Statement of DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez on Cement Safeguards
STATEMENT OF DTI SECRETARY RAMON LOPEZ ON CEMENT SAFEGUARDS
Cement is a strategic industry in the Philippines because it is a critical input to infrastructure (Build, Build, Build) and decent homes for Filipinos.
As such, we have to ensure its availability (right price, top quality, right place, sufficient volume) in both the short- and long-term. Having a vibrant domestic industry, under a contestable market where legitimate imports can freely enter, is important in ensuring this.
But relying solely on imports and being at the mercy of global supply and demand situation is risky and irresponsible considering changes in global demand and supply conditions. This will lead to a dependence on imports, leading to the perennial trade deficit.
Even if the cement industry is considered as strategic, it receives no tariff protection whatsoever, as imports currently enter at zero duty. However, safeguard duties are legitimate tools in trade remedies (i.e. allowed under our international commitments such as in the World Trade Organization) to assist industries that have experienced a surge in the importation and a decline in sales and profitability.
In the case of cement manufacturing, imports of cement increased from only 3,558 metric tons in 2013 to more than 3 million metric tons in 2017; and the share of imports (from non-manufacturer or “pure” traders) increased from only 0.02% to 15% during the same period. Equally important, the industry experienced a sharp decline in income (earnings before interest and taxes) of 49% in 2017.
With the elements of surge and injury clearly, established, the DTI is mandated to impose a safeguard duty. In determining the amount of duty, however, the DTI balances the interests of all stakeholders—and has given particular attention to ensuring that supply remains steady and that prices will not increase.
DTI is thus imposing a provisional safeguard duty of Php 8.40 per bag, equivalent to about 4.0%. This is the level that will still ensure price and supply stability as:
1) Imports will still continue, ensuring strong competition;
2) There is currently enough domestic capacity of 35 million MT, to meet demand estimate of 25 million MT, but must still be encouraged to increase, given continuous growth in demand; and
3) That we are requiring the cement manufacturers to maintain their current retail price levels. We will closely monitor the selling price of cement manufacturers and ensure that they will not increase their prices.
At the same time, the safeguards will encourage existing and new players to build additional facilities. New facilities will help us attain a healthy level of domestic capacity that will address our perennial trade deficit, ensure a long-run supply of needed for public infrastructure and homes for Filipinos, and generate more jobs here in the country.
This is a provisional duty, effective for 200 days, in the form of cash bond on imported cement, while the Tariff Commission undertakes and concludes its formal investigation.♦
Date of release: 18 January 2019
Press Statement of DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, 1st Logistics Services Philippines Conference and Exhibition
Press Statement of DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez
1st Logistics Services Philippines Conference and Exhibition
6 December 2018, Philippine International Convention Center
Good afternoon to our friends from media. Today government and the private sector banded together for the First Logistics Services Philippines Conference/exhibition. Based on registration reports, there are approximately 500 participants coming from the logistics services industry, government sector, and development partners.
We are here to focus our attention on the logistics services sector. Its vital role in the movement of goods and service and its impact on the economy cannot be overemphasized.
Thus, I am joined here in the panel by both government and the private sector to show the country’s solidarity in pushing forward this sector of the economy.
Think about it. An efficient logistics services sector will not only help the business and its bottomline, it will also help the consumer and the country in general.
Just this morning we heard from the President of the Philippine Multimodal Transport and Logistics Association, Inc. and her positive forecasts on the logistics services sector as a job creator and the sector’s potential for growth.
Transport and logistics are priority sectors in the inclusive industrial led innovation strategy (i3s) and government is poised to provide full support to this industry, as we heard from Asec. Fita Aldaba.
We are circulating to our media friends, the sector’s TEN COMMITMENTS, which serves as guidance in the promotion and development of the logistics services sector.
This “10 Commitments” is a product of series of dialogues among the government, the industry players, and the development partners. It gives a clear-cut direction for all stakeholders in terms of priorities and targets. We have already succeeded in rallying all the concerned sectors to support our priority agenda. The next step is to sustain the momentum and implement the strategies identified in the 10 commitments.
Aside from the conference, we also aim to encourage our exporters to outsource their logistics activities and focus on their core business activity. We hope to link these LSPs through the Logistics Services Philippines Exhibition that will happen tomorrow at the Mezzanine Area of Reception Hall. The Exhibition is organized back-to-back with National Export Congress, which will be participated by 48 logistics services providers (LSPs) offering freight transport service, customs brokerage service, warehousing and storage and cargo handling services. This business-matching activity opens opportunities for our LSPs to link with MSMEs and promote their products and services. We have high hopes that the historic two-day activity will bring positive outcomes for the logistics services sector.
We thank you for your time.♦
Date of release: 6 December 2018
Joint Press Statement on the Occasion of the Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of a Joint Economic and Trade Committee between the Republic of the Philippines and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea
JOINT PRESS STATEMENT ON THE OCCASION OF THE SIGNING OF THE MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A JOINT ECONOMIC AND TRADE COMMITTEE BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE INDEPENDENT STATE OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA
17 November 2018, International Convention Centre, Port Moresby
Honourable Ramon M. Lopez, Secretary for the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines and Honourable Rimbink Pato, Minister for Foreign Affairs of PNG signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of a Joint Economic and Trade Committee, or JETC, on behalf of the Philippines and Papua New Guinea governments.
The signing of the JETC is a milestone achievement for both economies and represents the first initiative to formally engage bilaterally on economic, trade and investment issues.
PNG and the Philippines are both developing member economies of APEC. Apart from continuing close cooperation at the multilateral level, both economies see great potential in enhancing relations at the bilateral level. Building on the long established friendly and cordial relations, the JETC will encourage more mutually beneficial exchanges and cooperation to further deepen existing relations and trade and investment linkages.
The JETC will be a platform to discuss areas of mutual interests and to broaden and intensify cooperation between both economies. Cooperation activities include exchange of information, participation in trade and investment-related activities and promotion of economic cooperation between bodies such as government institutions, professional organizations, business federations, and chambers of commerce and industry.♦
Date of release: 19 November 2018
Press Statement of Secretary Ramon M. Lopez on the Nikkei Philippines Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)
On the Nikkei Philippines Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)
Joint Statement by Philippine Secretary of Trade and Industry Ramon M. Lopez and U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer
Press Statement of Secretary Ramon M. Lopez on the Issue of Congestion in the Port of Manila
Press Statement of Secretary Ramon M. Lopez on the Price Setting Approach for Cheaper Rice and Sugar
This is in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s Administrative Order No. 13 which instructs the Executive Branch to find ways in facilitating importation and availability of basic commodities especially rice and sugar.
Import permits can be given for a specific volume per period and at the targeted price so they won’t import to sell at other price points other than the set price. These importers will just pay tariff for their revenues as a way to protect the local farmers.
We have an immediate solution in providing the rice, and the reason why we prefer on buying in supermarkets is because we have greater control as to their sales record and this is not for major profit for them. We computed a reasonable return based on costing and have arrived at a price of Php38 per kilo.
Supermarkets will make the traders and palengkes can continue to sell local rice even at Php44 per kilo if they want because local rice is known to taste better. The good harvest local rice can go down also at Php39 per kilo but at least we don’t have wait for that as consumers are complaining everyday.
Consumers who prefer local rice can also pay premium because it tastes better. It was imported at Php80 per kilo but when you go to local stores the prices starts at Php120-180. But basic rice should be made available so consumers always have a choice.
As I end, I want to make it clear again that this will give only to those who will commit to sell at the targeted price. I sincerely hope this is one quick solution for everyone while we are waiting for rice tariffs. In that way, it will keep traders on their toes.♦