Smuggling raps filed vs wood-steel trader

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) filed smuggling charges on Thursday against a trading firm and its customs broker in connection with the illegal importation of substandard wood and steel worth P8.95 million last January.

Charged before the Department of Justice (DOJ) were Mae Espino, owner and proprietress of Sun Ford Trading in Manila and customs broker Arnel Asuncion for violation of Republic Act 4109 (Bureau of Product Standards Law), the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) and Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines.

The cases stemmed from the firm's importation of six 40-foot container vans of plywood and four containers of galvanized iron (GI) wires from China early this year.


The BOC said that the respondents misdeclared the weight and value of its importation of GI wires and these were passed off as "rolls of wires, clamps, hinges and flexible rubbings," to avoid paying the correct duties and taxes.

"There was very clear intent to cheat the government given the huge discrepancies in what sun ford declared and what we found after examining their shipments. These smuggled and substandard construction materials flood our market, causing harm to our local industries and posing a threat to the safety of our people," said Customs Commissioner John Sevilla.

He added that the products never went through mandatory product certification from the Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of Product Standards (DTI-BPS), the country's National Standards Body (NSB) and were issued Import Commodity Clearances (ICCs).

Under government policy, all manufacturers and importers of the products under mandatory certification are required to apply for a Philippine Standard (PS) license and Import commodity Clearance (ICC) certificate before their products are distributed and sold in the market.

Likewise, the LS license and ICC certificate will be issued to manufacturers and importers whose products have passed the Philippine National Standard (PNS) requirements.

The BOC said that Sun Ford is not a registered PS license holder for any products covered by mandatory certification and did not apply for an ICC Certificate for any imported product.

Industry associations have warned about the risks posed by substandard steel and wood, which are sold at cheap prices, since they are not durable and do not meet standards for product quality and safety. (FP/Sunnex)

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