Manila, (PNA) –The Philippines and South Korea have signed a cooperation agreement to facilitate trade and tourism between the two countries and curb smuggling.
The agreement was signed by the customs chiefs of the Philippines and South Korea on September 10 at the Manila Hotel.
Customs (BOC) Commissioner Ruffy Biazon and Korean Customs Service (KCS) Chief Back Chan Un marked signed the agreement for their respective governments.
The cooperation agreement will significantly bolster bilateral relations in various fields including, among others, anti-smuggling capabilities, trade facilitation and tourism, Biazon said.
“Koreans now comprise the biggest number of foreign visitors in the country. With our enhanced cooperation in the field of travel facilitation among our nationals, we should be able to help boost the country’s tourism industry,” Biazon said. He thanked the Korean Customs Chiefs for offering to help promote the Philippines as a travel destination in Korea.
In reply, Un said, “We are glad about the agreement we have made and with this meeting, we shall help in promoting the Philippines as a travel destination in Korea.”
Both customs officials agreed that the bilateral meeting lay down the framework for more cooperation initiatives between the Philippines and South Korea not only in trade and travel facilitation but also in cargo security, intelligence, personnel trainings and research.
A fly-in-the-ointment cropped up during the meeting when Un raised some of the inconveniences experienced by Korean travelers who need to deposit their cargoes at the airport while in the country but to be re-exported upon their departure.
Biazon, in taking cognizance of the situation, explained to Un that this matter has been considered and shall be part of the sweeping reform agenda designed to streamline overall BOC operations.
In curbing transnational smuggling, BOC Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement Group Horacio P. Suansing Jr. recommended that the BOC be furnished with a list of carnapped vehicles in South Korea to prevent the illegal entry of such vehicles into the country.
It was noted that a similar agreement with the United States Customs has substantially diminished, if not totally eradicated, car smuggling originating from the US.