Customs issues clarification on use of surety bonds by economic zone firms

Posted on June 05, 2015

THE BUREAU of Customs (BoC) has issued a clarification on the use of surety bonds for Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) locators as it starts the mandatory implementation transshipment document filings via the agency’s electronic system.

PEZA and BoC, in a joint memorandum, said there is no need for the transshipment’s “single administrative document” to be coursed through the Customs Bonds Division for “charging or debiting” as a requisite for the approval of a locator’s shipment.

“The control measure to ensure compliance with the conditions of the approved Transshipment Permit and as a security against diversion of the goods from its authorized destination is that there is sufficient security,” the memorandum stated.

Under PEZA’s and BoC’s Joint Memorandum Order 1-2015, a locator should conform to the “minimum bond” equivalent to P1 million or three-months’ worth of taxes and duties due, whichever is higher.

“On the other hand, the notification procedures from the port of transshipment to the port of destination and the feedback of the receipt of the transshipment by the receiving port is the control measure to prevent diversion or its early detection,” the order stated.

Mandatory implementation of a rule requiring locators to file all imports for transshipment using the BoC’s electronic system will start this month. The rule was originally to be implemented in May but BoC deferred it for 30 days upon the request of locators.

Under the joint order, Customs district collectors will require PEZA locators to post a “general transportation surety bond... to guarantee the direct, immediate, and faithful delivery of goods covered by transshipment entries to the destination PEZA locations”.

“Locators whose bonds are expiring in less than 30 days shall not be allowed to file transshipment entries until they post a bond with an expiry of at least 30 days from the date of filing of an entry,” the BoC and PEZA said.

Manual filing can only be allowed if the e2m system is down for more than two hours.

Former Customs Commissioner John Phillip P. Sevilla said in February that shipments of PEZA locators will be integrated into the BoC’s electronic system as part of the agency’s efforts to automate duty-free import transactions.

Customs’ e2m system aims to automate processes in the clearance of imported goods. It includes a profile of brokers and importers, electronic payment, and an assessment system which tags the compliance and risk levels of a particular import.

The BoC collected P92.29 billion in the first three months of 2015, up 7% year on year but 11% short of the P103.35-billion goal. -- Mikhail Franz E. Flores