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DTI extends, hikes safeguard duty on cement

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In a bid to keep prices of cement stable and protect local manufacturers, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has adopted the Tariff Commission’s recommendation to impose a definitive general safeguard duty on imported cement for the next three years.

The DTI decided on a definitive safeguard duty of P10 per 40-kilogram bag (or P250 per metric ton), lower than the commission’s recommendation of P12 per 40-kg. bag but higher than the P8.40 per 40-kg. bag provisional duty imposed in February 2019.

The rate will be reduced to P9 per 40-kg. bag in the second year of implementation and further to P8 per 40-kg. bag in the third year.

In a statement, the DTI assured that the imposition of the definitive safeguard duty would not cause a shortage in cement supply in the domestic market “considering that the cement manufacturers have sufficient capacity to meet domestic demand.”

The department said the imposition of the definitive general safeguard measure is in the public interest.

“The safeguard level aims to minimize the impact to prices for buyers and users while addressing the industry injury issue, while still encouraging local manufacturers to continuously pursue efficiencies to be more globally competitive,” the department said.

“There is also a need to moderate imports to balance trade. If local manufacturers can adequately supply domestic requirements, they need to be provided a level playing field to enable them to compete with imports. This will allow expansion of the country’s manufacturing base and generate more jobs for Filipinos,” the department added.

The Tariff Commission made the recommendation to impose a safeguard measure after it “established the existence of a causal link between imminent threat of serious injury to the local cement industry and increased imports of cement”.

The DTI first decided to impose a provisional safeguard duty on imported cement in January 2019, after receiving complaints from local manufacturers about a surge in cement imports.

The provisional duty, which was good for 200 days, was P8.40 per 40-kg. bag, less than 4% of the average price of P220 per bag.

“With the elements of surge and injury clearly established, DTI is mandated to impose a safeguard duty,” DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez had said. (Ventures Cebu)

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