Turkish flour importers accused of technical smuggling
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - January 29, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Some 1,800 bags of Turkish flour have been smuggled into the country and declared as Indian flour to avoid payment of duties, the Philippine Association of Flour Millers, Inc. (PAFMIL) said.

According to the PAFMIL, Turkish flour is being brought in as “Indian Flour” to avoid payment of dumping duty.

Citing the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the PAFMIL said authorities in General Santos found 1,800 bags of flour shipped to the country made in Turkey and not in India as declared in import documents.

Flour from India has no dumping duty and has a tariff rate of seven percent.

Japslaib Lending and Trading Co., which imported the product, also reportedly undervalued the commodity by declaring an import value of only $.318 per kg.

The BOC’s Value Reference for Indian flour is $.044 per kg.

According to BOC authorities, the imports also lack iron fortificant which is in violation of the Fortification Law.

Flour products found not containing Vitamin A and Iron are not allowed to be sold to the public.

The imports, likewise, lack identification of the manufacturer, a violation of labelling requirements of the Consumer Act.

PAFMIL executive director Ric Pinca said local flour millers have anticipated that some importers would resort to technical smuggling by declaring their imports as other commodities, instead of Turkish flour, so as not to pay dumping duty.

“Now we have to closely guard against  ‘transshipment’ activities too which is declaring the imported flour as coming from another country instead of Turkey,” he said.

According to Pinca, technical smuggling of Turkish flour continues in Manila’s ports and Customs authorities have put flour items under “alert” status to ensure that importers are subject to the right dumping duty.

The Tariff Commission imposed a dumping duty of 2.87 percent to 16.19 percent on 13 Turkish flour milling companies last year.

The TC decision was issued following a conduct of formal investigation on a petition filed by the PAFMIL which claimed that local flour could not compete with Turkish flour being sold at dumping prices.

CITING THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS CONSUMER ACT FLOUR FORTIFICATION LAW GENERAL SANTOS INDIAN FLOUR JAPSLAIB LENDING AND TRADING CO PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF FLOUR MILLERS RIC PINCA TARIFF COMMISSION
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