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Adviser wants safeguard rules vs PHL-made vehicles removed

THE Tariff Commission (TC) reported that the locally produced motor vehicles are “directly competitive” products to imported units, recommending the removal of safeguard measure imposed on said items.

The commission in a recent report shared that the locally manufactured passenger cars and light commercial vehicles can compete with imported units of the same kind because “they are substitutable with the latter in the market by providing consumers with an alternative for satisfying their needs and tastes for said product.”

The probe revealed there was no surge of imports of passenger car and light commercial vehicle units during the point of investigation from 2014 to 2020, both in absolute terms and relative to domestic production.

Since there was no increase in imports, TC said the “determination of serious injury or threat thereof, causation and unforeseen developments has become moot and academic.”

As such, the body recommended that no definitive general safeguard measure should be in place for the importation of the said products.

The investigation ensued following the petition by the Philippine Metalworkers Alliance claiming that a safeguard measure on vehicle imports should be in place to protect the local sector. The surge of car imports in the country, the group said, has posed threat to the Philippine automobile manufacturing industry.

According to Republic Act 8800 or the Safeguard Measures Act, the government may impose “general safeguard measure upon a positive final determination of the Commission that a product is being imported into the country in increased quantities …as to be a substantial cause of serious injury or threat thereof to the domestic industry.”

In January, the Department of Trade and Industry imposed provisional safeguard duties in the form of a cash bond amounting to P70,000 per unit for imported passenger cars and P110,000 per unit for imported light commercial vehicles.

Based on DTI’s previous reports, both the imports of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles increased significantly compared to domestic production during the period of investigation.

The BusinessMirror sought comments from the Trade department but has yet to receive a reply as of writing.

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