DTI: Cement sector needs regulator

Amid the demand from the cement industry for government to institute the same strict guidelines set on importation of sugar to the purchases of the commodity, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said the cement industry lacks a regulatory body.

“No similar regulation that applies on sugar imports is imposed on the cement trade. For the sugar sector there is the Sugar Regulatory Administration, we don’t have a cement regulatory authority. I don’t think we have that,” he said.

Further, Pascual maintained that cement has its own mechanism versus sugar, a prime commodity.

“If there’s a problem, the cement industry can go directly to the Tariff Commission, since they don’t have a similar authority that will regulate them in terms of quantity,” Pascual said in a telephone interview.

Last year, CeMAP had asked the Tariff Commission to impose anti-dumping duties against Type 1 and Type 1P cement imports from Vietnam, and to extend the safeguard measures slapped against cement imports in 2019 but which will expire in October.

CeMAP, supported by non-member local manufacturers, told the Tariff Commission that despite the safeguard measures, the volume of imports increased.

Remedies available

For his part, Trade Assistant Secretary Alan Gepty maintained that in event of dumping of cement imports, the industry can always avail of trade remedies such as punitive anti-dumping measures.
“These are safeguard measures in times of surge of importation,” he added.

Former Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez imposed provisional anti-dumping duties on specific Portland cement brands from Vietnam based on the results of a preliminary determination on the anti-dumping petition filed by Republic Cement and Building Materials Inc., CEMEX-Solid Cement Corporation/Apo Cement Corporation and Holcim Philippines Inc.

Preliminary determination of the DTI showed nine out of 16 Vietnamese exporters of type 1 cement and four out of 12 exporters of type 1P cement were found engaging in unfair practices that caused injury to the domestic cement industry.

The Global Cement News in June reported that the Philippines imported 6.47 metric tons (MT) of cement from Vietnam in 2021 or 91 percent of a total 7.11 MT of cement imported in the said year.

CeMAP records showed that total imports increased by 14 percent year-on-year from 6.25 MT of cement in 2020, while imports from Vietnam increased by 20 percent year-on-year from 5.4 MT.

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