Duterte revives barter trade in Mindanao

Pia Ranada

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Duterte revives barter trade in Mindanao

Malacañang Photo

The ancient form of trade will be regulated by the government through President Rodrigo Duterte's Executive Order No. 64

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte issued an executive order institutionalizing barter trade in Mindanao and creating 3 “barter ports” in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi to facilitate this type of trade.

Executive Order (EO) No. 64, Reviving Barter in Mindanao, also created a Mindanao Barter Council (MBC). It was signed by Duterte on Monday, October 29, and made available to media on Wednesday, October 31.

Barter is the trade of goods and services for other goods and services, without using money.

It is an ancient form of trade practiced by many nations and cultures long ago. But barter, said the EO, continues to “thrive and evolve as a living tradition” in Mindanao and in the larger eastern portion of Southeast Asia, or the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

Last September 11, Duterte said he would bring back barter trade in order to address soaring inflation in the country. He had said then he would check if the “finance people” would agree to the plan.

How will barter trade work under the EO? The MBC to be created will issue “comprehensive guidelines governing barter,” including a mechanism to determine how goods are to be valued.

The council will also create a list of what types of goods can be traded through a barter system.

To prevent smuggling and the flouting of existing customs laws, the MBC is also ordered to come up with rules and regulations.  It will accredit qualified traders who wish to engage in barter trade.

The MBC will be chaired by the trade secretary, while the Mindanao Development Authority chairperson and Bureau of Customs commissioner will serve as vice chairpersons.

Members of the council include the Department of Finance, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Philippine Coast Guard, and Philippine Ports Authority.

Where can barter trade be done? The EO orders the creation of 3 “barter ports,” to be accredited by the MBC.

The 3 ports are to be in Siasi and Jolo in Sulu and Bongao in Tawi-Tawi. Barter ports can be put up elsewhere only upon the approval of the President.

No taxes for some goods. Some goods to be imported and traded via barter will be exempt from duties, following the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement and the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA).

These deals mean ASEAN countries don’t impose tariffs on certain goods traded within the region, excluding rice, corn, and sugar.

Among the MBC’s tasks is to issue regulations to allow qualified barter traders to avail of the zero-tariff benefits under ATIGA. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.