Exporters, importers, and other industry players will find all the trade information they need right at their fingertips with the planned launch in October of the Philippine National Trade Repository (PNTR).
An official from the Bureau of Import Services said BIS is spearheading the creation of the facility that will be the main repository of trade data intended to help enterprises conduct business with more ease and efficiency.
“The PNTR is simply a Web-based portal (that will) become the single source of accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive information relating to trade,” said Sherwin Prose Castañeda, assistant director at the BIS, a government agency under the Department of Trade and Industry.
“If you want to know about regulations on imports, exports, documentary requirements of trade and regulatory government agencies, you will find it in the Philippine National Trade Repository,” he added.
Castañeda, who spoke at a recent briefing on raising the competitiveness of small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in global value chains, added that the program will benefit SMEs by promoting transparency and ease of doing business.
“We believe that if the information is readily available, especially to SMEs, we can reduce costs because we have easy access to information and so doing business becomes easy for us.”
Castañeda added that the PNTR is a Philippine obligation, much like the National Single Window (NSW), under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) that requires the establishment of the ASEAN Trade Repository linking all the NTRs of member states.
The PNTR is also the government’s response to similar commitments under the recent World Trade Organization’s trade facilitation agreement (TFA), RP-U.S. FTA, and the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade repository.
Said Castañeda, “In effect, we launch this by next month, this will be our compliance to four international trade agreements.”
He added: “The portal is not yet finished. We intend to launch it October 28, 2015.”
He also explained that unlike the NSW which “provides an access for you to do transactions with the government,” the NTR is purely about access to trade information without any means to do online business.
As an example, Castañeda said an importer can go to the repository to check if a certain commodity is a regulated good, which regulatory bodies oversee such products, documentary requirements, and timeframe and fees for the release of the import permit.
All NTRs, including the Philippines, should have nine key elements under the ATIGA, he said. The first three-tariff nomenclature, Most Favored Nation Tariffs/preferential tariffs, and rules of origin-are to be linked to the Enhanced Philippine Tariff Finder newly launched by the Philippine Tariff Commission.
The rest are non-tariff measures, national trade and Customs laws and rules, procedures and documentary requirements, administrative rulings, best practices in trade facilitation, and list of authorized economic operators.
The official pointed out that national trade and Customs laws and rules, and procedures and documentary requirements are two of the most important elements for SMEs.
Castañeda said the PNTR also went beyond the required nine to include information on accreditation requirements and procedures for importers and exporters, as well as enquiry points for agencies (point persons to contact for clarifications). There will also be news updates especially on regulatory requirements and revisions. PHILEXPORT News and Features
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