ARTA welcomes creation of PH trade facilitation committee

Published May 22, 2021, 11:11 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) welcomed the creation of the Philippine Trade Facilitation Committee (PTFC), saying this will further enhance the streamlining efforts in the Bureau of Customs.

Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director-General Jeremiah Belgica (Photo from ARTA)

ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica made the statement after President Duterte issued Executive Order (EO) No. 136 creating the PTFC to comply with the country’s commitments under the World Trade Organization-Trade Facilitation Agreement (WHO-TFA).

In a statement, Belgica said the issuance of EO 136 was indeed “great news” for ARTA.

“This EO will further enhance our streamlining efforts in the Bureau of Customs (BOC),” he said.

Belgica said the EO provides a significant boost to ongoing streamlining and re-engineering programs such as the National Single Window Program and TradeNet, both of which are designed to facilitate trade by allowing parties involved in trade to lodge information and documents with a single entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements.

The EO will also align agencies’ modernization projects with the government’s existing efforts, allowing for an improved and automated trade system and processes.

Meanwhile, Belgica reiterated ARTA’s call to all Trade Regulatory Government Agencies to immediately onboard themselves on the TradeNet platform and aggressively pursue process streamlining.

“The many laws and policies now in place make certain the fact that streamlining and automation is no longer an option but is indeed compulsory for the whole of government,” he said.

Based on the EO, there was a need to establish the PTFC, a body that would streamline and improve customs procedures and facilitate the implementation of rational, efficient, and simple customs rules.

It is also seen to reduce the cost of trade transactions and enable micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises to participate more actively in international trade.

Under the EO, the PTFC shall be chaired by the Department of Finance (DOF) and will be co-chaired by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The Bureau of Customs (BOC) shall serve as vice-chairperson.