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A Guide to Compliance with Tariff and Customs Code with the Help of Customs Brokers


Importing goods into the Philippines can be a complex process that requires a good understanding of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, as well as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) that was enacted in 2016. Navigating the customs clearance process can be challenging, but with the help of customs brokers, importers can ensure compliance with the regulations and streamline their importation process.

The Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines is a comprehensive set of rules and regulations governing the importation of goods into the country. It outlines the procedures, requirements, and duties that importers need to comply with in order to import goods legally. The CMTA, on the other hand, is a recent law that aims to modernize and streamline the customs processes in the Philippines, making it more efficient and transparent.

Here are some basic knowledge on how to import in the Philippines based on the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines and the CMTA:

  1. Obtain an Importer's Clearance Certificate (ICC): Before importing goods into the Philippines, importers need to secure an ICC from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The ICC serves as a proof of registration with the BIR and is required for customs clearance.

  2. Classify goods based on the Tariff and Customs Code: Goods are classified based on the Harmonized System (HS) code, which is an internationally recognized system for classifying goods. Importers need to determine the correct HS code for their goods, as it determines the applicable customs duties, taxes, and other import requirements.

  3. Prepare and submit import documents: Importers need to prepare and submit various import documents to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for clearance. These documents may include a commercial invoice, packing list, bill of lading/airway bill, and other relevant documents depending on the nature of the goods being imported.

  4. Pay import duties and taxes: Importers are required to pay import duties, taxes, and other charges based on the HS code and the value of the goods being imported. The rates of duties and taxes are specified in the Tariff and Customs Code, and importers need to ensure that they are correctly calculated and paid.

  5. Comply with import restrictions and regulations: Some goods are subject to import restrictions and regulations in the Philippines, such as special permits, licenses, or certifications. Importers need to ensure that their goods comply with these requirements and obtain the necessary permits or certifications before importing.

  6. Work with a customs broker: Customs brokers are licensed professionals who are knowledgeable about the Tariff and Customs Code and the CMTA. They can assist importers in navigating the customs clearance process, ensuring compliance with regulations, and expediting the release of goods from customs. Customs brokers can also help importers calculate and pay the correct import duties and taxes, prepare and submit import documents, and handle any customs-related issues that may arise.

In conclusion, importing goods into the Philippines requires a good understanding of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines and the CMTA. Compliance with regulations, accurate classification of goods, proper documentation, and payment of import duties and taxes are essential for a successful importation process. Engaging the services of a customs broker can greatly help importers ensure compliance and streamline their importation process, saving time and avoiding potential issues with customs clearance. Importers should be aware of the import restrictions and regulations, and work closely with customs brokers to ensure a smooth and efficient importation process in the Philippines.

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