Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Taiwanese in Subic are happy

By Henry Empeño - Business Mirror

SUBIC BAY FREE PORT—Taiwanese investors here “are very happy” that government efforts to harmonize customs systems and procedures with the free port of Clark are helping advance trade relations between Manila and Taipei.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Armand Arreza said the recent automation of cargo clearance and releasing facilities in the free ports ironed out kinks in the flow of trade and investments from the island economy.

“Now, we will have an environment where investors can see that their goods are being handled on time and processed in a transparent manner,” Arreza said.

Signatoriesto an agreement adopting an automated cargo clearance and releasing facility between the free ports of Subic and Clark strike a unity pose. (From left) CDC president Benigno Ricafort, Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales, SCADC chairman Eduardo Pamintuan and SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza.

“Our locators, particularly the Taiwanese firms, believe that through the harmonized immigration, customs and quarantine program, doing business in Subic and Clark will truly be at par with world-class standards,” he added.

The SBMA and the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on the harmonized customs system last week, along with the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development Council (SCADC) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

In particular, the agreement bound the signatories to formulate, coordinate, implement and monitor an automated cargo clearance and releasing facility in Subic and Clark, and to adopt the government’s national single window (NSW) program.

The NSW, which was created under Executive Order 482, enables the single submission and synchronous processing of data and information so that the BOC may release cargo shipments at the earliest possible time.

To put the agreement to work, the parties last week issued a joint memorandum order (JMO) that outlined the administrative and operational provisions for automated cargo facilities and defined the responsibilities of each party involved.

The agreement was signed by Arreza, CDC president Benigno Ricafort, SCADC chairman Edgardo Pamintuan and Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales.

Taiwanese locators from Subic and Clark witnessed the signing held at the Clark Free Port.

Pamintuan said the agreement also put to work the vision of establishing an economic corridor to fully open trade linkages with Taiwan, particularly the Taiwan Export Processing Zone Authority.

He explained that the JMO intends to make smooth and easy the way people do business by providing, through the NSW program, a more efficient, less costly and fully automated system for merchandise that are admitted, transited and transferred into and between the free-port zones.

“The MOA and JMO will facilitate a smooth and seamless transfer of goods and people from and to Subic and Clark, and the export processing zones in Taiwan,” Pamintuan added.

Arreza said the Subic Bay Free Port would benefit substantially from the agreement as it woos Taiwanese investors, particularly those involved in information and communications technology, electronics, software design and biotechnology.

In June the SBMA said it will waive rental fees for high-technology firms from Taiwan under a bilateral trade deal between Manila and Taipei.

The talks also resulted in an accord to grant reduced tariffs to Taiwanese manufacturers in Subic and Clark, and the assistance by Taiwan experts in training Filipino workers in integrated circuit design.

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