DTI threatens to unleash BIR on foreign shipping lines

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DTI threatens to unleash BIR on foreign shipping lines
THE DTI CONTINUES to explore possible measures against the shipping fees, which it said are affecting the competitiveness of domestic industry. — BW FILE PHOTO

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it will ask the Bureau of Internal Revenues to investigate foreign shipping lines to validate whether they are paying taxes properly on what it called “excessive” cargo charges.

In a statement Wednesday, the DTI said it continues to explore possible measures against the shipping fees, which it said are affecting the competitiveness of domestic industry.

The DTI said it is in possession of a study which identified fees allegedly imposed by some international shipping lines which it believes should not be passed on to Philippines exporters and importers and ultimately consumers.

“We are calling on all international shipping lines to put a halt to these unnecessary charges as these are unfair,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in the statement.

“Finally, we shall also call on the Bureau of Internal Revenue to investigate unpaid taxes arising from these charges,” he added.

The DTI said it supports the Philippine Competition Commission’s investigation into shipping charges.

“We thank the PCC led by Chairman Arsenio M. Balisacan and the commissioners, for listening to the plea of exporters and importers. We must put an end to this unfair practice of charging excessive fees as these charges increase the cost,” Mr. Lopez said.

A 2017 study jointly conducted by the DTI-Export Development Council and the National Competitiveness Council showed that shipping fees are costing the Philippine economy as much as $5 billion annually. — Janina C. Lim