DTI adjusts cement safeguard duty in 2021

By Kris Crismundo

January 1, 2021, 4:06 pm

MANILA – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is adjusting safeguard duty for imported cement this 2021 for the second year of the imposition of the trade remedy.

In an interview with reporters, DTI-Bureau of Import Services director Luis Catibayan said safeguard duty this year is being eyed at PHP9.80 per 40-kilogram bag of cement, which is higher from the initial recommendation of PHP9 per 40-kg bag.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez also told the Philippine News Agency on Friday that he already approved the new rate of safeguard measure for cement imports.

This, as the local cement industry requested for higher safeguard duty due to the influx of imported cement even with the imposition of PHP10-safeguard duty in the first year of the trade remedy.

In 2019, DTI imposed a definitive safeguard duty on imported cement for three years.

A PHP10-safeguard duty per 40-kg bag of imported cement was imposed in the first year of the safeguard measure to redress serious injury in the domestic industry.

The safeguard duty was supposed to be PHP9 per 40-kg bag of cement for the second year and to PHP8 per 40-kg bag for the third year. This recommendation, however, is subject to annual review.

“But under the WTO (World Trade Organization), under the law, we cannot increase the duty,” said Catibayan. “There is a requirement to progressively liberalize the duty.”

He added that in order to heed the call of the domestic cement manufacturers without defying WTO rules, DTI eyes to decrease the safeguard duty by only 20 centavos from the PHP10-safeguard duty in the initial imposition of the trade remedy.

DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo also said that as the government is rolling out its infrastructure project, they would like to see local cement manufacturers fill in the domestic demand. (PNA)