SCG mulls P100 million investment for new ceramic tile kiln
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Thai conglomerate Siam Cement Group (SCG) plans to invest P100 million in the Philippines this year for a new kiln to provide high quality ceramic tiles.

SCG Philippines country director Anuvat Chalermchai told reporters the plan, while currently under study, would be for subsidiary Mariwasa Siam Ceramics Inc. which is involved in ceramic tile production, as well as for the group’s cement and building materials business.

While he declined to provide a breakdown of where the investment would be spent, he said bulk would be used for a new kiln.

“We like to modernize. We will replace the old kiln for more efficiency,” Mariwasa president Jakkrit Suwansilp said.

He said the new kiln would be imported from China.

Should the investment be approved this year, he said the new kiln could already be used at Mariwasa’s production facility in Sto. Tomas, Batangas by next year.

Jakkrit said the new kiln is expected to improve the company’s efficiency and allow it to produce better quality ceramic tiles including a bigger 60 x 60 variant.

Bulk of the ceramic tiles produced by Mariwasa are sold in the domestic market.

With ceramic tile imports with questionable quality being sold 40 to 50 percent cheaper than those locally produced, Jakkrit said Mariwasa has asked the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to bring back ceramic tiles in the list of products under mandatory certification.

Ceramic tiles used to be part of the list, but was removed along with other items such as plywood, flat glass, common nails and GI sheets in 2015.

When a product is part of the list under mandatory certification, importers have to secure the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) certificate from the DTI before being allowed to sell the item in the market.

Importers are given the ICC certificate by the DTI when the products pass the safety and quality tests.

“Before, we used to have ICC sticker for the product testing. Now, it will also be good to push that with DTI,” Jakkrit said.

Earlier, Mariwasa, representing the ceramic tile industry, also filed a petition before the DTI for possible application of safeguard duty on ceramic tile imports as inbound shipments of such have increased and contributed to the serious injury of local players.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the agency has launched a preliminary investigation on the matter.

Under Republic Act 8800 or the Safeguard Measures Act, a country can impose safeguard measures or higher duties on imported goods to provide relief to local players if it is found an increase in imports of a certain commodity has hurt the local industry.

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