Philippine NGO urges DTI to act on cheap Chinese cement
A non-governmental organisation (NGO) advocating product safety for consumer welfare urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to take appropriate action on the reported anomalous import of cheap cement from China. He said it not only undermines Philippine laws but also poses serious threat to public safety. Lawyer Rafael de la Torre, chief advocate of the Center for Organizational Studies (COSA), was reacting to reports that another huge shipment of China-made cement has arrived, and is now being moved to the project site without prior government approval and pertinent documents. Citing intelligence, De la Torre said this importation of portland cement traced to the China National Construction and Agricultural Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CAMC), was allegedly undervalued at $30 per metric tonne (mt). The lawyer recalled that the CAMC imported a cheaper type of cement (compound cement) last year valued at $47/mt. "Viewed in the light of the Filipino and international trading laws, this is a clear case of dumping because the importations were executed at predatory prices to the prejudice of local cement manufacturers," De la Torre stressed. In addition, it is 83 per cent lower than the FOB prices of Chinese cement sold in other countries, he added. He also revealed that the CAMC importation was being moved from the customs bonded warehouse without the required importation clearance certificate (ICC) contrary to law. They also said the first CAMC importation was still be retested while the second shipment is undergoing its initial quality tests. De la Torre noted that subjecting the imported cement to another round of laboratory tests simply meant that the construction material does not pass the minimum standards for safety, and "should not be allowed to be used by local cosumers."