29 March 2011

Subic traders want review of Japan truck-import

Importers of used vehicles in this free port are urging the government to reconsider the admission here of right-hand drive vehicles from Japan under Executive Order (EO) 887-A, which bans the entry into the country of imported used cars but allows the importation of used trucks, buses and special-purpose vehicles.

According to Ben Perez, managing director of Subic-based vehicle importer Ichiban Import-Export Corp., used-vehicle traders in Subic are requesting the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to amend the proposed implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of EO 877-A, or the Comprehensive Motor Vehicle Development Program.

He said the DTI should go easy on used-vehicle imports, particularly those from Japan, as they constitute the bulk of used-motor vehicles that are now used in local industries as well as infrastructure-development projects in the country.

 “Both left-hand drive and right-hand drive trucks should be allowed to be imported through the Subic Bay Freeport since 90 percent of all [right-hand-drive] trucks arriving here are from Japan,” Perez said in a statement on Tuesday.

 “Vehicle importers here are all willing to accept EO 877-A, but [there should not be] additional requirements such as release certificate (RC) since documentary safeguards required by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority’s (SBMA) Seaport Department and the Bureau of Customs are already in place,” Perez added.

Perez said that in particular, Section 3.C of the IRR, which allowed the importation of left-hand trucks, buses and special-purpose vehicles, should also allow the entry of right-hand drives from Japan, as recommended by Committee Report 2157 of the 12th Congress on June 12, 2004.

Section 4.A.2 of the IRR, which requires imported vehicles to have roadworthiness and emission-compliance certificate from the country of origin, to be duly authenticated by the Philippine embassy or consulate, must be stricken out because the Japanese government would not issue such a certificate, he added.

Perez pointed out that the required roadworthiness and emission certificate only becomes a duplication because the SBMA already requires a comprehensive test on all imported trucks entering Subic prior to their registration with the Land Transportation Office. As of now, three motor vehicle-inspection centers are operating here: the Vehicle Inspection and Testing Corp., the Subic Bay Motor Vehicle Inspection (SBMI), and the Automotive Testing Emission Center Inc.

Perez contested Section 4.A.5 of the IRR, which calls for a release certificate (RC) to be given by a representative from the DTI’s Bureau of Import Services (BIS).

“The release certificate should not be issued by the DTI-BIS representative alone, as this could easily be a source of corruption. Instead, the RC should be issued after an ocular inspection by the Interagency Committee of Used Trucks and Engines Technical Working Group, together with the SBMA Seaport Department,” Perez said.

Subic traders are also suggesting that the Board of Investments (BOI) should come up with a schedule of fees that would be valid for from three to five years, with proportionate increases over the years.

Local importers are also requesting Trade Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio, who is also manager of the BOI, to conduct another public consultation at the Subic Freeport so that local stakeholders could air their opinion on the matter before the IRR becomes effective, Perez added.

 EO 887-A, which was signed by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in June 2010, allowed the importation of used-motor vehicles with gross vehicle weight of from 2.5 tons to 6 tons and above, as well as special-purpose vehicles like firetrucks and ambulances.

However, the EO required that the used vehicles as well as used engines, parts and components should have a Certificate of Authority to Import (CAI) and RC from the DTI-BIS.

The CAI is issued only if the vehicle import has a roadworthiness and emission-compliance certificate from the country of origin which must also show compliance with Philippine roadworthiness and emission standards. The CAI is valid only for a period of 60 days under a letter of credit.

The RC from the DTI-BIS is required for the vehicle to be released from the Bureau of Customs and be registered with the Land Transportation Office. (Henry EmpeƱo, Business Mirror)