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The Department of Trade and Industry lauded the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) for its quick response to DTI’s call for the PCC to investigate excessive charges imposed by international shipping lines.

We thank the PCC led by Chairman Arsenio Balisacan and the commissioners, for listening to the plea of exporters and importers. We must put an end to this unfair practice of charging excessive fees as these charges increase the cost,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

During the meeting, a study on potentially avoidable international shipping costs and other charges was presented by its authors Dr Henry Basilio and Michael Raueber to the DTI and PCC officials. The study identified certain fees imposed by some international shipping lines and concluded these costs should be considered as part of foreign carriers’ operations and covered under freight costs.

Also, the study recommended that the excessive costs should not be allowed to be incurred by or passed on to local exporters and importers, especially if they do not have any contractual relationship with the foreign carriers.

Such costs, as revealed in the study, undermines the competitiveness of Philippine exporters and domestic producers by increasing the cost of imported raw materials and intermediate goods. Filipino consumers are also greatly affected by paying higher price for products for final consumption, since additional import costs are passed on to them.

Secretary Lopez said that while the PCC continues with its investigation, the DTI shall continue to explore avenues so government can put an end to this practice that affect competitiveness of local firms.

We are calling on all international shipping lines to put a halt to these unnecessary charges as these are unfair. Meanwhile we also call on exporters and importers to insist on “freight collect” as this is more advantageous. Finally we shall also call on the Bureau of Internal Revenue to investigate unpaid taxes arising from these charges.” Lopez added. ♦

Date Released: 15 August 2018

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