Three big cement manufacturers have offered to waive their exemptions from import inspection procedures as a sign of cooperation, the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP) said Friday.
A letter forwarded by the group to the Department of Trade and Industry dated August 24, 2017 cited the conciliatory positions of the three companies on import procedures that have caused a running feud between cement manufacturers and importers.
“In essence, Taiheiyo (Cement Philippines Inc.), Cemex (Cemex Holdings Philippines Inc.) and Republic (Cement Group) are willing to undergo the same shipment inspection procedures as the traders,” the letter said.
CeMAP president Ernesto Ordoñez said the three companies decided to forego the privilege as a sign of goodwill to all stakeholders in the cement industry.
“I emphasize here that though they are allowed to be treated differently because of their lower risk category consistent with the World Trade Organization rules, and even if it is the DTI position... the three companies are very willing to forego this justified different treatment. They are willing to go through the same import procedures that the traders undergo,” he said.
He added the gesture would contribute to harmony in promoting consumer welfare.
While Taiheiyo, Cemex and Republic decided to forego the privilege, their individual positions do not reflect the entire association’s views, Ordoñez said.
The cement group is still responsible to directly inform the Trade Department of any development.
Ordoñez reiterated in the letter that the sampling and testing of imports by the three cement companies should be conducted in the Philippines either at the point of entry area, the importer’s declared warehouse, or silo.
The test results should conform to Philippine National Standards before releasing the imported cement to the market.
Ordoñez stressed the need for local testing and not rely only on pre-shipment quality inspection done in the cement’s point of origin because of concerns over the integrity of such inspection and testing.
He noted that the conversion of testing results using standards in other countries to local standards might not be accurate.
The DTI commissioned studies and consultations on import procedures to ensure cement from overseas sources were of high quality to protect consumers amid the reported proliferation of expired, substandard and mislabelled cement in the local market.