Cement importers seek refund, but where will the money go?

    Safeguard. Imported cement are slapped P10 per 40 kilogram bag, an additional duty that will deter import surge.
    Safeguard. Imported cement are slapped P10 per 40 kilogram bag, an additional duty that will deter import surge.

    Importers and traders are seeking for a refund of the safeguard duties imposed on imported cement.

    According to Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) , Cohaco Merchandising and Development Corp., Fortem Cement Corp., NGC Land Corp., Pabaza Import and Export Inc. and Philcement Corp. have filed before the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) on Oct. 11, 2019 a petition for review seeking to nullify the safeguard duty imposed and being collected from all imports of cement by the government.

    Named respondents were the secretaries of the Departments of Trade and Industry and of Finance, the commissioner of the Bureau of Customs and the chairman of the Tariff Commission.

    In a statement issued yesterday, LKI said it obtained last November 20 a copy of the petition of the importers.

    The statement said the petition asked the CTA to refund all safeguard duties collected in imported cement which was alleged to be in the amount of “P384.64 million as of the date of the filing of the petition for review and all succeeding safeguard duties that will be collected on the said products to the petitioners.”

    Also yesterday, LKI filed an urgent exparte motion to implead as intervenor and/or an ad cautelam (with caution) basis as nominal party on the CTA case numbered 10185.

    Vic Dimagiba, LKI convenor in his petition said, petitioners erred in their prayer seeking for the refund saying the allegation should be quantified as it did not specify the amount of duty collected as to whether it was the preliminary duty and the final duty imposed by the government.

    Dimagiba added it was not also clear if the refund will be given back to consumers who shouldered the additional cost arising from the safeguard.
    d on the additional duty through higher prices.

    “Any refund of the safeguard duty which the honorable court may decide should be refunded to all consumers who paid the safeguard duty on the purchase of imported cement as such safeguard duty were passed on to the price of cement per bag by the cement importers,” Dimagiba said.

    He added that any decision to refund the safeguard duty collected from the cement importers should also include all the respondents cement companies which were included in the petition for review on an ad cautelam basis, as said respondents cement companies were importers of cement and thus paid safeguard duty that were passed on to consumers.

    The Department of Trade and Industry in September slapped a definitive safeguard duty of P10 per 40 kilogram bag on cement, or P250 per metric ton; which is in between provisional duty of P210 per MT earlier imposed and the Tariff Commission’s recommendation of P297 per MT.

    The safeguard duty will go down to P225 per MT, or P9 per bag, on the second year and to P200 per MT, or P8 per bag, on the third year.