Politics

Petition to extend safeguard measures for cement rejected

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THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it rejected a petition to extend safeguard measures on cement imports after a finding of no “serious injury” to the domestic cement industry from the expiry of the measures.

The DTI released on its website on Wednesday Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 22-14 signed by Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual on Oct. 24, which cited the recommendation of the Tariff Commission (TC) to not extend safeguard measures. 

Republic Act No. 8800 or the Safeguard Measures Act authorizes safeguard measures to protect domestic industries from being “unduly harmed” by imports.

“The petition for extension of general safeguard measure on imports of ordinary Portland Cement Type 1 and Blended Cement Type 1P is hereby dismissed,” according to the order.

The DTI said safeguard measures on imported cement expired on Oct. 22, after having been in force for three years.

The Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (CeMAP) had petitioned for the extension.

According to the DTI, it received the TC’s formal investigation report on the safeguard measures on Oct. 5.

The TC had found no “significant overall impairment” of the domestic cement industry that resulted in serious injury during the review period of 2019-2021.  

“There is no existence of an imminent threat of serious injury and significant overall impairment to the position of the domestic cement industry in the near future,” the TC said.

The TC added that the domestic industry maintained market standing, improved capacity, stabilized manufacturing costs, and increased profitability.

“The production output of the petitioner representing the domestic industry constituted a major proportion of the total domestic production of ordinary Portland Cement Type 1 and Blended Cement Type 1P,” the TC said.

The CeMAP has said that a non-extension “jeopardizes” the industry’s efforts to maintain operations during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.  

“The requested safeguard measure extension was necessary for adjustment plans to be completed in order for the industry to be ready for global competition,” CeMAP Executive Director Cirilo M. Pestaño said earlier.

The safeguard measures on the two types of cement were imposed in 2019 after the DTI issued DAO 19-13.

The safeguard duties imposed on the imported cement started out at P250 per ton in the first year of implementation and falling to P200 per ton this year.

According to the TC’s final report, Philippine Type 1 and Type 1P cement imports rose 11.2% to 5.896 million metric tons (MT) in 2020, and 16.2% to 6.850 million MT in 2021.

In the first half of 2022, Type 1 and Type 1P cement imports rose 7% to 3.5 million MT, compared to the three-year average of 3.27 million MT between 2019 and 2021. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave