THE Philippines has signed on to an international system that will allow temporary and tax-free imports of goods for use in trade shows and exhibitions.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on June 23 signed the Instrument of Accession for the Customs Convention on the ATA Carnet for Temporary Admission of Goods, allowing the export and import of commercial samples, professional equipment, and articles for presentation at trade fairs, shows, and exhibitions.

The ATA Carnet, known as the “passport for goods,” is a single document that allows passage through customs territories. The document is valid for up to a year.

The Trade department in a statement Monday said the system will reduce time spent on customs controls.

“It would also contribute to the promotion of trade and open up new and bigger market opportunities overseas once we are ready to host and attend trade fairs again,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said. “It will also enhance faster flow of product innovations.”

Philexport President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr. said that the signing is a positive development for exporters.

“With the ATA Carnet, there will be savings in terms of time and money in the temporary movement of goods consistent with our thrust to ease doing business in the country,” he said.

The DTI said that the ATA Carnet system supports the Office of the President’s Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 27 which directs “all concerned agencies to strengthen the implementation of the Philippine Export Development Plan and involving other agencies in the development of the export sector.”

Singing the convention was supported by the Export Development Council and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Philexport.

More than 80 countries are part of the ATA Carnet system.

Many international trade shows have either been canceled or moved online this year due to travel restrictions and lockdowns declared to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). — Jenina P. Ibañez