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Gov’t rolling out single platform for traders

MANILA, Philippines -  The government is pilot-testing next month a platform that seeks to modernize and fast-track the processing of import and export permits, the Department of Finance (DOF) said over the weekend.

In an interview, Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will initially roll out TradeNet next month, a single online platform that will connect 66 agencies and 10 economic zones involved in regulating trade in the country.

“The pilot testing will be in July. If it’s okay we will go into production by September. The investment will be made by DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology),” Beltran, who heads the DOF’s anti-red tape team, said.

“We will also connect it to the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) window by December,” he said.

Beltran said TradeNet is part of the DOF’s anti-red tape measures, and seeks to expedite the processing of import and export permits and accreditation from months to three days, or even less.

“We will reduce it to three days, then two days, until it eventually reaches only one hour, that is the objective,” Beltran said.

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The undersecretary said TradeNet will make it possible for traders to apply for their accreditation or permit online, and enable regulatory agencies to receive applications and send feedback real time.

“To make it work, the importer will go to his computer, then it will go to the import regulator, then the regulator will throw it to the BOC, then to the importer,” Beltran said as an example.

According to a document provided by Beltran, agencies under the Department of Agriculture (DA) will be the first to be on-board the new system as they are the most “complex.”

The order of the agencies to be connected will also depend on the revenue contribution of the commodities and the number of documents processed every year.

Upon the start of his administration, President Duterte has vowed to crack down on red tape, and ordered the reduction of the processing time and removal of unnecessary or redundant requirements of government agencies.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez earlier said reducing rate tape will enhance business and investment inflows and in turn, create more jobs and improve productivity. He said this move is therefore one of the measures that need to be implemented to enhance inclusive growth and reduce poverty in the Philippines.

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