By virtue of Republic Act 911, the Tariff Commission was created in June 1953 under the Office of the President. This Act provided for a collegial body consisting of a Chairman and two Commissioners. The following were the main objectives of the Commission.
- To investigate the administration, fiscal and industrial effects of the tariff Laws of the country;
- To investigate tariff relations between the Philippines and foreign countries, commercial treaties, preferential provisions, economic alliances, the effect of export bounties, and the volume of importation compared to domestic production; and
- To undertake a thorough study of the Philippine Tariff system and submit its recommendation for its revision.
Since its inception, the Commission has undergone several reorganizations. In 1956, it was transformed into a division of the Department of Finance. In 1957, the Congress of the Philippines enacted RA 1937, otherwise known as the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, restoring the Tariff Commission as an independent body under the supervision of the office of the President and headed by a commissioner and an assistant commissioner.
In October 1973, by virtue of the Integrated Reorganization Plan (Presidential Decree No. 1), the Commission was reconverted into a collegial body with a Chairman and Two member Commissioners and placed under the administrative supervision of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA). This is the basis of the current organizational set-up of the Commission.
B. Main Functions and Duties
The Tariff Commission is tasked with the implementation of certain sections of the Tariff and Customs Code, namely:
- Section 301 - Dumping investigations
The Commission conducts formal investigations, including public hearings, on petitions filed against the importation of articles at dumping prices to determine whether or not the domestic industry is injured or threatened with injury as a result of this importation. The Commission prepares and submit a report on its findings and recommendations to the Secretary of Finance, who finally decides whether or not to impose a dumping duty.
- Section 302 - Countervailing investigations
The Commission conducts investigations on petitions against imported articles directly or indirectly granted any bounty, subsidy or subvention. The commission prepares and submits a report on its findings and recommendations to the Secretary of finance, who decides whether or not countervailing duties need to be imposed.
- Section 401 - Protection to Domestic Industries
Under the "Flexible Clause" provision (Section 401), the Tariff Commission undertakes investigations, including public hearings, on petitions to increase, reduce or even remove existing rates of duty, including any necessary change in tariff classification, for the purpose of protecting local industries or the economy as a whole. The commission prepares and submit its findings and recommendations to the NEDA, the Agency that makes the final recommendation for the President's approval.
- Section 402 - Promotion of Foreign Trade
Before any trade agreement is entered into with any foreign government for the purpose of expanding foreign markets for Philippine relations with other countries, the Commission conducts an investigation to determine whether or not such agreement is in the national interest. These trade agreements include those entered into in the GATT, ASEAN-PTA, GSP and GSTP. Moreover, the Commission determinede agreements. The report of its findings is submitted to NEDA, which makes its recommendation to the President.
- Section 505 - Trade Monitoring
The Commission monitors trade developments that result from the implementation of trade-related policies, programs, and regulations such as the import liberalization programs (ILP) and exemptions from the payment of import duties.
- Section 506 - Assistance to the President and Congress
The Commission provides information and other forms of assistance to the President and Congress on the evaluation of tariff-related matters.
- Section 1313A - Tariff Classification
The Commission prepares tariff classification rulings after thorough research and analysis on the commodities involved.