Philippines (the) flag Philippines (the): Buying and Selling

International convention and customs procedures of the Philippines

International Economic Cooperation
The Philippines is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ICC, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Colombo Plan, G-24, G-77, WTO, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates the Philippines click here. International organisation membership of the Philippines is also outlined here.
Non Tariff Barriers
Imports generally enjoy a liberalized regime. However, imports of certain products are regulated and sometimes forbidden in accordance with the current laws, for reasons of health, national security, or international requirements or in order to protect the development of local industry. Imports are currently classified into three categories according to the degree of restriction they are subject to: freely imported products, regulated and forbidden products. For regulated products, an import license is necessary which can be obtained by applying to the authorities concerned (for example, certain foodstuffs or pharmaceutical products require the authorization of the Food and Drug Authority). The third category comprises products which it is forbidden to import such as: explosives, firearms and war weapons, precious metals, narcotics, drugs, and coffee.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
The Philippines' simple average Most Favored Nation applied tariff rate is 9.8% for agricultural products and 5.6% for non-agricultural products (US Trade).
Customs Classification
The Philippines has implemented the 2017 version of the ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN).
Import Procedures
All imported articles invite import taxes, even those having been previously exported (except special mention envisaged in the Tariff and Customs Code or another regulation). The entry form must be filled in at the Customs Office in the 30 days following the unloading of the last package, failing to do which amounts to abandonment of the goods and ipso facto confiscation of the cargo.
The importation of certain commodities is regulated or prohibited. Imports are classified as follows:

  • Freely Importable Commodities;
  • Regulated Commodities;
  • Prohibited or Banned Commodities, see the list here

The importation status of any commodity (whether prohibited, regulated, or freely importable) may be checked/verified with the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Bureau of Import Services (BIS) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The Department of Agriculture (DA) may verify the importation status of agricultural products, as well as indicate whether a Minimum Access Volume (MAV) Import Certificate is required, such as for the importation of swine, chicken, etc.

Import documents required for shipments to the Philippines include:

  • Commercial invoice/Pro forma invoice;
  • Bill of lading (for sea freight) or air waybill (for air freight);
  • Certificate of origin (if requested);
  • Packing list;
  • Special certificates/import clearance/permit depending on the nature of goods being shipped and/or requested by the importer/bank (see below);
  • Commercial Invoice of Returned Philippine Goods.

Documents as may be required by rules and regulations, such as:
- Import Permit or Clearance, if the commodity is regulated
- Authority to Release Imported Goods
- Copy of an Advance Ruling, if the ruling was used in the goods declaration
- Load Port Survey Reports or Discharge Port Survey Reports for bulk or break bulk importations
- Document evidencing exemption from duties and taxes, if applicable
- Others, e.g., Tax Credit Certificate or Tax Debit Memo, if applicable

Importing Samples
The Phillippines are not part of the ATA Carnet convention.
Goods brought into the Philippines for repair, processing, or reconditioning and to be re-exported upon completion of such operations may be allowed conditionally free entry. The Bureau of Customs requires a security equal to 100% of the duties, taxes, and other charges on the goods, with the condition that the goods will be exported or the corresponding duties, taxes, and other charge will be paid within six months from the date of acceptance of the goods declaration.

The Department of Finance (DOF) requires one-time registration of the consignee in the Tax Exemption System (TES) Lite providing the following information:
- Name of consignee
- Tax identification number
- Email address
- Official address

DOF also requires the following documents:
- Duly accomplished Department of Finance - Revenue Office (DOF-RO) Form 91: Application For Tax and/or Duty Exemption on Importations
- Notarizedaffidavit of end-use/ownership
- Authorization letter (if authorized representative)
- Signed and dated Import Bill of Lading/Airway Bill
- Commercial invoice (Packing list, if applicable)
- Contract/Agreement (for repair/processing/reconditioning).


To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export controls.

For Further Information
Customs office
Department of Trade and Industry
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)
Asia Trade Hub

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Latest Update: July 2024