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ARMM strengthens Import-Export Industry

COTABATO CITY – Members of different Government sectors and the Chamber of Commerce and Industries attended the Orientation-Briefing on Importation given by the Bureau of Customs today at the Bajau Hall, ORG Compound.

The forum, organized by the ARMM Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in partnership with the Regional Economic Zone Authority (REZA) and Polloc Free Port, was aimed at re-orienting ARMM trading clientele on the business of import and export.

This was a step taken by DTI to encourage even small business traders to legalize all their importing transactions to eliminate the rampant misconceptions of illegal smuggling especially for products coming in from nearby Malaysia and Indonesia.

According to Fernando de Dios, DTI Senior Trade and Industry Development Specialist, barter trading played a big part in the economic stimulus in the ARMM and this is why DTI is looking to revive the industry.

He said that the agency is working on reviving the real barter trading as it is, and not just the one-way system that it is today. “The barter that we are talking about today is no longer the barter that we knew early on when Sulu was still the barter trading center,” he adds. According to him, the proper orientation on import and export guidelines for ARMM traders certainly paves the way for the revival of the industry.

Eshan Karl Mabang, Administrator of the Polloc Free Port said that the port’s design meets international port standards and that it is ready for international importation and exportation anytime. Mabang supports the revival of the barter trading and the projected boost this will have in the export side of the industry.

“We support this kind of economic activity dahil una, pag maging successful ito, we can provide employment, increase our revenue collection at malaki ang magiging remittance natin,” he said.

To date, the Port is only mobilizing on its imports on cement, corn, and equipment for renewable energy, coming in from countries such as Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, and India.

REZA-ARMM also ensured that it is ready not only for importation, but also for exportation after it entered into a Joint Memorandum Order with the Bureau of Customs last October 2015, on the implementation of the mandatory Electronic Processing of Transshipments of REZA locators to REZA Zones and other procedures through the E2M system.

E2M (electronic-to-mobile) is an internet-based technology that allows Customs Officers and traders to handle most of their transactions online. It makes use of advanced technology including electronic signatures to provide government officials with new tools to enable them to make dramatic improvements in security, trade efficiency, and to fight against corruption.

One of those who will benefit from the innovation is the Bangsamoro Oil and Fuels Corporation, which is waiting for its importation permit as it looks forward to building a four million peso oil depot in Polloc under a joint-venture agreement with a Malaysian company.

Dr. Amor Pendaliday, President of the Corporation said the construction will take around three to five months and that the depot will have a petroleum capacity of about 14 million liters. According to him, petroleum prices, especially in the nearby areas of Maguindanao and Lanao, will definitely go on a major roll back once the depot starts operating.

Dr. Pendaliday is certain that once the Liguasan Marsh is explored and developed, exportation of crude oil is also very possible in the near future. (Bureau of Public Information)

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