Marcos says the pre-shipping inspection (PSI) thoroughly checks the goods' legitimacy, weight, quality, and recorded origin.
UN data shows that there was about a 20.48-percent discrepancy in the reported values of agricultural imports from 2010 to 2021, resulting in revenue losses for the government.
PSIs would address smuggling and contain the spread of diseases.
Curb agri smuggling thru pre-shipping inspection --- PBBM
At a glance
In a bid to stop the smuggling of agricultural commodities, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said he was considering a recommendation to conduct pre-shipping inspections (PSIs) to ensure that these goods would be safe for public consumption.
AGRI MEETING - President Marcos meets a delegation from the Société Générale de Surveillance SA in Malacañang on May 25, to discuss ways to curb the smuggling of agricultural goods. (Office of the President)
Marcos said this following a meeting with the Société Générale de Surveillance SA (SGS) Vice President George Bottomley and Managing Director Cresenciano Maramot in Malacañang on Thursday, May 25.
In a video interview, the President said the SGS delegation presented a scheme that thoroughly checks the goods' legitimacy, weight, quality, and recorded origin.
"This scheme would minimize smuggling. It will be essentially…pre-shipping inspection," he said.
"Bago pa isakay yung produkto sa barko doon sa pinanggagalingan, inspeksyunin na nila. Para hindi na natin kailangan gawin dito sa Pilipinas (Before they even load the cargo from the point of origin, they would inspect it already. So that we won't have to anymore),” he added.
President Marcos said this would extend to cover agricultural invoices so that shipments are already paid before the planes or ships arrive, thereby, speeding up the process.
There is also the need to conduct a cost analysis first to ensure that no added burden will be imposed on consumers, according to the President.
WATCH: President Marcos says he is considering the recommendation to conduct pre-shipping inspections in a bid to stop the smuggling of agricultural goods and ensure their safety for public consumption. (📽️PCO) @manilabulletin pic.twitter.com/kUxnw44lyx— Argyll Cyrus Geducos (@argyll_mb) May 25, 2023
According to the United Nations (UN) Commodity Trade data for the Philippines, there was about a 20.48-percent discrepancy in the reported values of agricultural imports from 2010 to 2021, resulting in revenue losses for the government.
For edible vegetables, roots, and tubers, the discrepancy was 34.74 percent, while for swine meat (fresh, chilled, or frozen), the difference was 41.89 percent.
On the other hand, conducting pre-shipment inspection (PSI) and conformity assessment procedures would ensure that the quantity and other specifications of the goods conform with sanitary and phytosanitary import permits and test the presence of diseases, among others.
SGS claims a PSI would address smuggling and contain the spread of diseases such as African Swine Fever and Avian Flu, also clarifying that inspection and testing fees would be paid for by the exporter.
In a statement, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said that, under the arrangement, SGS would create a digital invoice in a standardized format prescribed by the authorities on an online government platform for registered or authenticated agricultural exporters, sellers, or suppliers.
The invoices would be available in real-time to the Department of Agriculture (DA), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and Bureau of Customs (BOC), which, according to SGS, would deter importers from manipulating or falsifying invoices and, instead, increase tax compliance, and enable cross-agency trade data reconciliation.
"The system will likewise ensure that all agricultural importations are recorded and accounted for to prevent hoarding and price manipulation," the PCO said.
"The costs of registration or authentication and operating the platform would also be paid for by the exporter," he added.
According to the PCO, President Marcos has directed the DOF and the DA to study the proposal and develop a mechanism to implement it.
SGS is a testing, inspection, and certification company established in 1878 that aims to ensure the quality and safety of products based on health, safety, and regulatory standards.
The Swiss company has 2,650 offices and laboratories and employs 97,000 personnel in 140 countries.
The Philippines contracted the SGS from 1986 to 2000 to verify the quality, quantity, and price of imported goods before shipment to the Philippines.
SGS is currently working with the DOF on the fuel marking program.