Uniform rules for Clark, Subic freeports mulled
Secretary Edgardo D. Pamintuan, chairman of the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development Council (SCADC) and head of the Luzon Urban Beltway (LUB), said he has held a series of meetings with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and Clark Development Corporation (CDC) to come up with a common ICQ regulations.
"We are now in the process of finding the common ground for a similar immigration and customs rules for the Subic and Clark freeport zones. Officials of two investment zones agreed on the need to harmonize ICQ rules immediately if we are to emerge into a logistics hub in the areas and their corridors," Pamintuan said.
Logistics refers here to a set of operations required for goods to be made available in markets or specific destinations.
Currently, the major logistics hubs are the United States in North America, Amsterdam, Germany and Belgium in the European Union (EU), South Korea and Hongkong in North Asia and Singapore in Southeast Asia.
These are considered hubs because they possess good access to markets with strong freight forwarding networks, with ports and airports linked with efficient modes, and improved accessibility by roads.
At the same time, more companies in those hubs outsource their logistics functions rather than commit resources to create their own, skilled and flexible workforce, land for future growth and expansion, and efficient customs systems or procedures, among others.
Currently, Clark and Subic are following and implementing different sets of immigration and customs policies and regulations.
For example, foreign locators pay $ 75 in SBMA for visa processing while CDC charges foreign locators only $ 50 for the same process.
"The regularization of fees, for example, and harmonization of regulations as far as customs and immigration policies are concerned, would remove the barriers for investments. Different policies in the two freeport zones are a hindrance to making the two zones and their corridors into a logistics hub," Pamintuan explained.
Aside from harmonizing and standardizing the ICQ, SCADC, SBMA and CDC are also focusing on establishing a shared online database which includes the list of locators, special visitors, industries, products, and similar information.
By MARVYN N. BENANING - Manila Bulletin