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Import Regulations in Philippines

Generally most merchandise may be imported without a license. Licensing rules have been lifted on about 3770 items, representing nearly 96 per cent of the 2900 products identified for liberalization over a 12 year period. The government classifies imports into three categories:
  • Freely importable which may be processed by authorized bank agents without prior approval from Central Bank of Philippines (CBP).
  • Regulated which require clearance and permits from various governmental agencies and which may need prior approval from CBP.
  • Prohibited which affect public health and safety, national security, international commitments or development or rationalization of local industry. 
Items that are generally prohibited from importation may nevertheless be imported if they are intended for use in the production of exports. For example, raw materials or intermediate components that would otherwise be banned may be imported for use in export production. To import such items, import authority must be obtained from the Commodity Classification Office of the BSP.
Prohibited Imports in Philippines
The following products are prohibited from Importation into the Philippines: 
  • Explosives, firearms and weapons of war.
  • Pornographic materials.
  • Narcotics, drugs and items for inducing unlawful abortions.
  • Printed materials that advocate the overthrow of the government urge forcible resistance any law or threaten to take the life or inflict bodily harm on any person in the Philippines.
  • Adulterated foods.
  • Lottery and sweepstakes tickets.
  • Precious metals and alloys of precious metals. 
A broad range of commodities require import clearance/licenses from appropriate government agencies prior to importation into the Philippines.
The National Food Authority (NFA) remains the sole importer of ordinary rice and continues to be involved in imports of corn. Private grain dealers may import premium or fancy rice only with an Import Clearance issued by the NFA.
Section 61 of the Philippine Fisheries Code, Republic Act (RA)8550 permits importation of fresh, chilled or frozen fish products only when certified as necessary by the Secretary of Agriculture and upon issuance of an import permit by the Department of Agriculture.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) allows the importation of wood materials (including logs and lumber, plywood and veneer, poles and piles) by a holder of Timber License Agreement (TLA).
Food products derived from modern biotechnology can be imported subject to the usual customs regulations.

Last Updated on: 28-01-2010

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