The Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) and the Future Role of Customs Brokers
The Philippine government has long recognized the need to refine its import laws and regulations. Hence, on May 31, 2016, then-President Benigno Aquino, Jr. signed the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) for the benefit of importers, local and foreign investors, consumers, and the Bureau of Customs.
A Move towards Transparency and Efficiency
The CMTA law aims to modernize the clearance process for imported goods — including a thrust towards paperless processing — and to align the Philippine import process with 140 other Customs administrations. More importantly, this is in compliance with the Revised Kyoto Convention, to which the Philippines is one of the signatories.
The law had a resounding effect on the customs brokerage industry. Understandably, many customs brokers opposed the provision, which makes liaising through customs brokers optional instead of mandatory by 2018. This will supposedly simplify the importation process for importers and exporters to the Philippines, but the absence of experienced customs brokers may actually make things more complicated for them.
Brokerage Roles “Not Terminated”
Customs brokers have an obvious edge: extensive knowledge of import laws, tariffs, and existing contacts in the BOC and other relevant government offices. Mr. Dennis del Pilar, previous president of the Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) and currently one of its directors, also assured customs brokers that the profession is not terminated. BOC continues to acknowledge the authority and role of customs brokers.
At Cheska Freight, we are confident that our services will continue to be valuable to clients and their respective businesses. In addition to customs brokerage services, we also facilitate safe and hassle-free cargo transport within, to, and from the country. Being a one-stop-shop has helped streamline our clients’ business processes, and we are happy to continue being of service.
Safeguarding Philippine Ports from Technical Smuggling
With the law’s brokerage provision not yet in effect, customs brokers will continue to play its role in facilitating the coming and going of goods in the country. More importantly, the industry provides a layer of protection against technical smuggling or the fraudulent declaration of goods imported. Losing this screening stage is one of the main reasons why the CCBI is lobbying against the CMTA provision on customs brokers.
Regardless of the outcome, we at Cheska Freight will continue to offer reliable freight forwarding and customs brokerage services in the Philippines. Get in touch with us today.