The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BC) has said it will begin to impose tougher rules on balikbayan boxes being shipped into the country.
The new measure is said to target traders who smuggle goods into the country to bypass Philippine Tariff and Customs Codes.
“The existing rules are obsolete and we may have to reassess our coordination and processes with consolidators for stricter and improved compliance,” Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina said in a statement.
“Our spot checks from several warehouses show how misconstrued the rules may have become. People are sending in used clothing, home appliances and items of the same kind that can well be used for commercial purposes,” he said.
Line also noted that many items that are being shipped in the boxes are often undervalued items and under-declared content, many seen in spot-checks throughout the system.
Under the rules of balikbayan boxes, the content is to not exceed $500 dollars in value – other rules include limitations on canned good, grocery items and other household use items (each box can only have 12 of each). Clothing, new or used cannot exceed three years per cut.
Another unknown rule for those using balikbayan boxes is the limitation of one consignment per sender per month.
In recent weeks the BC is attempting to impose additional taxes on balikbayan boxes and other types of consolidated shipments into the country.
A report also noted that the ‘clearing fees’ of all containers entering a Filipino port will be subject to a 100,000-120,000 peso clearing fee.
An additional report also noted that new taxes on balikbayan boxes will cost the shipper an additional 325 pesos per box.