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Monday, July 22, 2024

Cross-border electronic invoicing seen to end smuggling

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Finance Secretary Ralph Recto expressed optimism the implementation of a verification and cross-border electronic invoicing system would help end smuggling, misdeclaration and undervaluation of imports.

Recto convened the inaugural committee meeting to operationalize the Pre-border Technical Verification and Cross-border Electronic Invoicing Systems under Administrative Order (AO) No. 23, Series of 2024 on June 11, 2024 at the Department of Finance (DOF) in Manila.

“Grounded by AO No. 23, series of 2024, we take the first steps today towards achieving a fully-digitalized border protection system in the country where no import goes unnoticed and unaccounted for,” he said.

AO No. 23 was issued by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on May 13, 2024 to expedite the inspection of all imported commodities entering the Philippines through digital and integrated pre-border technical verification and cross-border electronic invoicing.

It aims to strengthen national security, safeguard consumer rights and protect people against substandard and hazardous imported goods.

AO No. 23 will be implemented in three phases. The first phase will cover agricultural goods; phase two will focus on non-agricultural goods with health and safety issues; and the third phase involves other goods with misdeclaration avoiding duties and taxes.

Pre-border Technical Verification stands for the safety testing and inspection of all imported commodities prior to shipment. This entails the verification of the declared specifications, description, weight, volume, and country of origin.

Meanwhile, the Cross-border Electronic Invoicing System will be used to create electronic invoices to monitor international trade transactions of all imported goods, and will be shared in real time across relevant government agencies for transparency.

AO No. 23 created the Committee for Pre-border Technical Verification and Cross-border Electronic Invoicing (CPTVCEI) chaired by the DOF secretary.

Recto said with the systems in place, the country is now one step closer to putting an end to smuggling, misdeclaration and undervaluation.

He urged the members of the committee to lend their full cooperation, commitment and expertise to the success of the crucial initiative.

“Remember, according to AO No. 23, we have two years to complete and fully implement the systems. So, let us all buckle down to work and get this started. Delay is not an option,” he said.

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