Government grants incentives to medical equipment suppliers

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - April 8, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Finance (DOF) are providing incentives to manufacturers and importers of essential products like medicines and medical equipment through exemptions from tax, duties and other fees for imports of products and raw materials, packaging and capital equipment during the enhanced community quarantine period.

Under Joint Memorandum Circular 20-02 issued by the DTI and DOF, imports of medicines identified critical by the Department of Health, medical equipment and devices, personal protective equipment, surgical equipment and supplies, as well as laboratory equipment and its reagents are exempt from import duties, taxes and other fees.

Imports of raw materials, packaging, capital equipment, spare parts and accessories for the production of medicines and medical equipment are likewise exempt from payment of duties, taxes and fees.

Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act authorizes the DTI and DOF to liberalize the grant of incentives for the manufacture and importation of critical equipment or supplies.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the grant of incentives is intended to ensure disruptions in the supply chain are minimized and enterprises get a reprieve from commonly imposed taxes.

Through the move, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the government is helping manufacturers, especially those partnering with medical institutions and hospitals, procure or produce essential goods at reduced costs by providing them with tax breaks during the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 crisis.

“This is the least the Duterte administration could do to help our healthcare frontliners win the battle against COVID-19 by ensuring their access to personal protective equipment and other necessities to protect themselves and to medicines and medical supplies to treat their patients,” he said.

For the timely release of imports, the JMC provides that the Bureau of Customs would have a super green lane for the covered products.

Final assessment of goods will be done within 24 hours from online filing of goods declaration.

The JMC also said the export requirement imposed by investment promotion agencies for exporters manufacturing the covered products is suspended.

As such, local sales of the exporters would be treated as “export sales”.

The JMC takes immediate effect and will remain during the effectivity of RA 11469.

“We urge our partners in the private sector for their continued understanding on the importance of the unimpeded production and importation of these essential products,” Lopez said.

With the continued cooperation of the private sector and other involved agencies, DTI and DOF are hopeful of reducing the spread of the virus, as well as its long-term impact on the economy.

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