BOC slaps smuggling raps against trader, customs broker


MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs has  filed smuggling-related cases against the owner of a trading firm for the alleged illegal importation of wood and steel products, and her customs broker.

The BOC said in a statement that Sun Ford Trading owner and proprietress Mae Espino and customs broker Arnel Asuncion face charges for allegedly violating Republic Act  4109  or the Bureau of Product Standards Law,  the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, and the Revised Penal Code.

Asuncion is already facing smuggling-related charges for the illegal steel imports of Thunderbirds Trading earlier filed by the agency.

“There was very clear intent to cheat the government given the huge discrepancies in what Sun Ford declared and what we found after examining their shipments. These smuggled and substandard construction materials flood our market, causing harm to our local industries and posing a threat to the safety of our people,” said Customs Commissioner John Sevilla.

The cases against Espino and Asuncion stemmed from Sun Ford’s importation of 6 40-foot container vans of plywood and 4 containers of galvanized iron wires from China last January 2014. 

The BOC learned that the imported products were not subject to mandatory product certification from the Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of Product Standards (DTI-BPS) and were issued Import Commodity Clearances (ICCs).

DTI-BPS is the country’s National Standards Body (NSB) which requires manufacturers and importers of products under mandatory certification to apply for a Philippine Standard (PS) license and ICC certificate, prior to product distribution and sale.

Manufacturers and importers that comply with Philippine National Standard (PNS) requirements will be issued the PS license and ICC certificate.

The BOC discovered that Sun Ford is not a registered PS license holder, did not apply for an ICC Certificate, and attempted to avoid payment of correct duties and taxes.

The firm had misdeclared the weight and value of its imported GI wires importation, and described them as “rolls of wires, clamps, hinges and flexible tubings.”

Steel and wood industry associations have been urging Philippine authorities to step up the campaign against the entry of substandard steel and wood products in the country. –