“We should not be left behind in the global trade trend,” said the Philippines’ Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, when he announced a new set of trade guidelines.
The issuance of Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 15-2019 in March 2019 is supposed to make transactions at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) “faster and easier, without prejudice to quality and accuracy,” he said.
Online trade portal will facilitate transactions
CMO No. 15-2019 includes guidelines for the application, submission, and processing of all electronic Certificates of Origin (“e-CO”) through the government’s official trade portal TradeNet.gov.ph.
The online portal integrates automated licensing, permits, clearance, and certification systems of trade-related government agencies. It also facilitates the acceptance of e-COs among the ASEAN-member states. Thus, it does not only enable the electronic exchange of data on trade between the Philippines’ national agencies but also simplifies ASEAN-internal cross-border transactions.
The government will test TradeNet.gov.ph live at the Port of Manila, Manila International Container Port, and the Port of NAIA. If successful, the government plans to extend the system nationwide.
Guerrero said, “While duties and taxes are important for the nation’s economy, as a signatory to trade agreements and in compliance to global trade rules and trends, the electronic processing of a certificate of origin will get us in the loop of the global trade network.”
Technological trade solutions on the rise in Southeast Asia
With its new trade portal, the Philippines is following other ASEAN countries that have already started to implement similar solutions. The Singapore government, for example, has launched the world’s first cross-border blockchain for international trade. It links the National Trade Platform (NTP) to other ASEAN countries as well as China’s Digital Silk Road.
Blockchain technology, which is also the underlying technology of Export Portal’s trade solution, is particularly useful for processing e-COs. All trade parties can store their certificates on an immutable distributed ledger. Thus, the technology provides maximum data security and transparency, as both parties can view the original information in real-time.
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