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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Philippines Customs seizures


Philippines Customs claims to be an effective authority. But the bar is pretty low in SE Asia, where it must be remembered that most fake goods are imported from China. The main problem is the lack of border seizures in the Philippines.

So reports of Customs' latest seizure are interesting. Customs' IPR Division reported to the media last week a haul of fake goods from China worth P30 million (USD1million). The products included Marlboro, Winston and Fortune cigarettes, Knorr and Maggi food seasoning and Nescafe products.

The seizure occurred at a warehouse in Manila. Philippines Customs is somewhat unusual in having a form of inland jurisdiction where goods have entered the country and are distributed to warehouses (as this one was) but have not yet technically cleared Customs. The credit for the raid was claimed to be due to a Customs informant in the private sector along with Customs' 'heightened anti-smuggling campaign'.

All of this masks the reality. Firstly an inland warehouse seizure would be a police raid in most places! The fact is that the goods already entered the country without Customs seizing them. Secondly they claimed success by using market informants rather than (like other Customs') using risk assessment techniques to grade and inspect the shipments at the border.

Philippines Customs will only really impress anyone when they make actual border seizures rather than suspicious seizures of goods they already let in!

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