Steel sector can compete without guarantees, says Tariff Commission
The PHILIPPINE steel industry has adapted to import competition after the end of a decade of imposing safeguard duties on angles, according to the Tariff Commission.
Safeguard measures on steel angles were extended until 2019 after the local industry reported serious injury caused by import competition under Republic Law 8800 or the Law of the Republic of safeguard measures.
The commission assessed the performance of the local industry in executing a plan to help it adapt to external pressures while safeguard obligations were still in place.
“Actions taken by the steel angle industry to improve production efficiency and increase production have been effective,” the agency said in an April report. “The domestic industry has reached a level of efficiency that will allow it to compete successfully with imports after the end of the safeguard measure.”
Local producers have more than doubled to reach 21 this year against 10 in 2009.
The Tariff Commission said the local industry maintained a dominant position in the market and increased production and sales, generating 5.8 billion pesos in average annual sales from 2014 to 2019.
“If no safeguard duty had been imposed, the domestic industry would not have been able to easily invest in the implementation of efficiency measures, and it would have continued to produce at relatively higher prices. “, did he declare.
He added that a narrower price gap between imported steel angles and locally produced steel angle bars showed a successful adjustment to the competition.
Jose Salvador Rivera, Jr., who advocated for the petitioners – Cathay Metal Corp., Dragon Asia Rolling Mills, Inc. and Lunar Steel Corp. – said in February that guarantees should not be extended after the industry shows financial growth.
But Ramon Tan, president of an industry segment, Philippine Steel Corner, Form and Section Manufacturers, Inc., said the duties would protect them while unregistered angles continue to enter. in the country.
In its report, the Tariff Commission said local industry must continue to maintain its competitiveness amid a coronavirus pandemic to avoid wasting the gains made over the past decade.
“It is also imperative that the government do its part, creating the conditions that will lead to a more stable and predictable business environment and promote the ease of doing business in the new normal environment,” he added. – Jenina P. Ibañez