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Customs ready to implement JPEPA today

Philippine Star, Philippines

Customs ready to implement JPEPA today

By Evelyn Z. Macairan

11 December 2008

Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales said yesterday that even if it leads to a loss in revenue collection, the agency is ready to implement the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

Morales said today is the first day in the implementation of the bilateral trade agreement that covers the trading of goods, Customs procedures and other policies between Japan and the Philippines.

“We have just secured a copy of the new tariff from the Senate and we will just be uploading these new adjustments on our computers and we will be all set for the full implementation of the law,” Morales said.

But he said that even if there are already new tariff rates, they still have to coordinate with the Tariff Commission and formally request for a copy of the new tariff book.

He also admitted that the removal of tariffs on imported products from Japan would affect their revenue collection. For next year, the Bureau of Customs is ordered to collect more than P317 billion.

Morales said, “We cannot do anything about it because JPEPA is a bilateral agreement between the Philippines and Japan, and the effect is that there is a lot of zeroing of tariff, there are a lot, and as of now we have not yet counted but almost all of the tariff have been zeroed.”

He requested the Finance Services Group to prepare an analysis to determine JPEPA’s impact on BoC’s collection. This would then be submitted to the Department of Finance (DoF).

“The economic managers need to consider this, because there are a lot of items. Normally, Customs collects 10-to three- percent tariff and now these will be zeroed,” he said.

The JPEPA has long been criticized because it reportedly contains “unconstitutional provisions” that would give Japan traders an edge over their local counterparts. In the agreement, no tariff would be imposed on almost all import products from Japan.