The Departments of Finance (DOF) and of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) are now working closely with the Department of Agriculture (DA) on the full rollout and development of the government’s online trading facilitation portal dubbed TradeNet.
In a report during a recent DOF Executive Committee (Execom) meeting, Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said the DA has already issued a memorandum order (MO) instructing its personnel to coordinate with the DOF and DICT on integrating the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) certificates in TradeNet.
The DA is a key component of TradeNet as it is among the regulatory bodies that process permits for imports and exports, particularly of agricultural products such as rice, which is now freely imported under the rice tariffication law subject to the compliance by traders of SPS requirements.
Beltran reported to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that “the DA has created project teams for integrating SPS in TradeNet and the ASEAN Single Window (ASW).”
“These teams will work with the DOF and DICT in developing TradeNet modules for the ASW exchange,” Beltran said.
According to a separate report by the DOF’s Inter-Agency Business Process Interoperability (IABPI) Team, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) will handle the e-Phyto Sanitary certificate, while the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will handle the e-Animal Health certificate.
“The target of the Philippines to join the ASW is November 2019,” the IABPI team said.
TradeNet has started processing permits for imports and exports, according to Beltran.
Beltran said the online portal is also expected to streamline the application for the electronic Certificates of Origin (e-COs) from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) after the Bureau of Customs (BOC) released an MO that provides the guidelines for the submission and processing of all e-COs through TradeNet.gov.ph.
Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 15-2019 on the Operationalization of the Issuance of e-COs was signed and issued by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero last March 18.
Beltran, who is the DOF’s anti-red tape czar, said the testing of the e-COs with the ASW will continue to ensure that the process on exchange and connectivity is streamlined.
TradeNet.gov.ph, which will perform the functions of the government’s National Single Window (NSW), will eventually be interconnected to the ASW, which is a regional initiative that aims to speed up cargo clearances and promote economic integration by enabling the electronic exchange of border documents among the 10 ASEAN member-states.
Beltran said the retraining of BOC personnel to familiarize themselves with TradeNet has already begun.
Pilot exporters have also begun to upload data on TradeNet, he said.
Beltran also reported that the first week of TradeNet’s live operations with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has been “successful, with no incident.”
The PDEA started processing online the special export permits of six pilot firms–Merck, Inc., Unilab Inc., Pasar Corporation, Roche Philippines, Inc., Petron Corp., and Coral Bay Nickel Corp.,
PDEA’s online processing involves the approval and issuance of import and special export permits on “dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and controlled chemicals,” Beltran said.
Once TradeNet is fully operational, he said that traders may apply online for import and export permits for commodities such as rice, sugar, used motor vehicles, chemicals (toluene), frozen meat, medicines (for humans, animals, or fish) and cured tobacco.
The Duterte administration’s goal is to have all 75 trade regulatory government agencies across 18 government departments fully interconnected via TradeNet.
TradeNet will simplify import and export documentary processes covering an initial 7,400 regulated products.