DTI chief clarifies ‘Online barter’ for personal transaction not illegal

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on Wednesday clarified that whereas online barter-trading is deemed illegal, exchanges of products for personal transactions, not as business, is allowed.

In a text message Wednesday, Lopez said barter trade is only allowed in three areas in the country — Siasi, Jolo; Sulu and Bonggao, Tawi-Tawi.

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“Outside those areas, barter trading across borders is not allowed. This is what I meant as illegal if done in other areas, or if done online and cross border and as a regular business, in (the) course of trade and not registered, not taxed,” he said.

During the community quarantine period, there’s a resurgence of barter buying and selling — the world’s oldest type of commerce by exchanging items and providers with no cash concerned within the transaction — however it’s now done in social media.

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Exchanging their used devices for meals and vegetable harvest for school supplies are among the transactions in the ‘online barter’, which are personal transactions.

Lopez said local barter commerce is subject to regulation.

It should be registered and is subject to tax if done in the course of business, he added.

Lopez further said that is also applicable to online transactions.

Barters with annual gross sales of PHP3 million are exempted from paying value-added tax, he said.

“However, personal transactions, not in the course of trade and business, are not covered by registration requirements,” he added.

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