; and
4. Origin- constitutes the Technical Committee on Rules of Origin
The Harmonized Commodity and Coding System or simply Harmonized System (HS) is an international product nomenclature based on the Customs Co-operation Council Nomenclature (CCCN) and the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) Revision 2 drafted by the United Nations.
The HS comprises the following:
1. General Rules for the interpretation of the System;
2. Section and Chapter Notes, including Subheading Notes; and
3. A list of headings arranged in systematic order (i.e., degree of processing) and where appropriate, subdivided into subheadings.
The General Rules are provided to ensure that a given product is always classified in one and the same heading (and subheading), to the exclusion of any others which might appear to merit consideration.
The Section and Chapter Notes (including Subheading Notes) form an integral part of the HS and have the same legal force as the general Rules.
The 1,240 headings are arranged in 96 chapters, which are themselves grouped into 21 Sections.
The HS comprises a total of 5,108 separate groups of goods by a 6-digit code.
The Philippines is using the 8-digit and not the 6-digit HS to accommodate specific nomenclature for the purpose of reflecting its national requirements (e.g., for tariff protection, incentives).
* ASEAN Preferential Trading Arrangement (ASEAN- PTA)
The ASEAN PTA is an arrangement entered into by the ASEAN Member Countries in 1977 to offer preferential tariff treatment to products originating from ASEAN states. Under the arrangement, an ASEAN-based importer will pay a lower tariff rate on a product if it originated from another ASEAN Member Country than if the same product was obtained from a non-ASEAN source.
* Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) Scheme for the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).
The CEPT is a cooperative arrangement among ASEAN Member States that will reduce intra-regional tariffs and remove non-tariff barriers over a 10-year period commencing 1 January 1993, the goal of which is to reduce tariffs on all manufactured goods to 0-5% by the year 2003.
All manufactured products, including capital goods and processed agricultural products, and the CEPT Scheme covers those falling outside the definition of "unprocessed agricultural products".
There are three (3) conditions for a product to be eligible for concessions under the CEPT Scheme, to wit:
1. The product has to be included in the Inclusion Lists of both the exporting and the importing countries and must belong to the same tariff band (i.e., above 20% or 20% and below).
2. It has to have a program of tariff reduction approved by the AFTA Council.
3. It has to be an ASEAN product (i.e., it has to satisfy the local content requirement of at least 40%).
* Difference between the PTA and CEPT
The CEPT Scheme is the major instrument in moving ASEAN to its goal of a free trade area. Hence, the CEPT Scheme requires that the tariff rates of those products included in the Scheme be ultimately reduced to 0-5%. The ASEAN PTA, on the other hand, does not require a reduction of tariffs of this magnitude. It only requires that, whatever tariff rates are applied by an ASEAN country on imports from the rest of the world, an MOP (margin of Preference) be given to ASEAN partners. Concessions offered under the PTA are on ASEAN MFN (Most Favored Nation) basis. The number of products included in the CEPT is also much larger than that covered in the PTA.
* ASEAN Industrial Cooperation (AICO) Scheme The AICO scheme superseded the ASEAN Industrial Joint ventures (AIJV) and the Brand-to-Brand Complementation (BBC) Schemes. It seeks to promote the sharing of industrial activities between and among ASEAN-based companies. A minimum of two (2) companies in two different ASEAN countries is required to form an "AICO Arrangement."
An "AICO Arrangement" is a cooperative arrangement involving a minimum of two (2) participating countries from two (2) different ASEAN countries. It involves not only the Physical movement of products between the participating companies and countries but also resource sharing, industrial complementation or other industrial cooperation activities.
* Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
APEC is an association of economies that share the boundaries of the Pacific Ocean. Under APEC, member economies work together to reduce barriers to trade, ease the exchange of goods & services, resources and technical know-how, and strengthen economic and technical cooperation between and among them.
APEC was created in 1989 with twelve (12) founding member-countries. Subsequently, the following were accepted as members: People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Peru, Vietnam and Russia.
* Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
* Information Technology Agreement (ITA)
* Member of the United Nations (UN)
* Participant in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
The Philippines is party to the following environmental and conservation agreements:
* Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
* Member of the Montreal Protocol
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General Import Clearance Information
There are approximately 14 approved ports of entry throughout the Philippines:
Principal Ports of Entry Jurisdiction
Port of Manila Customs District II-A
Manila International Container Port Customs District II-B
Port of Subic Customs District XIII
Port of Batangas Customs District IV
Port of Davao Customs District XII
Port of Iloilo Customs District VI
Port of Cagayan de Oro Customs District X
Port of Legaaspi Customs District V
Port of San Fernando Customs District I
Port of Tacloban Customs District VIII
Port of Surigao Customs District IX
Port of Zamboanga Customs District XI
All imports must be covered by the following basic documentations:
1. International air waybill (for airfreight) or Bill of Lading (for sea freight) Bill of lading or Airway bill must be presented with the shipment denoting the shipper, point of origin and means of transportation utilized to move the goods to the Philippines. The bill of lading should provide a brief description of goods consigned under the bill of lading and the description of the articles imported must match as much as possible the description on the Commercial or Pro-forma Invoice.
2. Commercial Invoice or Pro-Forma Invoice
A Commercial Invoice must be provided for all goods presented for import into the territory of the Republic of the Philippines. The invoice must contain, among others, a description of all articles and commodities being imported. Each article/commodity must be described in sufficient detail to accurately identify it for tariff classification and statistical purposes and where applicable model, serial and or related markings, country of origin, number and value of goods (as well as cost of insurance and transportation), should be provided. The shipper's intent must be clearly stated on the invoice and the air waybill or bill of lading to avoid improper classification and the kind of entry to be used, especially where duties and taxes are payable. Invoices prepared for the importation of samples, articles for repair, processing, or reconditioning, the return of goods previously exported, goods temporarily imported on consignment and other similar cases must contain sufficient description to allow Customs processing. The Importers TIN or Taxpayer Identification Number should be provided on the documents tendered for export to avoid delays in processing. Incomplete or deficient invoices will not be acceptable for customs processing and will cause delays in customs clearance.
A Pro Forma Invoice will not be accepted by Customs where there is a buyer-seller transaction. Such an invoice may be used for importation of samples, articles for repair, processing or reconditioning, returned articles previously exported, articles sent on consignment and other similar cases.
3. Packing List
Although not mandatory, Customs normally require a Packing List to expedite Customs clearance process especially in the case of shipments containing several commodities and multiple package shipments. It is also useful when making insurance claims for missing, lost or damaged articles or when a discrepancy is found upon customs inspection.
Supporting Documentation Requirements
In addition to the basic documentation mentioned above, import clearance/permit must be obtained from the concerned governmental agency in the Philippines or from a recognized non-governmental organization from the country of export for regulated commodities. This document is required for reasons of public health and safety, national security or to satisfy international commitments for the protection or development of the local industry, and must be submitted to customs upon filing of the import entry or prior to release of the regulated commodity or article from customs custody.
Supporting Documentation required for Imports of the following commodities:
* Permit for Imported Fertilizer Product Registration
* Permit for Experimental Use Permit for Fertilizer Efficacy Trial
* Veterinary Certificates (clean report of findings)
* CITES Import Permit (Export Permit from shipper) for endangered species
* Certificate of Product Registration
* Permit to No-Dollar Importation of Used Motor Vehicle and Affidavit of Undertaking
* Authority to Import Under EO 782 As Amended By EOs 354 and 361 (Used Trucks, Engines, special Purpose Vehicles) and Joint Affidavit of Undertaking
* Permit for Spare Parts Importation (for Motorcycles and Motor Vehicles) and Affidavit
Movie and TV Products
* Import Permit (for Movie and TV Products)
* Registration of a Pesticide Active Ingredient
* Registration of a Pesticide Product
Plants and Plant Products
* Permit to Import Plants and Plant Products
o Plants and Plant Products derived from or that include GMO Genetically Modified materials are subject to permit control per AO2002.
* Phytosanitary Certification
Radio Transmitter(s), Transceiver(s)
* Permit to Purchase/Possess Radio Transmitter(s), Transceiver(s)
Videograms (DVDs, Video-CDs, VHS Tapes)
* Permit for Videogram Import Clearance
General Customs Practices As the primary agency in charge of import control, Bureau of Customs (BOC) verifies that all applicable permits and or approvals necessary for import as deemed by law are obtained and are in proper order.
BOC also verifies that proper agency approvals per commodity are provided or identified where they may be required in situations outside the norm (restricted importations).
BOC administers the collection of duties and taxes and assures that they take place at the time of entry.
The primary basis for determining customs value in the Philippines is "Transaction value." The transaction value is the price actually paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to a country. The price actually paid or payable is the total payment made or to be made by the buyer to or for the benefit of the seller for the imported goods. The payment may take the form of a transfer of money or can be made by way of letters of credit or negotiable instruments. Payment may be made directly or indirectly. Certain costs must be added to that price (e.g. commissions and brokerage) and certain other costs must not be included in the customs value (e.g. the cost of transport after importation). The Transaction value shall be adjusted by allowing the 'adjustments' as referred by the World Trade Organization (WTO) valuation code.
Other Methods of Valuation
Whenever the value of the goods is in doubt, Customs may apply the following methods at its discretion to determine the value of the goods and allow for proper assessment of duty as defined by the WTO Valuation Code.
1. Transaction value of identical goods
2. Transaction value of similar goods
3. Deductive value
4. Computed value
5. Fallback value
Accuracy of the Declared Value
The Customs Law stresses the proper use of the valuation methods and the need for accuracy of the declared value. Direct enforcement includes the seizure of the imported goods when the declared value is disproportionate vis-a-vis the transaction value of identical or similar goods. Other rules emphasize the truthful declaration of traceable components of the international transaction, such as the importer's and the exporter's names and addresses.
Imported articles are subject to the rate or rates of duty in force at the time of entry when entered as a consumption entry or at the time of withdrawal (for consumption) from the warehouse for articles covered by a warehousing entry. Articles are considered 'entered' or 'withdrawn' when the following conditions are met:
1. The specified entry form, with related required documents, have been filed and accepted;
2. The duties, taxes and/or other charges have been paid or secured (i.e. by deposits).
3. The article has arrived at the port/airport of entry.
Liability for Duties and Taxes
Unless relieved by laws or regulations, the liability for duties, taxes, fees and other charges attaching on importation constitutes a personal debt due from the consignee/importer to the government. This debt can only be terminated by payment in full of all duties, taxes and other charges accrued from the time that the article has entered Customs. Any such debt is considered a lien upon the article.
Value-Added Tax (VAT)
Vat is levied and collected on every importation of goods equivalent to 12% based on the total value used by customs in determining tariff and customs duties, plus customs duties, excise tax (if any) and other charges. Where customs duties are determined on the basis of quantity or volume of the goods, the Vat shall be based on the landed cost plus excise taxes, if any.