MAKATI – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez and Puyat Steel Corporation Chairman Edgardo Reyes discussed the plan of expand the steel manufacturing base in the Philippines as a way to answer the country’s growing demand for steel products and reduce the trade deficit through import substitution.

During their meeting on 11 December with the DTI, Chairman Reyes reported that Puyat Steel is constructing a Php 500-million pipe manufacturing plant in Batangas that will produce steel pipes of up to 3 meters in diameter and to create 350 new jobs. It will be located beside the company’s existing plant in Batangas, and will begin operation in the first quarter of 2019.

Lopez is pushing for local manufacturing companies to expand operations amidst a fast-growing economy under the Duterte administration. Boosting the manufacturing sector creates jobs, increases the production capacity to support the rapidly expanding domestic demand and export requirements, and helps reduce the trade deficit, said Sec. Lopez.

DTI pushing for fair trade practices and a level playing field for domestic industries and is therefore studying the inclusion of steel pipes and roofing materials in the list of products requiring mandatory certification to ensure that only quality standard materials are sold in the local market, for the protection of consumers and users.

Strengthening enforcement of industry standards, he further noted, will prevent substandard imports and smuggled goods from entering the country. Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, who heads the Consumer Protection Group, said that the DTI advocates for the use of international standards for all local and imported steel products.

Mr. Reyes said that while they are facing challenges in maintaining its market share against imported products, they are willing to invest to expand more as they have the technology and know-how.

Puyat Steel Corporation is a 62-year old company that established the first galvanizing plant in the Philippines. They produce galvanized iron sheets for construction, building, and roofing materials.♦

Date of Release: 14 December 2018