Public hearing on safeguard measures on tiles set in November
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - October 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Tariff Commission (TC) has scheduled a hearing on the safeguard measure case on ceramic floor and wall tiles next month to determine if locally manufactured tiles are competing against imported ones.

In a notice, the commission said it would hold a public hearing on Nov. 7, in view of a motion filed by the Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association of the Philippines.

The hearing would look at whether ceramic tiles produced by the domestic industry are comparable and competing with imports.

“Parties are required to submit affidavits of their witnesses on or before Oct. 30,” the TC said.

Last May, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez issued Department Administrative Order 19-06 which slapped imported ceramic floor and wall tiles a provisional safeguard duty in the form of a cash bond worth P3 per kilogram.

The preliminary safeguard duty will be in place for a period of 200 days.

While the provisional safeguard duty is in effect, the TC will conduct an investigation to find out if such measure should be made permanent.

Lopez decided to impose a provisional safeguard duty as the probe of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) showed higher imports have hurt the local industry.

DTI said imports volume of ceramic floor and wall tiles grew in absolute terms for the 2013 to 2016 period.

On the other hand, domestic players saw their share in the market shrink to 15 percent in 2017 and 2018, from 96 percent in 2013.

DTI conducted a preliminary investigation following Mariwasa Siam Ceramics Inc.’s petition which was filed to represent the ceramic tile industry.

In the petition, it was claimed imports have increased and contributed to the serious injury of local players.

Republic Act 8800 or the Safeguard Measures Act allows government to impose safeguard measures or higher duties on products when increased imports are seen to cause injury to the local industry.

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