Philippine General Information
A key program for the Philippine government for realizing the concrete benefits that can be derived from trade facilitation is the National Single Window (NSW). The NSW is envisioned to be the environment that will allow parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information in a secure, electronic single entry point to fulfil all import, export and transit related regulatory requirement in respect of each transaction.
Before the ASW Agreement was signed by the Member States, the Philippines already volunteered to be the pilot country for the implementation of the NSW for Cargo Clearance, during the 3rd Inter-Agency Task Force Meeting on ASW held in Manila sometime April 2005. This paved the way for the passage of EO 482 on December 27, 2005,”Creating the National Single Window Task Force for Cargo Clearance” (EO 482).
Under EO 482, a PNSW Task Force for Cargo Clearance (PNSW Task Force) was created, composed of a Steering Committee (PNSW-SC) and a Technical Working Group (PNSW-TWG).
The PNSW-SC is mainly responsible for setting the policy guidelines for the creation and operation of the NSW and the ASW, and ensuring their efficient implementation in the country. The PNSW-TWG is responsible for implementing the policies and directives of the PNSW-SC, identifying a common set of data, information and processes to be standardized and integrated, and at the same time ensuring data integrity and security, and delineating the roles and responsibilities of each government agency participating in the PNSW project.
The first phase of the Philippine National Single Window (PNSW) project was started in October 2009 and included the installation and configuration of the TRIPS™ Single Window together with the connection of 30 agencies that issue permits, licenses and clearances for import or export purposes. A further 10 agencies that have a need to access NSW data for monitoring and reference purposes, were also included.
The PNSW implementation has already brought improvements as measured by the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) pertaining to the approval time for issuing licenses, permits and clearances to traders. Government agencies are also now using the system to standardize their processes and decentralize operations which is improving customer service throughout the Philippines.
To date, the PNSW has a total of 17,927 registered traders using the system and 1,282,746 processed transactions. Electronic viewing and tagging of cargo import/export permits and clearances were initially rolled out to MICP and POM ports. Recently, the e-Payment Module of the PNSW has been launched and the pilot agencies were the Sugar Regulatory Administration and National Telecommunications Commission.
On the Legal and Regulatory environment, a legal gap analysis was conducted and attended by representatives from 30 government agencies. The presentation of the Final Report of the legal gap analysis was held on 3 December 2012. The Final Report will be shared with the Philippine Congress to facilitate the drafting of the laws to address the legal gaps identified.
On February 10, 2012, almost all participating government agencies formally signified their cooperation towards the successful implementation of the PNSW by signing the PNSW MOA. Under the PNSW MOA, the participating government agencies agreed to provide technical and legal personnel and establish information sharing procedures between and among themselves in order to carry out the objectives of the PNSW.
The first phase of the NSW program was completed on 21st October 2010. To deliver its full potential, the PNSW has to meet the challenges the way data is being exchanged and processed between government agencies and how any licenses, authorizations or other documentation relevant to the free movement of a consignment is delivered back to the trader. The PNSW’s Phase 2 Project involves government wide rationalization, standardization, and harmonization of all trade data and enhancement of trade portals. It will also link the NSW to the ASW, which is PH’s commitment to ASEAN integration as outlined in the AEC 2015 Blueprint.
The Philippine update on National Single Window
Transacting public involved in trade has to regularly prepare and submit large volumes of information and documents to government agencies to comply with import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements. This information often has to be submitted through various different agencies, each with their own specific process and paper forms. These extensive requirements, together with associated compliance costs, constitute a serious burden to both government agencies and the transacting public.
The Philippine’s approach to address this problem is the establishment of a National Single Window whereby trade related information and documents need only be submitted once and at a single entry point via the internet. This will enhance the availability and handling of information, expedite and simplify information flows between trade and government agencies which will result in a greater sharing of relevant data across governmental systems, bringing meaningful gains to all parties involved in cross-border trade. The National Single Window will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of trade regulatory controls and will reduce costs of doing business both for governments and transacting public. Another point of note is that an additional security feature of the NSW implementation will ensure that there will be no more fake permits, clearances or licenses allowed in the goods clearance process.
The Philippine National Single Window (NSW)
The Philippine National Single Window (PNSW) is therefore a solution for trade facilitation that can deliver immediate benefits to all parties involved as it inter-connects government agencies involved in the processing of import and export shipments. It is a computerized internet-based system that allows parties involved in trade to lodge information and documents with a single entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements. It is a Philippine Government Project which shall minimize the risk associated in the ASEAN Single Window implementation and provide mitigation and transition plan for the full ASW implementation. It shall also resolve the costly and time-consuming processing for imports and exports documentation required in businesses.
The PNSW system is mainly concerned with the application and processing of permits, licenses and clearances for import and export. It records the final results of the applications (approved or rejected) and links them electronically to the Customs system for the validation and verification of importation/exportation. The services provided include:
- Electronic submission of application forms
- Viewable status in the system dashboard
- Notification via email of application status
- Electronic attachments of supporting documents
- Mobile and electronic payment
- PDF documents using digital signatures
- Executive Dashboard and Management Reports
Currently there are ninety-five (95) application forms for import/export permits, licenses & clearances held within the system although during the next phase of the project, these will be rationalized standardized and harmonized.
The project is being implemented through the mandate of Executive Order 482 dated December 27, 2005 (Creating the National Single Window Task Force for Cargo Clearance). Recognizing the necessity to implement and operate the PNSW, the forty (40) Trade Regulatory Government Agencies involved in cargo clearance have strengthen their shared responsibilities to implement the PNSW through a Memorandum of Agreement signed on February 10, 2012.
Towards The ASEAN Single Window
- The Protocol of the Legal Framework to Implement the ASW (PLF)
To progress its commitment towards ASEAN integration, the Philippines, through the Secretary of Finance recently signed the Protocol of the Legal Framework to implement the ASW (PLF). Currently, the PLF has been deposited to the Department of Foreign Affairs for domestic ratification.
A National Workshop on the Protocol for the Legal Framework (PLF) to implement the Asean Single Window (ASW) was conducted last June 2015 with the assistance from the US- ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment (ACTI) Project. It helped the Philippines NSW participating government officials and representatives from the private sector understand the provisions of the PLF and guided them in aligning domestic laws with the ASW regional legal framework for the eventual ASW live operation in exchanging cross-border electronic messages.
- PNSW and ASEAN Single Window Briefing for SMEs
As a continued support for further global trade liberalization to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the Bureau of Customs and the Department of Trade and Industry organized a briefing session entitled “Increasing SME Competitiveness in the Global Value Chain through Seamless Regional Integration” last September 2015. It helped Philippine SMEs understand how the PNSW/ASW Systems may provide the benefits of non-face-to-face processing through paperless trade facilitation within the ASEAN region.
- Business Process Simplification and Data Standardization and Harmonization
Trade Regulatory Government Agencies involved in the processing and exchange of export, import, or transit documentations are in the process of ensuring uniformity and consistency of data and processes for all participating entities exchanging information in the PNSW, which is critical for electronic data processing and exchange in the PNSW and for exchange of data with other Member States through the ASW.
A National Consultation on Understanding and Reconciliation of Permits, Licenses, Certificates and Import Entries was spearheaded by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs last November 2015 with and end-in-view of reconciling trade regulatory government agency policies against the internal trade policies within the Bureau of Customs. It ensured that process review will be prioritized so that technology recommendations toward ASEAN integration can be based on its needs and results.
- Technical Development
In line with the commitments and agreements of the ASEAN Member States to establish and implement an ASEAN Single Window (ASW) and the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2015 Integration, the Philippines recently submitted its Letter of Intent to participate in the ASEAN Single Window Operation by joining the ASW live operation by 2nd quarter of 2016.
The Philippines is reviewing the necessary technical readiness requirements to interface with the ASW Single Window enabling infrastructure that will provide an equitable and predictable border regulation, efficient and integrated trade, and predictable trade transactions. Once done, it will install the ASW gateway to achieve interoperability among AMS and support the operations of the ASW regional operations services.
The current updates of Philippines National Single Window
The Philippine Bureau of Customs is still finalizing its procurement process for the new customs system with an integrated National Single Window. However, the Philippines have few updates:
1) Philippine Customs request for technical assistance on ASW readiness/assessment from US-ACTI Will commence on April 17, 2017. Target Go Live will be on Dec 2017;
2) Philippine Customs procurement on a new automated customs system has started. Terms of Reference for the project is being finalized. The project is designed to deliver the necessary solution needed to join the ASW and implement a new National Single Window; and
3) The Philippine Department of Finance and the Department of Information and Communications Technology has started on the development of the Philippine TradeNet. This is a system which will provide common platform to all Philippine Government agencies involved in trade clearance. Currently discussions are being undertaken with the Customs and Agriculture Department for the immediate implementation of requirements in order to comply with our commitment to the ASW. TRADENET will possible provide the National Single Window solutions for the Philippines.