DA streamlines inspection for foreign agri, fisheries suppliers
MANILA -The Department of Agriculture (DA) has updated the guidelines on inspecting foreign suppliers to ensure continuous trade of agricultural products between the Philippines and the rest of the world.
The revised rules will “cover inspection missions for accreditation of all suppliers or exporters of agricultural and fishery products,” the DA said in a department circular.
Funding for all foreign on-site inspection missions will be equally split between the agency and the foreign country whether it is a new application or the renewal of the latter’s accreditation.
“Funding shall be charged to the respective agencies conducting the inspection missions,” the DA said.
The DA will shoulder the pretravel allowance, the cost of round-trip economy plane fare and clothing allowance.
It will also finance 50 percent of the daily subsistence allowance of the DA’s inspection mission members, which shall cover their meals (30 percent) and incidental expenses (20 percent) as well as other applicable expenditures.
On the other hand, all foreign applicants, through their respective national competent authorities, will pay for the in-country expenses including the accommodation or lodging of the DA inspector.
They will cover the in-country transportation and transfer of DA representatives for the duration of the inspection mission, guided by the approved itinerary.
Moreover, the non-English speaking applicant is required to assign a person, preferably with a technical background who can read and speak the English language and serve as an interpreter during the audit process.
“Documents not written in English shall be translated into English, with copies furnished to the team,” it added.
The amended circular will take effect 15 days after the complete publication in one newspaper of general circulation and submission of copies to the UP Law Center’s Office of the National Administrative Register.
The new policy repeals and supersedes the provisions set forth in the department circulars issued by the DA in 2017 and 2022.
The DA issued the revised guidelines as it sees the need for cosharing of expenses in undertaking the inspection mission in the interest of strengthening and fostering healthy collaboration between the Philippines and exporters of commodities.
It also cited the need to revoke last year’s circular “due to confusion and miscommunication it caused to affected internal and external stakeholders before its actual implementation.”
The DA is mandated to carry out on-site verification as part of inspection missions to assess food control system equivalence and gauge the confidence of foreign country applicants or individual establishments.
This would ensure the production and distribution of agricultural and fishery products are in line with standards.