Marcos EO modifies some tariffs to harmonize with RCEP

AN executive order (EO) issued by the Palace this month brings Philippine tariff levels into line with its commitments under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. issued EO 25 on May 7 to make the needed tariff adjustments in time for the RCEP’s effectivity date of June 2.

“There is a need to modify the rates of import duty on certain imported articles in order to faithfully comply with the Philippine Schedule of Tariff Commitments under the RCEP Agreement,” Mr. Marcos said in the EO.

In April, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the EO would serve as the basis for the tariffs to be implemented by the Bureau of Customs from RCEP source countries.

According to the EO, all goods originating from other RCEP countries are to be levied the prescribed rates of duty subject to the submission of a Proof of Origin and compliance with all applicable RCEP requirements.

The EO also authorizes the Tariff Commission to issue advance rulings on the tariff classification of goods to confirm the applicable tariff rates on goods under Republic Act No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

The EO also allows the Philippines to permit importers to make claims for preferential tariffs at either the highest rate of customs duty that the Philippines applies to the same originating goods from other parties contributing originating materials used in the production of such goods, as long as the importer can prove the claim, or the highest rate of customs duty that the country applies to the same originating goods from any of the RCEP parties.  

“The RCEP Agreement aims to establish a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial economic partnership framework; liberalize and facilitate trade in goods and services through the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers, as well as restrictions and discriminatory measures; and create a liberal, facilitative, and competitive investment environment,” the EO said.

The Senate gave its concurrence to the RCEP on Feb. 21, more than a year after the trade deal entered into force for other members beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

RCEP members include the 10 ASEAN states, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave