BOC tells dealers to secure 'certificate of origin' following RCEP implementation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 6) — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has issued guidelines for the preferential tariff treatment under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partner (RCEP) deal, stressing the need for importers and exporters to get "Certificates of Origin" for the transport of goods.

EXPLAINER: What is RCEP? Will PH benefit from it?

In a statement on Monday, the BOC said the guidelines outlined in the Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 12-2023 was signed by its Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio and took effect on June 2.

The agency said importers must secure the official document and a declaration of origin from exporters authorized by the Philippines to qualify for the RCEP tariff rates.

Certificates of Origin are needed to accompany goods when transported between member countries, per the RCEP agreement.

"This official document attests the country of origin of the goods, allowing customs authorities, importers, and exporters to monitor the movement of goods within the RCEP trading bloc," the BOC said.

The BOC ordered its Export Coordination Division (ECD) to verify certificates of origins and applications for "Approved Exporter status."

"The final determination on the rate of duty shall be based on the assessment of the submitted documents from the importers," it said.

Exporters, meanwhile, must submit an application with the ECD complete with permits and supporting documents such as an export declaration, commercial invoice, and bill of lading or airway bill for the issuance of a certificate of origin for the RCEP.

The RCEP is considered the world's largest trade deal, covering 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), along with Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.

It is designed to eliminate tariff rates or the taxes imposed on imported products on 90% of goods between the signatories within 20 years.

The mega-trade pact took effect in the Philippines on June 2 after the government deposited the instrument of ratification last April 3.

READ: Regional trade deal takes effect; safeguards in place vs. possible spike in imports

The BOC said the country has retained its existing preferential tariff rates for 98.1% of the 1,718 agricultural tariff lines, and 82.7% of the 8,102 industrial tariff lines.

"Out of the 1,685 agricultural tariff lines that are being preserved at present rates, 1,426 will be maintained at a zero rate, while 154 will continue to be charged at their existing most favored nation rates, and will therefore not be included in any form of tariff concessions," it said.

"In cases where the RCEP preferential tariff rate is higher than the applied rate at the time of importation, the importer shall be allowed to apply for a refund of any excess duties and taxes paid for originating goods," it added.