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Friday, April 19, 2024

Cement importers seek refund of safeguard duties

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Cement importers asked the Tariff Commission and the Department of Trade and Industry to refund provisional and definitive safeguard duties worth P1.28 billion.

An industry source said the importers filed their claims before the Court of Tax Appeals and once granted, the TC and DTI would have to reverse its ruling on the collection of the safeguard duties.

The petitioners, including PhilCement Corp., Pabaza Import and Export Inc., Fortem Cement Corp., NGC Land Corp. and Cohaco Merchandising and Development Corp. sought the CTA opinion to nullify the TC and DTI decision for alleged lack of merit.

PhilCement paid P533.52 million, both in provisional and definitive safeguard duties; Pabaza, P30.48 million; Fortem, P433.32 million; NGC, P239.28 million; and Cohaco, P64.88 million.

Laban Konsyumer Inc. earlier called for a refund of the duties paid by importers.

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The DTI subjected cement importers to provisional duties of P210 per metric ton for 200 days and definitive duties of P250 per MT for the first year; P225/MT for the second year; and, P200/MT for the third year.

“Because safeguard duties are indirect taxes, these are tacked on and passed out to cost of the cement to the consumers,” said the industry source.

The source said the operational costs of cement importers rose following the imposition of safeguard duties.

“The message here is that the importers should also voluntarily refund the safeguard duties to retailers and customers like that of the vehicle imports case. The car companies should also give back the security deposit paid by the buyers,” he said.

Cement importers are still paying the definitive safeguard duties.

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