The Philippine Strategic Trade Management Office (STMO) recently released implementing guidelines for the registration of traders, transport companies, and other service providers that import, export, and move strategic goods. Registration will be required beginning the first quarter of 2019.
Strategic goods are products considered to be of such military importance–due to security reasons or international agreements–that their export is either subject to specific conditions or prohibited altogether. Under the National Strategic Goods List (NSGL), these goods come under three categories: military, dual-use, and nationally controlled goods.
The impending registration requirement for shippers and service providers is in keeping with Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10697, or “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.”
Also called Strategic Trade Management Act (STMA), the law was signed in 2016 to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540. The Resolution bound states to adopt legislation that would “prevent 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.”
The law aims to regulate the export, import, transit and transshipment, re-export and reassignment of strategic goods, software and technology and provision of related services to prevent proliferation of WMD.
Under the supervision of the Department of Trade and Industry, STMO serves as the government’s executive and technical agency in establishing management systems for the trade of strategic goods pursuant to STMA.
Registration is required before a shipper or service provider can apply for an authorization to export, import, re-export, or provide services related to strategic goods. Any person who engages or intends to engage in the export, import, and re-export 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 allows 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.
3 types of strategic goods
Military goods refer to goods, software, and technology designed, developed, configured, adapted, or modified for military end-use.
Dual-use goods refer to items, software, and technology 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 refer to strategic goods placed under unilateral controls for reasons of national security, foreign policy, antiterrorism, crime control, and public safety.
The STMO, in consultation with the National Security Council-Strategic Trade Management Committee (NSC-STMCom), will issue an end-use assurance, considered a formal security guarantee, upon the request of the country where the strategic items originated.
The assurance certifies the end-use of those goods in the Philippines based on the International Import Certificate, End-use Certificate, and Delivery Verification Certificate submitted by the applicant.
NSC-STMCom is a permanent committee under the NSC that will act as the central authority on all matters relating to strategic trade management.
Application forms and the format of authorizations and end-use documents will be provided by the STMO.
The STMO will review the application within 30 calendar days upon acceptance of application. The body may extend the processing period for an additional 30 calendar days if additional information is required or if the information submitted requires additional verification.
The applicant will be notified within two calendar days of the extension.
If the applicant fails to complete the requested information or requirements, the STMO will send a follow-up letter. If the applicant does not submit the required information or document within the given deadline, the STMO will close down the application for registration.
The STMO may refuse to enter a person into the register for several reasons, such as if the applicant falsely represents or conceals any material fact, or submits misleading information, including forged documents; or if in the past five years, the applicant had been held responsible for violating an international embargo or sanction binding on the Philippines.
STMO may also refuse registration if national security-related civil or criminal proceedings have started against the applicant, or if any other national security concerns exist.
If the STMO approves the application, the natural or juridical person is entered into the register. The registration certificate bearing the registration number, date of registration, and other relevant information will be issued on paper or electronically.
Any registered person has to provide the registration number when preparing and submitting a license application or in any other communication with the STMO.
If any change occurs in the information submitted to the STMO during registration, the registered person may file a written application to amend the register entry. STMO may refuse to amend a register entry if, in the past five years, the applicant had been held responsible for violating an international embargo or sanction binding on the Philippines.
Registration may be revoked on several grounds, including if requested by the person entered into the register; if the person entered in the register has not applied for any authorization from STMO within two years of its issuance; and if new facts emerge which would have resulted in a denial to enter the person in the register at the time of application.
Other grounds for deletion from the register are as follows: if the person entered into the register is held responsible for violating any legal provisions related to national security; if the person entered into the register is held responsible for violating an international sanction or embargo binding on the Philippines; if the natural person who is entered into the register dies; if the juridical person who is entered into the register is dissolved; if ordered by a competent court; or if there are any other national security, foreign policy, counter-terrorism, crime control, or public safety related concerns. – Roumina Pablo