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This newsletter is made possible by the generous support of the American People through the

United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this newsletter are
the sole responsibility of the TRADE Project and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or
the United States Government.
The TRADE Project sponsored the 1st Focus Group
Discussion (FGD) on the enhanced cargo clearance process
under the Bureau of Customs (BoC) Super Green Lane
(SGL) Program on 4 February. The SGL facility, established
in 2000 under Executive Order 230, is a special customs pre-
arrival clearance service meant to improve trade facilitation
by giving advance cargo processing and clearance for the
countrys top, low-risk and qualified importers.
The FGD brought together officials of the BoC, key TRADE
personnel, and over 70 representatives from trusted
importers such as GE Philippines, Isuzu, Pfizer, Abbot
Laboratories and Samsung, among others, to exchange views
and share experiences and suggestions towards the future
direction of the SGL.

Deputy Commissioner Agaton O. Uvero enumerated
reforms the BoC intends to pursue in 2014, which include
automation of the customs-bonded warehouse system and
the streamlining of processes, particularly in the Ninoy
Aquino International Airport. He outlined a 2-step
accreditation process for SGL members currently being
finalized, wherein initial vetting is done by the BIR, and final
vetting performed by the BoC. A recent DoF Department
Order was already issued for this purpose. TRADE DCOP
Gareth Davies gave an overview of the TRADE projects
aims in relation to customs, and stressed the responsibility of
SGL participants to make sure that an internal system of
checks and balances is in place.

During the Q&A, the BoC/TRADE panel gave feedback on
concerns expressed by the importers representatives.
Among the issues raised were the necessity of setting up a
Top importers laud FGD
on pre-arrival clearance process
Top left: The Q&A panel composed of BOC officials and TRADE DCOP
Gareth Davies (second from left) discusses concerns and issues with
representatives of the countrys top importers. Above: Ms. Nina
Manimtim of General Electric asks how the private sector could help as
partners in national progress.
permanent SGL office; the timetable and mechanics of the
SGL Plus, a program designed to meet the AEC Blueprints
average cargo clearance time of 45 minutes for most trusted
importers and to achieve truly paperless processing; and the
responsibilities of SGL members as well as customs brokers
in securing permits and other requirements.

The discussion was meant to consult with
the private sector to help determine how to
proceed with the SGL and further
encourage more active private participation.
A high point came when Ms. Nina S.
Manimtim, representative of General
Electric, said activities like this helped open
the playing field for Philippines to have
international credibility, and affirmed that
despite problems, change does happen.

She asked: As credible partners for national progress,
what can we do? What support do you need from us, so
that this can be stabilized and sustained? giving voice to
the private sectors willingness to extend further help.

TRADE is assisting the BoC in implementing urgent
provisions of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC),
ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and Phil-US Trade
Facilitation Protocol (PUSTFP), particularly with providing a
pre-arrival cargo clearance process to authorized

3F HERCO Center, 114 Benavidez St., Legazpi Village Makati City 1229

Chief of Party: Dr. Cielito F. Habito Deputy Chief of Party: Gareth J. Davies Senior Adviser for Trade Policy: Dr. Ramon
Clarete Trade Policy Specialist: Myrene Bedao Component Lead for Trade Facilitation: Cecilia V. Reyes Adviser for
Trade Facilitation: Edmund C. Guamen Component Lead for Competition Policy: Gigo Alampay Research Associate for
Competition Policy: Irish Krystle S. Almeida Component Lead for Outreach and Advocacy: Katherine Fernandez
Communications Specialist: Kimi Tuvera Research Assistant: Abigail Dimalus Program Officer: Mitos Q. Aldave
Operations Manager: Paulino B. Bejer Project Accountant: Imelda L. Mallari Administrative Coordinator: Rose Catindoy
The Committee on ASEAN Economic Community (CAEC)
held a 3-day strategic and technical planning workshop, jointly
organized with the TRADE Project, from 19-21 February.
The activity was aimed at giving greater operational efficiency
and effectiveness to the secretariat of the CAEC, the
countrys oversight body for ASEAN economic and financial
cooperation, and provided TRADE the chance to determine
how the Project could further integrate into CAEC activities.

TRADE is largely focused on assisting the Philippines meet its
obligations under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)
and other free-trade agreements, thus helping the country
attain higher levels of trade, foreign direct investments and
inclusive growth. It is collaborating with the Department of
Trade and Industry (DTI), as Chair of the CAEC, to develop a
4Cs (Compliance, Competitiveness, Communication and
Collaboration) strategy to the AEC, which envisions a region
fully integrated into the global economy by 2015.

The workshop paved the way for the development of the
CAEC Work Plan 2014-2015 as well as operating guidelines
for CAECs secretariat function and for coordinating with its
Workshop, a move
closer to AEC
TRADEs Chief of Party, Dr. Cielito Habito, spoke at a forum
on ASEAN integration in Cebu City on 19 February. The
event, hosted by SGV & Co. and Cebus English daily Sun
Star, was designed to help the Cebu business community
prepare for AEC integration in 2015. It featured DTI
Secretary Gregory Domingo as the keynote speaker.

Dr. Habito began his presentation by introducing TRADEs
objectives to the audience composed of Cebus business
leaders. He stressed Cebus ideal position as an economy
with vigorously export-oriented industries, in addition to
already being well-connected to the region via air and sea
transport. He went on to outline the challenges and
advantages of ASEAN integration, and expressed confidence
in the economys resilience, especially since the Philippines
trade relationships in ASEAN today are largely
complementary rather than competitive in nature.

TRADE, in partnership with private organizations such as the
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI),
provides technical assistance to government partner agencies
such as the DTI, NEDA, Bureau of Customs, etc., in order to
enhance trade and investment policy, trade facilitation,
competition policy, as well as widen public outreach and
advocacy of trade-related reforms.
TRADE COP Dr. Ciel Habito at the planning workshop with personnel
from selected key CAEC agencies.
leads Cebu AEC forum
sub-committees and technical working groups. The planning
activity was participated in by personnel from selected key
CAEC agencies, with TRADE providing technical assistance
via resource persons, as well as administrative and logistics
support. A follow-up CAEC-wide action-planning workshop,
planned for mid-March, will give TRADE the opportunity to
present the AEC Compliance Plan, as well as the results of
the CGE modeling undertaken for Philippine participation in
Deputy USTR stops
briefly in Manila
Deputy Assistant Trade Representative for Asia-
Pacific Karl Ehlers and USAID Mission Director
Gloria Steele are shown here in a 24 February
lunch meeting hosted by TRADE. Mr. Ehlers made
a few days stopover in Manila following a trip to
Singapore where the TPP ministerial meetings were
being held. With him in the photo are TRADE COP
Ciel Habito and DCOP Gareth Davies.