February 27, 2022 | 00:00
MANILA, Philippines — The government is weighing the possibility of further extending an extensive tariff shield to the local cement industry to protect the industry from cheap imports.
In a notice, the Tariff Commission (TC) said it had initiated its formal investigation into a request to extend the safeguard measure against imports of Type 1 Ordinary Portland Cement and Type 1P Blended Cement.
Commerce Secretary Ramon Lopez referred to the petition filed by the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP) requesting an extension of the safeguard measure imposed on cement imports.
The commission is due to hold a preliminary conference on March 8.
“Topics for discussion include timelines, nature of investigation, appearance of attorneys and parties, number of witnesses, notification, accessibility of documents and public record, confidentiality of documents, submission of position papers and memoranda, the conduct of the inspection and verification of data, schedules for public hearings and other activities, and other matters that may help to expeditiously resolve the matter,” said the CT.
In 2019, the Department of Commerce and Industry (DTI) issued Department Administrative Order (DAO) 19-13 imposing a general safeguard measure on imports of cement for a period of three years after the TC investigation found a causal link between increased cement imports and the threat. serious harm and damage to the national cement industry.
The safeguard measure would be subject to regular review to give the DTI the opportunity to modify the duty if necessary.
In the first year of implementation, the DTI imposed a safeguard duty of Pula 250 per metric ton or Pula 10 for a 40-kilogram bag of imported cement.
While the safeguard duty was supposed to go down to 225 pesos per ton or 9 pesos per bag in the second year, the DTI issued DAO 20-08 in 2020 raising the safeguard duty to 245 pesos per ton or 9.80 pesos per bag. bag.
The DTI adjusted the safeguard duty following a review, with CeMAP requesting to postpone the reduction of the safeguard duty and to consider raising it to P12 per bag.
CeMAP wanted the reduction of the safeguard duty in the second year to be postponed because imports of cement continued to increase despite the imposition of a safeguard duty in the first year.
In the third year of implementation, the safeguard duty is 200 pula per ton or 8 pula per bag.
Under Republic Act 8800 or the Safeguards Act, the government can impose a safeguard duty to provide relief to domestic players affected by increased imports.