Tariff body postpones public hearing on float glass safeguard measure

The Tariff Commission has postponed the public hearing for the safeguard investigation on float glass, extending the domestic industry’s wait on whether it will secure the same protection the government granted to cement manufacturers.

In a notice issued last week, the tariff body suspended the public hearing on the formal investigation on the imposition of a definitive safeguard measure on imported float glass. The public hearing was originally scheduled on October 21 to 25.

The commission said it decided the public hearing be “moved to a later date to allow the submission of required information by interested parties and give this commission additional time to complete its data verification.”

The public hearing will provide the domestic industry and importers the platform to defend their case on the matter. The commission was initiated to launch a safeguard investigation on float glass after the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in July applied provisional duties of P2,552 per metric ton on clear float glass and P2,835 per MT on tinted float glass.

The DTI concluded in its preliminary investigation that increased imports of float glass resulted in the serious injury of the domestic industry’s market share, onshore sales, capacity utilization, production, employment, profitability and inventories.

The imposition of provisional safeguard on float glass effectively confirmed the DTI’s February report of import surge over the past years made it difficult for the domestic industry to compete. Citing Customs data, the trade office said import volume of clear float glass jumped from 2013 to 2016, and only declined in 2017, on the enforcement of antidumping measure against China.

From 4,337 MT in 2013, imports of clear float glass surged by nearly 646 percent to 32,351 MT in 2014; by 52.35 percent in 2015 to 49,289 MT; by 19.27 percent in 2016 to 58,787 MT; before declining close to 29 percent in 2017 to 42,029 MT, the DTI reported.

The volume of imported tinted float glass also leaped triple digits in 2014 and 2015. Imports of tinted float glass increased 273.53 percent in 2014 to 22,431 MT, from 6,005 MT in 2013; and grew more than twofolds in 2015 to 50,974 MT.

However, imports slid 15.14 percent in 2016 to 43,255 MT and dipped 2.18 percent in 2017 to 42,312 MT—that’s when the Philippines invoked antidumping duty on imports from China, the country’s largest overseas source of float glass.

The safeguard petition was filed by Pioneer Float Glass Manufacturing Inc.—the country’s lone float glass maker—on the claim its business got seriously injured by the import surge between 2013 and 2017. It is hoping the commission’s investigation will lead to same results as those obtained by cement manufacturers, who are enjoying a three-year safeguard measure after proving imports hurt their operations.

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