Customs files smuggling charges vs importers, brokers

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Monday, June 23, filed smuggling charges against key officials of two firms and their licensed customs brokers for the illegal importation of steel coils and counterfeit footwear worth over P120 million ($2.74 million).

BOC filed complaints against Jose Alingasa Jr., owner and proprietor of Titan Movers Enterprises, a firm based in Binondo, Manila, and customs broker Mon Carlo Inciong for violation the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP), Republic Act (RA) 4109 (Bureau of Product Standards Law), and Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines.

Alingasa's firm imported 3 20-foot container vans of what it declared as “steel coils” imported from Australia in February 2014. The shipment was placed under an alert order based on derogatory information.

Further examination revealed that two of the containers had “Bluescope Steel with Galvalume markings” while the other container had “Bluescope Steel with Zincalume markings.”

Bluescope Steel is a publicly-listed steel producer based in Australia while Galvalume is a specialized type of galvanized steel made using flat-rolled steel sheets coated with aluminum-zinc alloy by a continuous hot-dip process.

A registered trademark of BIEC International Inc., a worldwide licensor of the technology and know-how associated with 55% aluminum-zinc alloy coated sheet steel, Galvalume is used for roofing and sidings and automotives and appliances that require steel with high corrosion resistance and high heat reflectivity.

On the other hand, Zincalume is an alloy-coated sheet steel consisting of aluminum and zinc processed with high technology, which has up to 4 times the corrosion resistance of galvanized steel. With the combination of steel, zinc, and aluminum, it is used for architectural applications such as roofing panels, wall panels, and metal tiles. Zincalume is a registered trademark of PT. Indohomes.

“Titan obviously misdeclared, misdescribed, and misclassified its importation of specialized steel products to avoid paying the correct duties and taxes,” Customs Commissioner John Sevilla said in a statement.

Titan did not also obtain the required Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) certificate for its importation. “Even if the firm imported specific types of steel products, it does not exclude them from complying with the law to get your product tested and certified first,” Sevilla said.

Titan was one of 70 firms suspended by the BOC in March for failure to comply with rules and procedures on filing import documents. Also, the firm is not a registered Philippine Standard (PS) License holder for any products covered by mandatory certification.

Meanwhile, BOC also filed a complaint against Ma. Rosalia Quiambao, owner, proprietor, and general manager of Fort-Jhorel International Trading, based in Binondo, Manila, and the firm’s customs broker Henry Villa, for violating the TCCP, Republic Act 8293 (Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines), and the Revised Penal Code.

The firm imported 3 40-foot container vans with fake Nike, Havaianas, Abercrombie, Hush Puppies, Sandugo, Nathaniel, Sanuk, Disney, and Happy Feet. The shipment was declared as packages containing eye glasses, paper box, stationery pads, Happy Feet rubber shoes, men’s and ladies’ leather shoes, and slippers. –