Accreditation of VASPs subject of draft PH customs order

Accreditation of VASPs subject of draft PH customs order

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As mandated under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), a new order on the accreditation and regulation of information processors—also known as value-added service providers (VASPs)—has been released by the Department of Finance (DOF) and Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Accredited information processors (AIPs) are BOC-accredited ICT companies to whom the collection, holding, processing, or use of personal information of stakeholders is outsourced.

Currently, there are three AIPs or VASPs – e-Konek Pilipinas, Cargo Data Exchange Center, and InterCommerce Network Services. They will continue providing their services until their accreditation expires. Any new accreditation will have to follow the rules in the proposed customs administrative order (CAO).

Position papers on the draft order will be accepted until March 29, the same day as the public hearing on it.

The draft order will implement several sections of the CMTA and other relevant policies of BOC. It will amend CAO No. 2-2007, which deals with the accreditation, establishment, and operation of VASPs, and supersede the draft presented to stakeholders last January on the accrediting VASPs.

“Given the government’s thrust of continuously providing better, efficient and reliable front-line services to the trading community through partnership with the private sector, the BOC shall continue to adhere to the practice of using Accredited Information Processors (AIPs) as a link to deliver world-class-quality front-line Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services to BOC’s clients,” the draft said.

The proposed ruling will apply to all types of electronic transactions relating to BOC’s automated cargo clearance processing system, including those on registering BOC stakeholders; lodging import declarations (consumption, warehousing, transshipment, and informal; lodging export declarations; and transmitting information on raw materials liquidation, surety bonds, payment, online release, and advance manifest.

To facilitate the accreditation process, a technical support team (TST) composed of a chairman, five members, and a secretariat, will be formed. The TST will evaluate the published accreditation criteria for AIPs and recommend any amendments to them for the approval of the deputy commissioner of the Management Information System and Technology Group (MISTG).

The accredited AIP will undergo a six-month probationary period for technical evaluation before the TST decides whether to grant it full accreditation status.

The accreditation of the selected AIP is good for three years, which includes the probationary period, and may be renewed every three years.

Under the draft order, the AIP will determine its fee structure based on market conditions and system sustainability requirements, among other factors. Any changes to the fee structure must be approved by the MISTG deputy commissioner and Customs commissioner. The BOC will not collect these fees on behalf of the AIP.

The AIP, under existing agreements or regulations, will develop the frontline ICT system and establish the necessary infrastructure and telecommunications facilities to allow for the electronic transactions required.

The BOC-AIP gateway, to be operated by the BOC, will be the sole connectivity of AIP to the BOC system.

BOC clients, in turn, are to be connected to the BOC-AIP Gateway via their chosen AIP, which has the facility for the processing of import and export entries.

The AIP’s facility should be accessible to duly registered importers, exporters, designated brokers, and other stakeholders. – Roumina Pablo

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