THE Senate on Monday adopted a resolution concurring in the ratification of the Convention on Temporary Admission, paving the way for the Philippines’s joining in the so-called ATA Carnet system that greatly eases the duty and tax burdens, and simplifies Customs processes for professionals, business people and athletes bringing in their work equipment or samples into other countries..

Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, said Senate Resolution 832 or the Convention on Temporary Admission and its various Annexes constitute the international codification of the ATA Carnet system, a combination of French and English acronym which mean “admission temporaire” or temporary admission.

According to Pimentel, the ATA Carnet system replaces the national customs formalities with a system that facilitates the temporary admission and tax-free and duty-free importation of commercial samples, professional equipment, and articles for presentation or use in trade fairs, shows, and exhibitions.

The treaty obligates contracting parties to provide temporary admission of goods with total conditional relief from import duties and taxes. It also requires simplified processes for temporary admission of goods into a customs territory.

Pimentel explained how the treaty works by giving three scenarios: In the first scenario, he cited the holding of trade exhibits throughout Asia after the Covid-19 pandemic, where participants would bring their products, including high- value scientific equipment, for demonstration from country to country.

In the second scenario, competing Filipino athletes such as EJ Obiena, the Asian and Philippine record holder in pole vault, may carry without hassle assorted equipment from country to country; and in the third scenario, he cited various equipment such as laptops, cameras, tripod stands that media workers carry for their coverage in various political hotspots.

“In a world without the ATA Carnet system, all the persons in these scenarios would have to undergo customs formalities and pay expensive import and re-export charges in every single country, making their endeavor administratively taxing and financially expensive,” Pimentel explained.

“This impedes their work and hampers the exchange of knowledge, sharing of culture, participation in events, and building of people-to-people links that is the foundation of global commerce and solidarity,” he added.

Under the ATA Carnet system — sometimes referred to as the “passport of goods” — duties and taxes that may come due are guaranteed merely by the presentation of the ATA Carnet and its acceptance by the customs office of each territory of contracting parties. Entry will be duty-free unless the goods temporarily admitted are not thereafter brought out of the country, in which case they are liable for charges as imported goods.

Pimentel said the treaty favors the Philippines because it would increase the efficiency and productivity of customs. With the codified ATA Carnet system, he said, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) would no longer need to use valuable time and resources processing temporary admission of scientific, professional and other goods and equipment. He said BOC would only need to rely on and monitor the ATA Carnets, which also guarantees the full payment of applicable duties and taxes should the temporarily admitted goods fail to be totally re-exported.

According to Pimentel, the treaty has both direct and indirect benefits to the economy. As a direct economic benefit, Filipino entrepreneurs and companies would find it easier and cheaper to join trade shows and exhibits to showcase their products in the territories of other contracting States. Companies and organizations of other contracting States would also be encouraged to hold their exhibits and conventions in the Philippines, thereby boosting other industries in the country such as hotels, airlines, service sectors, SMEs and MSMEs.

Lastly, Pimentel said the Philippines, as a party to the treaty, would join its fellow Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) that are already participants in the ATA Carnet system.

“This would further facilitate the realization of regional integration and economic cooperation, consistent with the Asean Community Vision 2025, in which the Heads of State envision… Asean as an outward-looking region within a global community of nations, while maintaining Asean centrality with vibrant, sustainable and highly integrated economies,” Pimentel said.

“It is timely and it is necessary, for it will redound to the benefit of our entrepreneurs, our service providers, the events sector, and our economy as a whole, especially as our nation recovers from the pandemic and our people expand the horizons of opportunity once again,” he added.

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