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DTI, cement makers agree on price monitoring, freeze in tariff cuts

- Marianne V. Go () - February 8, 2004 - 12:00am
Local cement manufacturers have vowed to implement a strict monitoring of cement prices, while the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) holds off a reduction in the P20.60 per bag safeguard tariff.

Following a meeting with Trade and Industry Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, local cement makers agreed to strictly monitor prevailing cement prices to be able to pinpoint the causes of price manipulation.

The cement firms said that while they have control over their ex-plant price, the manipulation most likely occurs in the retailers’ and distributors’ level.

There is also a difference in prices quoted for bulk purchases, those for over a hundred bags and those for just one or two bags, the group said.

Purisima, they added, seemed to realize that there has indeed been an increase in the cost of inputs of cement manufacturers following the oil price adjustment which affects power and transport cost, and the foreign exchange movement.

During the same meeting, cement importers also pointed out that even with a lowering of the safeguard tariff, they would not be able to import and sell the imported cement at a lower price than what is prevailing in the market.

Cement prices, as well as prices of other construction materials such as steel and aluminum, have risen due to increased demand from China.

Purisima had earlier threatened to reduce by another P5 per bag the safeguard tariff on imported cement that former Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel Roxas II had earlier cut by P5 per bag.

However, the first P5 reduction in the safeguard tariff has not yet been implemented even as Purisima is evaluating an additional P5 cut to bring down the safeguard tariff to P10.60 per bag.

Local cement manufacturers are hoping that with their meeting with Purisima, he will opt not to impose an additional cut in the safeguard tariff.

Meanwhile, industrialist and consumer advocate Raul T. Concepcion also urged local cement manufacturers to come out with a list of their retail prices in various regions and vow to maintain those prices up to June this year.

The list of prices should be published specifically in areas where a reported increase in prices has been noted.

He said cement prices have risen to as high as P150 per bag in some areas.

BAG CEMENT CONCEPCION DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY PRICES PURISIMA RAUL T SAFEGUARD TARIFF TRADE AND INDUSTRY SECRETARY CESAR V TRADE AND INDUSTRY SECRETARY MANUEL ROXAS
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