The Philippine Strategic Trade Management Office (STMO) will start accepting applications for registration to export strategic goods by next month.
STMO director Atty. Luis Catibayan, in an announcement on September 16, said the office will accept by batches and on a first-come, first-serve basis the applications of persons, natural or juridical, operating within the Philippines who engage or intend to engage in the export of strategic goods.
The application is in line with requirements under the Strategic Trade Management Act (STMA), which aims to regulate the export, import, transit and transshipment, reexport and reassignment of strategic goods, software and technology and the provision of related services to prevent WMD from proliferating.
Strategic goods are products that, due to security reasons or international agreements, are considered to be of such military importance that their export is subject to specific conditions or prohibited altogether.
Submission of complete requirements will be accepted on October 14 for the first 10 companies to file for an application, while for the next 15 companies, it will be on November 20. Submission of complete requirements by the third batch, comprised of 20 companies, will be accepted on January 6, 2020; and submission will be open to all starting February 7, 2020.
Applicants must download the application form, then fill it in, print, sign, scan, and email together with other requirements to STMO (email@example.com). They should also send a hard copy of all documents to the Strategic Trade Registration and Authorization Division at the STMO office in Tara Building, Makati City.
Catibayan said applications will be processed once STMO acknowledges the complete set of requirements. The list of requirements may be viewed at https://www.dti.gov.ph/business/strategictrade.
Catibayan noted that registration is a requirement prior to filing the application for authorization/license.
“Thus this process will not delay any ongoing cross-border trade of strategic goods identified in the National Strategic Goods List [NSGL],” he added.
The application requirement is pursuant to STMA, Republic Act No. 10697 (An Act Preventing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction [WMD] by Managing the Trade in Strategic Goods, the Provision of Related Service, and for Other Purposes). R.A. 10697 was signed in 2016 to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 1540. Its implementing rules and regulations were signed only last September 2018.
The UN resolution “imposes binding obligations on all states to adopt legislation to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and their means of delivery, and establish appropriate domestic controls over related materials to prevent their illicit trafficking.”
STMO, an office attached to the Department of Trade and Industry, serves as the executive and technical agency of the government in establishing the systems for managing the trade of strategic goods pursuant to STMA.
Under the STMO’s implementing rules and regulations, registration is required before one can apply for authorization to export, import, reexport, or provide services related to strategic goods.
Any person who engages or intends to engage in the export, import, and reexport of strategic goods, or provides related services such as brokering, financing, transporting, or giving technical assistance must register directly with STMO prior to applying for an authorization or a governmental end-use assurance.
The authorization permits only a specific transaction, or a series of transactions, as described in the application and any supporting documents. An application may be approved in whole or in part, or limited by conditions, or have other restrictions appearing in the authorization itself.
Under the NSGL, which is a list of the strategic goods that need authorization, there are three annexes: military goods, dual-use goods, and nationally controlled goods.
Military goods refer to goods, software, and technology that are specifically designed, developed, configured, adapted, or modified for military end-use.
Dual-use goods refer to items, software, and technology which are intended for both civil and military end-use, or are used to develop, produce, handle, operate, maintain, store, detect, identify, or disseminate WMD or their means of delivery.
Nationally controlled goods, on the other hand, refer to strategic goods placed under unilateral controls for reasons of national security, foreign policy, antiterrorism, crime control, and public safety. However, STMO has no goods under this category yet.
STMO supervising trade-industry development specialist Engr. Lorenz Anthony Fernando earlier said the law is being eyed for implementation, particularly on exports, in the middle of 2020.
Fernando clarified that STMA is focused more on exports than imports, as the latter is already regulated by other government agencies such as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Philippine National Police-Firearms and Explosives Division.
“Whatever [the other agencies] are regulating, we will not regulate it,” he assured.
This is why the first phase of implementing the STMA will start with exports, before gradually covering transit/transhipment, reexport/reassignment, related services (e.g. transporting, brokering), and imports.
He said not all items in the NSGL require import authorization; only highly sensitive items and those covered by international conventions and treaties, such as chemical weapons and arms, do. – Roumina Pablo