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Safeguards on imported cars protect local industry
In a virtual briefing, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the imposition of a provisional safeguard measure on certain vehicles is a policy tool available to the government to protect the local industry.
STAR/File

Safeguards on imported cars protect local industry

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - March 2, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The provisional safeguard duty imposed on imported vehicles is meant to support and protect the domestic manufacturing industry by encouraging consumers to buy locally manufactured cars, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said yesterday.

In a virtual briefing, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the imposition of a provisional safeguard measure on certain vehicles is a policy tool available to the government to protect the local industry.

He said under the Safeguard Measures Act, the government is allowed to provide reprieve or some form of protection for local manufacturers when they are hurt by a surge in imports of like or competing products.

Through the safeguard measure, Lopez said the government is hopeful consumers would be encouraged to patronize locally manufactured vehicles since these would be more affordable compared to imported automobiles slapped with provisional duties.

He said every time a consumer buys a locally manufactured product, he helps local jobs, especially during this difficult time.

“This is a way to recover immediately if we patronize locally produced products, not just vehicles, but any locally manufactured product,” he said.

Lopez said the DTI is encouraging the purchase of locally made products since many are currently out of jobs due to the impact of the pandemic.

He said an estimated 1.6 million individuals have yet to return to their jobs.

Lopez also said that the Tariff Commission is conducting a probe on the safeguard measure to take into account the concerns of stakeholders.

Earlier, consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. questioned whether the provisional safeguard measure on vehicles is an effective tool to deter imports with automotive firms passing the cost to consumers by collecting a security deposit.

Among the automotive companies that started collecting deposits for imported vehicles covered by the provisional safeguard measure yesterday are Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. and Isuzu Philippines Corp.

The DTI ordered the imposition of provisional safeguard measures amounting to P70,000 for every imported PC and P110,000 for every imported LCV as its evaluation of a petition filed by the Philippine Metalworkers’ Alliance showed the country’s vehicle imports are causing serious injury to the domestic motor vehicle manufacturing industry.

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