Trade group backs new commodity import policy

The Philippine Cement Importers Association (PCIA) on Tuesday expressed full support for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that rejected the adoption of more stringent imports safeguards on pure importers, while exempting imports made by local manufacturers.

In a consultation meeting called by Trade Assistant Secretary Ernesto V. Perez, the Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) presented the latest department administrative order (DAO) setting new quality and conformity certification procedures, including a pre-shipment test, another seven-day product testing upon arrival, and another verification test plus a 10-percent surety bond on top of the PS license requirement.

“We are satisfied with the latest DTI proposal. Now, there is equal footing between importations of pure traders and manufacturers-importers,” Philippine Cement Importers Association (PCIA) Executive Director Dani Enriquez said.

“There are now many brands of cement in the country. It is good that the BPS is considering our proposal to include as requirement that every importation be covered by an affidavit of undertaking from the PCIA. The PCIA shall then compel importers to comply with DTI rules and regulations, and certify authenticity of testing reports and import documentations, which, I think, is where the DTI shall be needing some assistance.”

The PCIA earlier cited the discriminatory effects of DAO 17-02/05 favoring imports made by local manufacturers over pure importers in violation of the key principles and obligations under the World Trade Organization, where the Philippines is a member.

During the meeting, there was initial resistance from local manufacturers over issues on consumer protection that the members of PCIA said were one-sided.

“The PCIA has the same concerns as what the local manufacturers are claiming when it comes to consumer welfare. If they still disagree with the DTI-proposed DAO and insist on procedures that they claim protect consumers, then I suggest that the same treatment be applied to all cement products whether they are imported or locally manufactured before they reach the consumer. I think that answers their concerns,” Enriquez said.