Rules on import, export of goods using ATA Carnet laid down

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With the launch of the ATA Carnet System in the country next month, it is important for those planning to apply for an ATA Carnet to know the guidelines on the implementation of the system in the Philippines. 

Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 02-2022 of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) prescribes the rules and regulations on the importation or exportation of conditionally duty- and- tax-free goods using ATA Carnets.

In general, importations into the Philippines are subject to duties and taxes. However, some goods may be allowed temporary admission with relief from the payment of duties and taxes under certain conditions. This is made possible under the World Customs Organization’s Customs Convention on Temporary Admission, also called the Istanbul Convention, which provides the mechanism for implementing the ATA Carnet system.

The ATA Carnet system allows the passage or free movement of goods temporarily admitted into a customs territory and conditionally free from duties and taxes. The goods are covered by temporary admission papers called the ATA Carnet or “passport for goods.”

The Philippines acceded to the Istanbul Convention on April 28, 2021 and became a contracting party in January 2022, the Convention taking effect in the Philippines on April 17, 2022.

In relation to these developments, the BOC issued CAO 02-2022 dated March 28, 2022 to provide the rules and regulations for implementing the ATA Carnet system in the country.

The Philippines will roll out the system on July 15, 2024, with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) as the authorized national issuing and guaranteeing association (NIGA) for the country.

Section 11 of CAO 02-2022 enumerates the goods that are eligible for temporary admission in the Philippines. These include the following:

•    Goods for display or use at exhibitions or fairs, meetings or similar events
•    Professional equipment for the media/press or cinematographic equipment
•    Containers, pallets, packings, samples and other goods for commercial operation
•    Goods in connection with a manufacturing operation such as matrices, blocks, plates, measuring and checking instruments, and special tools and instruments
•    Goods for educational, scientific, cultural, sports, medical, and humanitarian purposes, among others
•    Travelers personal effects and goods imported for sports purposes
•    Goods for humanitarian purposes such as medical, surgical and laboratory equipment and relief consignments
•    Animals in relation to dressage, training, breeding, veterinary treatment, testing, rescue operations, and entertainment, among others

For the enumerated goods to be granted temporary admission in the Philippines, the following conditions must be complied with: the goods must be imported for a specific purpose; the goods must be intended for re-exportation within the minimum period specified under the Istanbul Convention; and the goods shall not undergo any change except normal depreciation due to their use.

Meanwhile, according to CAO 02-2022, goods covered by the Istanbul Convention but are not accepted in the Philippines are the following:

•    ATA Carnet for postal traffic
•    Packings and articles that by their nature are unsuitable for any purpose other than advertising for specific articles or publicity for a specific purpose
•    While scientific and pedagogic material is accepted, submission of Customs document is required
•    Tourist publicity materials
•    Goods imported as frontier traffic
•    Means of transport
•    Animals for transhumance or grazing or for performance of work or transport

The CAO states that the BOC must accept the ATA Carnet in place of the regular Single Administrative Document (SAD) or Informal Declaration and Entry (BOC Form No. 177) for goods temporarily imported into the country.

For the importation of goods into the Philippines, the NIGA is authorized to issue temporary admission papers from the country of supply or exportation. Hence, the ATA Carnet application must be filed with the issuing association of the country where the subject goods will come from.

For the exportation of goods from the Philippines, the PCCI will issue the ATA Carnet. The chamber can also co-guarantee the importation of goods for temporary admission to the Philippines.

The PCCI shall have the authority to issue the ATA Carnet, which will be valid for one year. Once the ATA Carnet has been issued, no more extra items can be added to the list of goods enumerated.

Entrepreneurs and exporters wanting to access more markets through trade shows will save time and money through the ATA Carnet.

With the ATA Carnet, salesmen, exhibitors, and other business travellers can make advance customs arrangements at a predetermined cost, visit several countries, use the ATA Carnet for several trips during its one-year validity, and return to their home country with their goods without problems or delays.

The Philippines also benefits from being part of the ATA Carnet chain as importers will be allowed to bring in goods covered under the Istanbul Convention conditionally duty- and tax-free. For its part, the BOC will no longer need additional time and resources to process the temporary admission of scientific, professional and other goods and equipment.

3. APEC trade seen rebounding in 2024

Trade is expected to grow 0.6 percent to 12.6 percent across Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies this year after contracting in 2023.

In an APEC bulletin, APEC Policy Support Unit director Carlos Kuriyama, analyst Rhea Crisologo Hernando and researcher Glacer Niño Vasquez said projections paint a picture of robust recovery in 2024 as bright prospects seen for trade in the APEC region in the near term.

Kuriyama, Hernando and Vasquez said the regional average is estimated to reach 4 percent, higher than forecasts for global trade.  

“This favorable trend is expected to continue in 2025, underpinned by resilient supply chains and a more stable economic growth,” they said.

Merchandise trade contracted in 2023 as slower economic growth gave rise to economic uncertainty, in turn affecting spending decisions and translating into sluggish demand.

Additionally, the accumulation of restrictive and unpredictable trade policies such as anti-dumping measures and countervailing duties continued their upward trend, further exacerbating trade activity, the authors said.

“A glimmer of hope emerges through trade facilitation. Recent data indicate that the region is actively implementing 551 trade-facilitating measures, providing promising avenues to counter the adverse effects of trade constraints,” they said.

Kuriyama, Hernando and Vasquez said the value of APEC merchandise exports and imports in 2023 reversed by -6.0 percent and -6.7 percent respectively, after expanding in 2021-2022.

The volume of merchandise trade followed the same declining trend, with exports growing marginally by 0.3 percent while imports contracted by 1.4 percent during the same period, they said.

In the face of global uncertainties and volatile commodity markets, the authors underscored the importance of multilateral approaches in promoting free and fair trade and investment across the Asia-Pacific.

“Indeed, fostering collective action to keep trade open, ensure global stability, and address complex and multiple challenges will fortify APEC economies against prevailing headwinds that threaten to diminish the gains made post-pandemic,” they said.

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