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Quick DTI move on cement hailed

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Domestic cement manufacturers expressed relief over the decision of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to impose provisional anti-dumping duties for four months on importations of cement originating from Vietnam.

In a statement, the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines Inc. (CeMAP) lauded Secretary Ramon Lopez for his swift decision to protect local industries from the inroads of specific Portland cement brands from Vietnam.

The imposition of additional tariff was the offshoot of a preliminary assessment of anti-dumping petitions filed by Republic Cement and Building Materials Inc. (RCBM), CEMEX — Solid Cement Corporation/Apo Cement Corporation and Holcim Philippines Inc.

“The various stakeholders of CeMAP’s member companies are grateful for DTI’s support for the continued modernization and expansion of the local cement industry and the generation of more jobs for Filipinos,” according to the group.

DTI’s preliminary determination discovered nine out of 16 Vietnamese exporters of type 1 cement and four out of 12 exporters of type 1P cement were engaging in unfair practices that caused injury to local cement makers.

CeMAP maintained cement is a strategic industry being a critical input to the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program and in building decent homes for Filipinos.

Level playing field
“CeMAP advocates fair competition in the domestic cement industry but believes that the continuing rise in the volume of imported cement, particularly from Vietnam, puts at risk our country’s economic recovery as it undermines the domestic cement manufacturing industry’s capability to contribute to and catalyze inclusive growth through job creation, tax revenue generation, improving the balance of payments, utilization of local natural resources and overall economic recovery and growth,” the statement further reads.

Provisional anti-dumping duties on type 1 cement will range from $1.02 per metric ton (MT) to $10.53 per MT, or 2.69 percent to 31.87 percent of the export price.

The nine exporters account for 82 percent of total imports of type 1 cement.

On the other hand, provisional anti-dumping duties on Vietnam’s type 1P cement exports will range from $1.16/MT to $12.79/MT, or 3.8 percent to 29.2 percent of the export price.

These provisional duties are estimated to add P2.01 to P25.08 to the import cost of a 40-kilogram (kg) bag of cement but the DTI said the additional cost will not be passed on to consumers due to the strong competition in the market.

CeMAP offered its full cooperation with the investigation by the Tariff Commission to determine whether all of the legal requirements for the application of definitive anti-dumping duties have been met.

“The Tariff Commission is the authority that will decide the merits of our application. CeMAP will respect and abide with the final decision of the Tariff Commission and of DTI,” according to the group.

Earlier, Trade Secretary Lopez said the competitive environment in the domestic market for cement will ensure prices and supply will remain stable.

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