Monday, January 21, 2019

Plan: Undo rules that hinder exports

UNNECESSARY local policies or regulations that may hamper the growth of exports, as outlined in the updated Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP), need to go.

In a recent forum, Deputy Executive Director Emma Mijares of the Export Development Council (EDC) said that the government will prioritize “the removal of domestic regulations that unnecessarily raise the costs of production and market delivery of the country’s export products.”

Among the priority actions she raised are streamlining the compliance procedures and regulatory requirements imposed by various agencies on traded goods, as well as refining the coordination and alignment of public policies, particularly those that have significant impact on traded goods.

Mijares also discussed the progress on the controversial controlled chemicals on a Philippine National Police (PNP) list, of which some are commonly used in the electronics and handicraft sectors.

According to Mijares, a final draft of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) is being prepared and will be sent to the Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport) on April 6 for review.

Exporters and industry stakeholders only have until April 8 to comment on the IRR before it becomes due for signing and approval on April 15. It will take effect on May 7.

She noted that concerned agencies are fast-tracking the release of the IRR this month as the temporary permits for chemical substance importation will lapse this month.

“The new IRR will be out soon. This week, we hope,” said Senen Perlada of DTI’s Export Marketing Bureau and the executive director of the EDC.

“The IRR will basically rationalize and balance the needs of the industry, including exports, and security,” said Perlada. The issue on chemical importation is a big concern of the industry as its strict regulations have hurt exporters, who have had to cancel some orders because they lacked chemicals.

“What is important here is the long-term effect on what is going to happen after the IRR is released,” said Perlada. “The industry understands the seriousness of the matter. We just want balance so the export industry will also not be unduly-affected (by these policies).”

Several talks have taken place between the PNP and the industry stakeholders.

Meetings have paved the way for the creation of a technical working group who pledged to focus on process enhancements. These cover reducing the number of signatories needed to release import permits, allowing documents to be signed by alternative signatories when an authorizing officer is not around, removing escort fees, and reducing processing time, among others.

Other priority actions outlined in the PEDP also include accelerating and completing reforms and modernization in the Bureau of Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, and automating Customs procedures; and full implementation of the new Cabotage Law, which allows co-loading of foreign cargo by foreign vessels.

President Benigno Aquino III approved PEDP 2015-2017 by signing last Feb. 4 Memorandum Circular No. 91.
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