The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has slapped a definitive safeguard on cement for a period of three years at a slightly lower rate recommended by the Tariff Commission (TC).
In a text message, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said the additional tariff is set at P10 per 40-kilogram bag or P250 per metric ton (MT) on the first year of implementation to encourage and challenge the local cement industries to be globally competitive.
The rate falls to P9 on year two and P8 on the third.
The order dated Aug. 27, 2019, takes effect 15 days after publication.
“The rationale for the safeguard level is to balance national interest, minimizing the impact to prices for buyers and users while addressing the industry injury issue, and yet still encouraging local manufacturers to continuously pursue efficiencies to be more globally competitive,” Lopez said.
The tariff levels are lower than the P12 per bag or P297 per metric ton recommended by the TC.
The current provisional duty which ends middle of the month is at P8.40 per bag.
At this level of tariff, Lopez said users of cement retain their option to choose between the local and imported cement since imports will still be allowed.
Lopez assured the imposition of a safeguard measure is not expected to cause a shortage of cement in the domestic market because cement manufacturers have sufficient capacity to meet domestic demand.
He added DTI has taken into account public interest in the decision whether to impose safeguard measures and has considered other factors that will assist the local industry and will benefit the consumers and end users.
Lopez in his order cited the TC’s determination that cement is being imported into the Philippines in increased quantities.
He said the Commission also established the existence of a causal link between imminent threat of serious injury to the local cement industry and increased imports of cement.
TC recommended the application of a definitive general safeguard measure to prevent the occurrence of the threat of serious injury.
Accordingly, the DTI has reviewed the Commission’s findings and recommendations and has established that the imposition of the definitive general safeguard measure shall be in the public interest.