PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte signed an executive order (EO) creating a trade facilitation committee that aims to streamline customs processes.

Executive Order No. 136 creates a Philippine Trade Facilitation Committee to “streamline and improve customs procedures and facilitate the implementation of rational, efficient, and simple customs rules.”

The order, signed on May 18, was made to comply with the country’s commitments under the World Trade Organization – Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO-TFA).

The committee shall “study, propose, and coordinate the position, activities, or actions of the Philippine government on matters pertaining to the implementation of the WTO-TFA and other trade facilitation commitments.”

It will represent the country’s interests in trade facilitation meetings and submit reports on the compliance of the Philippines with various trade commitments.

It will also coordinate with relevant government agencies and stakeholders on trade-related matters.

The committee will submit to the National Economic and Development Authority – Board Committee on Tariff and Related Matters its proposed measures and practices that would expedite the movement and clearance of goods.

The order also directs the committee to coordinate with the Anti-Red Tape Authority for the implementation of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 “in relation to trade facilitation.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza