Rules for Mindanao barter trade out in February, says DTI
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - January 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Rules for the revival of the barter trade system in Mindanao will be released by next month, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

 “Anytime next month, we will have the IRR (implementing rules and regulations). After that, we would be able to start the barter trade,” DTI Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman said.

He said the DTI has already conducted consultations for the rules which would cover allowable goods and their valuation under the barter system.

At present, he said valuation of goods under the barter system is still being discussed.

Last Oct.29, President Duterte signed Executive Order 64 which seeks to revive the barter system to promote growth and development in Mindanao.

Under the EO, the Mindanao Barter Council (MBC) would be set up to oversee the barter activities.

The MBC will be chaired by the DTI secretary and composed of the Mindanao Development Authority chairman and Bureau of Customs commissioner as vice chairpersons, as well as representatives from agencies such as the Department of Finance, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Agriculture, DTI- Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Maritime Industry Authority, Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine Ports Authority.

It would be attached to the DTI, and will have an office in Jolo, Sulu.

Apart from issuing rules and regulations on the mechanism for the valuation of goods, a list of allowable barter goods, as well as measures to prevent smuggling and circumvention of customs laws, the MBC would also be responsible for guidelines for the registration or accreditation of qualified traders authorized to engage in barter within the barter port,  including registration fees and facilitation of all documents to avail of the zero tariff benefits under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA).

The ATIGA which has been in place since 2010, removed import duties for 98.7 percent of products excluding rice, corn and sugar of Asean member states.

The MBC will be in place until the Bangsamoro government is organized and a new barter office is set up.

Macatoman said the barter system is expected to promote economic activity and help curb insurgency in Mindanao.

In addition, he said the barter system would decongest major seaports in the country, particularly in Manila and Cebu, and make it easier to trade with other countries part of the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, East Asean Growth Area).

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