The Philippines’ Bureau of Customs (BOC) is set to implement soon a system officials hope will curb the undervaluation of imports through mis-invoicing.

Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon said his office is working on an electronic platform that sets a reference value for every imported commodity based on the historical value of previous import shipments, prevailing market values and statistical studies.

Daily monitor

The Value Reference Information System (VRIS) will monitor on a daily basis those importers declaring import shipments, and identify traders apparently bringing goods in at below the reference value.

Once VRIS is operational, if there are questions over the declared value of a shipment, importers will be required to submit documentation that verifies the declared shipment value.

Legal protection

According to Faeldon, the system will protect legitimate importers from competitors able to undercut market prices because they have illegally avoided paying customs duty.

The BOC recently recovered an estimated 1.7 million Philippine peso (US$34,000) worth of duties and taxes from an undervalued steel import shipment at the Port of Subic.