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FPI lauds DTI safeguard measures to aid local cement manufacturers.

The Federation of Philippines Industries (FPI) recently conveyed its support to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in executing a motu propio investigation on the effects of the cement imports on the local manufacturers.

In a letter sent to DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez on December 20, FPI Chairman Dr. Jesus Lim Arranza said that unrestricted imports will be disadvantageous to the country in terms of substantially low contribution, specifically in the creation of jobs and opportunities for tax revenues.

DTI released the notice of motu proprio initiation of safeguard measures on cement in September to determine whether cement imports are threatening to

cause 'serious injury tot he domestic industry.'

The review looked into the increasing volume of cement imports which ballooned from 3,558 to 3.4 million metric tons between 2013 to 2017. Low quality products have entered the market even with local plants being fully capable of meeting demand. At present, the estimated domestic cement effective capacity of 34.5 million tons is sufficient to meet the projected demand of 32.5 million tons.

Local manufacturers, while acknowledging future demand, have made commitments to bulk up with short- to medium-term investments. In the pipeline is 17-million metric tons of added capacity that would go online between 2019 to 2023. In terms of jobs, this can translate to 400,000 people employed by the manufacturers by 2030.

At present the industry is estimated to provide jobs to more that 42,000 workers and has contributed to a further 125,000 jobs in ancillary industries. Local employment adds to the sectors' already massive PhP 155-billion contribution to the country's GDP and its Php 21-billion contribution to tax revenues.

'FPI recognizes the importance of the local cement industry to nation-building. Hence the continued development, long term competitiveness, and overall positive outlook of the industry as a whole are matters which are core to the many advocacies of FPI,' the letter states.

'FPI would like to take this opportunity to extend its hand to the government through the DTI, in every way possible to live up to its commitment to help uphold the best interests of Philippine Industries.'

FPI carries out its advocacy work in many issues such tariffs, power, and wages on many fronts. It has taken a stand on various bills concerning the industries such as the Customs Modernization Program Safeguard and Countervailing Measures, Anti-Dumping, amendments to the Labor Code and the Anti-Smuggling Bill. Recently, it has expanded its fight against illicit trade including white collar crimes.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Dec 23, 2018
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