Gov’t starts trade product code harmonization
The Department of Finance (DOF) works with various trade regulatory government agencies (TRGAs) in a series of tariff harmonization and classification workshops starting this month to gather the base data needed to run TradeNet.gov.ph, the government’s digital import/export permit platform.
Undersecretary Gil Beltran, who is the DOF’s anti-red tape czar, said the workshops aim to gather 42 agencies that regulate trade products and to harmonize their tariff codes. This is part of the government's initiatives to facilitate trade and ease of doing business in the country.
The workshops are facilitated by the Tariff Commission (TC) in coordination with the DOF Inter-Agency Business Process Interoperability (IABPI) Team, and the Bureau of Import Service of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The workshop series will run weekly for 5 days from September to October at the TC office in Quezon City.
“The results of the workshops will be used as base data of the Tariff Code and Commodities that will be used by TC, Bureau of Customs, and the regulatory agencies on TradeNet,” said Beltran in his report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III during a recent DOF Executive Committee (Execom) meeting.
The harmonization of trade commodity codes was one of the agreements during the April 2018 meeting of the National Single Window (NSW) Steering Committee, which is headed by Dominguez.
TradeNet aims to link 76 TRGAs through a common database and shorten the processing of transactions for import and export clearances. The system is expected to minimize the costs of doing business and cut the processing time for the issuance of import and export permits.
Also, TradeNet will serve as the Philippines’ link to the ASEAN Single Window (ASW), a regional initiative that aims to speed up cargo clearances and promote economic integration by enabling the electronic exchange of border documents among the organization’s 10 member-states. Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are already using the ASW to exchange information on customs clearances.
Beltran said that through TradeNet, traders may apply online for import and export permits for commodities such as rice, sugar, used motor vehicles, chemicals (toluene), frozen meat, medicines (for humans, animals, or fish) and cured tobacco.
Besides TradeNet, the government is also working on three parallel initiatives that form part of its “comprehensive deployment of information and communications technology to enhance governance efficiency,” Dominguez earlier said.
These are the 1) Government Cloud Service (GovCloud) launched recently by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to serve as the National Government Portal for all government information, transactions and services; 2) PHPAY platform initiated by the DOF to function as a centralized online payment portal, transactions ledger and reconciliation system; and 3) Philippine Business Data Bank (PBDB), which is a search engine for all registered businesses in the country that will be available online for government agencies to verify records for business registration and permits.
GovCloud will help to significantly reduce red tape and corruption as well in applying for permits, clearances and other similar documents, while PHPAY will provide government agencies "a way to interface their service websites to payment facilitators, banks or credit card gateways, making it easier for private users to pay for permits or applications."
PBDB, meanwhile, will bring together for easier reference the available business registries from DTI, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), and local government units. DMS