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Bureau of Customs

Bureau of Customs Introduction

The Bureau of Customs (BoC) in the Philippines, known as “Kawanihan ng Adwana” in Filipino, is a government agency under the Department of Finance. Established on February 6, 1902, during the American Colonial Era, it plays a crucial role in customs, excise, and gambling matters. With an annual budget of ₱2.58 billion in 2021, the BoC is headquartered at the POM Building in Port Area, Manila. The agency is led by Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio and operates with the mission to assess and collect customs revenues, prevent smuggling, facilitate international trade, and enforce customs laws and regulations.

Role of the Bureau of Customs in Facilitating International Trade
The Bureau of Customs (BoC) in the Philippines plays a vital role in facilitating international trade by ensuring the smooth movement of goods across borders. Some key functions of the BoC in this regard include:

  1. Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures: The BoC works to streamline and standardize customs procedures to make the movement of goods in international trade more efficient and less cumbersome.
  2. Border Control to Prevent Smuggling: One of the primary responsibilities of the BoC is to maintain border control to prevent the entry of smuggled goods, ensuring fair trade practices and compliance with regulations.
  3. Facilitation and Security of International Trade: The BoC implements an informed compliance program to facilitate and secure international trade and commerce, fostering a conducive environment for businesses to engage in global trade activities.
  4. Supervision and Control over Vessels and Aircraft: The BoC oversees the entrance and clearance of vessels and aircraft engaged in foreign commerce, ensuring compliance with customs regulations and safety protocols.
  5. Supervision and Control over Import and Export Cargoes: The BoC supervises and controls all import and export cargoes, including those landed or stored in various facilities, to protect government revenue and prevent the entry of contraband.

Overall, the Bureau of Customs plays a crucial role in promoting fair and compliant international trade practices while safeguarding the interests of the government and ensuring the security of the country’s borders.

Bureau of Customs

Specific Functions of the Bureau of Customs in the Philippines
The Bureau of Customs in the Philippines has several specific functions outlined under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (RA 10863). These functions include:

  1. Assessment and collection of customs revenues from imported goods and other dues, fees, charges, fines, and penalties accruing under the CMTA.
  2. Simplification and harmonization of customs procedures to facilitate the movement of goods in international trade.
  3. Border control to prevent the entry of smuggled goods.
  4. Prevention and suppression of smuggling and other customs fraud.
  5. Facilitation and security of international trade and commerce through an informed compliance program.
  6. Supervision and control over the entrance and clearance of vessels and aircraft engaged in foreign commerce.
  7. Supervision and control over the handling of foreign mails arriving in the Philippines for the purpose of collecting revenues and preventing the entry of contraband.
  8. Supervision and control on all import and export cargoes, landed or stored in piers, airports, terminal facilities, including container yards and freight stations for the protection of government revenue and prevention of entry of contraband.
  9. Conducting a compensation study to develop a competitive compensation and remuneration system to attract and retain highly qualified personnel while ensuring the Bureau’s financial soundness.
  10. Exercise of exclusive original jurisdiction over forfeiture cases under the CMTA.
  11. Enforcement of the CMTA and all other laws, rules, and regulations related to customs administration.

These functions highlight the Bureau of Customs’ critical role in revenue collection, trade facilitation, border security, and compliance enforcement to ensure the integrity of customs operations in the Philippines.

Bureau of Customs

Measures to Enhance Trade Facilitation and Customs Clearance Processes
The Bureau of Customs in the Philippines implements various measures to enhance trade facilitation and streamline customs clearance processes. Some of the key initiatives include:

  1. Automation and Digitalization: The BoC leverages technology to automate customs procedures, reduce paperwork, and expedite processing times. Electronic systems like the Electronic-to-Mobile (e2m) Customs System and the Customs Electronic Assessment System (CEAS) enhance efficiency and transparency in customs operations.
  2. Risk Management Strategies: By employing risk management techniques, the BoC focuses resources on high-risk shipments, speeding up clearance for compliant traders while intensifying scrutiny on potentially problematic consignments.
  3. Single Window System: The implementation of a Single Window System allows traders to submit all required documentation through a single electronic gateway, simplifying and accelerating the clearance process for imports and exports.
  4. Trade Facilitation Agreements: The Philippines’ adherence to trade facilitation agreements such as the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) promotes transparent, predictable, and efficient customs procedures, benefiting both traders and the economy.
  5. Capacity Building and Training: Continuous training for customs personnel on modern customs practices, risk management, and trade facilitation techniques enhances operational efficiency and compliance with international standards.
  6. Stakeholder Engagement: Collaborating with industry stakeholders, including importers, exporters, and customs brokers, fosters dialogue and feedback mechanisms to address challenges, improve processes, and ensure smooth trade flows.

By implementing these measures, the Bureau of Customs aims to create a business-friendly environment, reduce trade barriers, and facilitate the movement of goods across borders, ultimately promoting economic growth and competitiveness in the Philippines.

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