The Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines in cooperation with the PSBC held another breakfast discussion series on “The new rules under the recently enacted Customs Modernization & Tariff Act (CMTA)”. Ambassador Andrea Reichlin hosted the event last 09 August 2016 at her official residence. The invited speaker is Atty. Mark Anthony P. Tamayo, a tax partner at SGV & Co. with over 25 years experience in providing professional tax services and is among the International Tax Review’s recognized expert in the Philippines on Indirect Tax/Global Trade & Customs. Atty. Tamayo shared with PSBC members and Swiss product distributors the essence of the new CMTA and its benefit over the 1978 Customs Law. The objective of the new Act, which took effect last June, is primarily to transform the BOC from a revenue-collecting agency to that of an excellent trade facilitator. A macro-view of the changes was discussed. In particular, required permits now needs to be secured beforehand precisely to the facilitate release of goods. Importers are also allowed to obtain ADVANCE ruling on valuation and classification. Atty. Tamayo also informed the participants that by June 2018, any person authorized by the importer could act as declarant thereby omitting customs brokers. Other changes are: Importers who fail to submit their respective Form D (Certificate of Origin) to avail of the AFTA reduced duties are now allowed to submit the same in 30 days and subject for extension. A provisional declaration or the ability to amend a declaration when necessary is allowed. Regulations on de minimis valuation has been adjusted from P 10 to P 10,000 for duties take effect. The new Act also allows the commissioner to enter into a settlement agreement with importers to precisely to facilitate the release of goods. On the export front, self-certification by exporters in compliance with the rules-of-origin is now allowed. An assessment of the new BOC was discussed among participants and the bias on pursuing a pre-shipment inspection system and the aggressive online monitoring of goods to determine appropriate valuation and classification seems to be the direction the BOC will engage in. Other factors still remains an issue to business despite the new CMTA and the active presence of media and industry associations in reporting importations that are allegedly misclassified and misrepresented. The need to involve all stakeholders to help craft an effective IRR is a concern, while the need to staff the BOC with professionals, knowledgeable on customs regulations, valuation and classification remains an aspiration. On the positive note, the CMTA puts in place a system for post clearance that will be beneficial to large industry importers. Please join our next Breakfast Discussion Series to discuss a wide range of topics direct from experts.