ASEAN-Wide Self-Certification Scheme to help Filipino MSMEs do business in the region with ease

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The flags of the 10-member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam
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By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

The Philippines embarked on ASEAN-Wide Self-Certification Scheme (AWSC) starting September 20.

With this ASEAN AWSC, it simplifies and streamlines the origin certification procedure to claim and be granted lower duties or, in most cases, duty-free treatment when using the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA).

This can be utilized by the Philippine exporters and they can apply for Certified Exporter status with the Bureau of Customs (BOC). Once granted, they can begin issuing their own origin declaration, which will be used by importers when claiming ATIGA preferential tariffs. The implementation guidelines are set out in the BOC Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 24-2020.

“We are confident that this new scheme will facilitate trade and improve the ease of doing business for Philippine companies, especially for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME),” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.  

“With the AWSC, it will be easier for our MSMEs to maximize the use of ATIGA and benefit substantially from the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This is especially important in the current situation as this removes the step where companies must apply for a Certificate of Origin with the BOC for each of their shipments,” Sec. Lopez added.  

To promote and encourage the use of AWSC, the DTI will undertake an online information dissemination campaign to increase domestic awareness of the scheme.  

The AWSC is expected to significantly minimize burdens associated with administrative compliance and decrease transaction costs related to origin certification procedures. Compared to the usual practice where exporters apply to the BOC for Certificates of Origin for every shipment, this scheme removes the step of having to repeatedly transact with Customs. As it is easier to certify a product’s origin, it is envisaged to increase the utilization of the ATIGA and subsequently, further increase the competitiveness of Philippine exports to ASEAN.  

Since 2015, ASEAN Member States have eliminated tariffs on almost all products through the ATIGA, i.e. 99.65% for Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and 98.86% for Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam. 

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