The Department of Trade and Industry will likely rescind the provisional safeguard duties imposed on imported vehicles after the Tariff Commission issued a staff report rejecting the Philippine Metalworkers Association’s claim of a surge in imports since 2014, a source said Tuesday.
The petition is still pending with the Tariff Commission while waiting for clear guidelines from the DTI. “With the TC staff report, it’s possible that the case may be dismissed,” a source in the DTI said.
Automotive dealers in February started imposing provisional safeguard duties of P70,000 per unit of imported passenger cars and P110,000 per unit of light commercial vehicles, on top of the regular tariffs, following an order from the Trade Department based on the petition of PMA, a local industry group.
The TC staff report noted that imports of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles did not increase dramatically to warrant safeguard measures. The period covered by the investigation was 2014 to 2020.
The staff report said the increase in the volume of importation could not be considered “recent, sudden, sharp and significant”,
The DTI in February acted on the petition for safeguard measures filed by the PMA which raised concern on increasing importation of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.
Under Republic Act 8800 or the Safeguard Measures Act, anybody may file with the DTI a verified petition requesting that action be taken to remedy the serious injury to the domestic industry caused by increased imports of a like or directly substitutable product.
The DTI forwarded its comments to the TC staff report last week, signed by DTI Undersecretary and Board of Investments managing head Ceferino Rodolfo.
It also sought the removal of the 2020 data as the pandemic year was an unusual case that should be considered in the light of the investigation, the source said.
The source said that while the DTI may exercise its authority to issue an order of dismissal, PMA as the petitioner, may appeal the secretary’s decision to the Court of Tax Appeals.