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Friday, January 23, 2009

Department of Finance endorses BoC proposal on trade facilitation to World Bank

Finance Secretary Margarito B. Teves formally endorses to World Bank the proposal paper of Bureau of Customs entitled “World Bank Technical Assistance Program to Support and Supplement the Secure Trade Facilitation Component of the 2008-2012 Strategic Plan of the Philippine Customs Service: A Proposal.”

The Bureau is hoping for the World Bank’s support to the program in order to receive technical and capacity building assistance from this international organization, particularly on the BoC’s push towards facilitating trade.

Moreover, Commissioner Morales added that “the endorsement of the BoC’s paper to the World Bank is indispensable because the vital projects proposed in this paper will accelerate the drive to create essential reforms that will provide a truly transparent, efficient, effective and world-class Customs Service”.

In the recent report of the World Bank entitled, “Doing Business 2009”, the Philippines ranked 58th out of 181 countries. In addition, the country has improved in two vital factors—time to export goods, which is reduced to 16 from 17 days and time to import goods, which declined from 18 to 16 days. The improvements in the fiscal activities of the country are attributed to the upgraded risk management and electronic data interchange system of the BoC.

Earlier in November 2008, a Donor’s Meeting was held as attended by representatives from the Bureau, World Bank, European Union, USAID, JICA and the Banker’s Association of the Philippines, convening on the needed immediate assistance for the crafting and issuance of implementing rules and regulations of the Electronic to Mobile Customs System (e2m Customs) of the Bureau of Customs. In the said meeting, the World Bank required the Bureau the aforementioned paper to study more other probable areas wherein they may assist the latter.

In a letter dated January 12, 2009, the Department of Finance stated that “these projects will improve the Philippines capacity to secure and facilitate international trade, be compliant with international standards and be at par with the world’s best.”

Secretary Teves concluded that “the assistance and support of World Bank will definitely sustain and strengthen the improvements in Customs for trade facilitation and security.”

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