The agreement would enable them to share information on smuggling activities and exercise more effective surveillance over goods movement between the two countries
The Philippines and Israel signed last week a customs agreement that would enable them to share information on smuggling activities and exercise more effective surveillance over goods movement between the two countries.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Philippine Ambassador Petronila P. Garcia signed the agreement on behalf of their governments on November 23.
In a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ayalon said the signing of the agreement on Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters was a “landmark in the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Israel” as it brought the two parties closer together.
The major scope of the cooperation includes the exchange of information as to whether goods were exported from/imported to the country legally, and provision of information that may be of use to either party, regarding offenses that may have been committed or are expected to be committed within the territory of the other party.
The following will be the major scope of the cooperation: (1) exchange of information regarding whether goods exported from/imported to the country of a requesting Party were done so legally; (2) provision of information that may be of use to either party, regarding offenses that may have been committed or are expected to be committed within the customs territory of the other Party; (3) exercise of special surveillance over transportation, goods, individuals or places suspected of being involved in committing customs-related offenses, either upon request or through the party's own initiative; and (4) professional and technical cooperation and assistance.
Garcia said the agreement was essential for the two countries to be able to safeguard not only their economies but also the public welfare and international interests. Trade between Israel and the Philippines has grown sharply in the first half of this year. Israeli exports have increased by 39%, (US$41.4 million) from US$105.9 million to US$147.0 million, since the same period in 2009. Imports have also increased by 28.2%, from US$50.6 million to US$64.9 million, a difference of US$14.3 million.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Israeli Customs Directorate, Director General Doron Arbeli, Israel Tax Authority Senior Director on International Affairs Daniel Dragucki, Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) International Affairs Office Chief John Simon, BOC International Control Office's Wilnora Cawile, and Embassy officers and staff.