The Bureau of Customs officially submitted the report on the “Readiness Assessment for Cross-Border Paperless Trade: The Philippines” on March 01, 2022, to fulfill its obligation as a member party to the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (CPTA).
The report is co-published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC).
It contains the legal and technical assessment of the Philippines’ readiness for cross-border paperless trade based on the series of consultations and workshops conducted by the UNESCAP experts and the National Single Window – Technical Working Group (NSW-TWG) officials.
In coordination with the BOC Planning and Policy Research Division (PPRD) and BOC External Affairs Office (EAO), excellent inputs were shared by the private sector through interviews and subsequent communications.
These sessions helped BOC and UNESCAP identify potential legal and technical gaps, highlight essential legal areas that may support engagement in cross-border paperless trade, design framework, and the need to raise awareness.
Recent developments in the use of modern technology reinforce the importance of paperless trade in improving supply chain efficiency and facilitating supply chain integration are also well covered in this report.
Notwithstanding the huge benefits that paperless trade can bring, it is not easy to implement due to a lack of awareness of cargo clearance stakeholders and inefficient coordination and harmonization of legal, policy, and technology frameworks.
With the availability of a functioning National Single Window (NSW) in exchanging cross-border documents with the ASEAN Member States (AMS), ongoing digitalization of clearance processes, and intergovernmental coordination mechanisms are being worked out.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, enhanced trade facilitation initiatives were successfully implemented by the Bureau of Customs in keeping goods moving as quickly as possible, including identifying key actions needed in ensuring smooth customs procedures with limited human intervention.