THE PHILIPPINES started implementing an ASEAN-wide exporter self-certification scheme that allows businesses to claim their own origin declaration for lower or no duties under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA).

Beginning Sept. 20, the Philippines started using the ASEAN-Wide Self-Certification Scheme (AWSC), which means that exporters can issue their own origin declaration — certifying that their products meet the criteria used to deem that they have originated from a particular country.

Importers use such declarations for ATIGA preferential tariffs.

The trade department in a statement Sunday said that the scheme simplifies the origin certification procedure, and reduces transaction costs. Companies previously had to apply for certificates of origin at the Bureau of Customs for every shipment.

Exporters may now self-certify after applying for Certified Exporter Status at the Bureau of Customs.

“We are confident that this new scheme will facilitate trade and improve the ease of doing business for Philippine companies, especially for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME),” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said.


“With the AWSC, it will be easier for our MSMEs to maximize the use of ATIGA and benefit substantially from the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This is especially important in the current situation as this removes the step where companies must apply for a Certificate of Origin with the BoC for each of their shipments,” he added.

The government last year implemented similar measures for exporters to the European Union, releasing guidelines for self-certification of origin to avail of lower tariffs under the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences. — Jenina P. Ibañez