In photo: DTI Secretary Fred Pascual and SteelAsia Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Yao

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual and SteelAsia Manufacturing Corporation executives lean towards a possible partnership to significantly boost the Philippine steel production.

“The Philippines has a strong market demand for steel products, and now is the time to scale up domestic production. To achieve this, the DTI is working closely with industry leaders like SteelAsia,” said Secretary Pascual.

“We at DTI are building a conducive environment for these businesses to thrive. The government is actively addressing supply chain challenges, and I am confident we’ll soon see a reduction in power costs,” he added.

A visit to SteelAsia’s seventh and newest plant in Compostela Cebu on May 23 offered a glimpse into the inner workings of SteelAsia, which boasts a 3-million-metric-ton production capacity of steel rebar. Its ongoing expansion pipeline will generate economic opportunities for local production of essential downstream products like wires, nuts and bolts, mesh, cables, and even pre-engineered steel structures.  Beyond its production capabilities, SteelAsia’s state-of-the-art facility leverages cutting-edge technology to minimize its environmental impact and proudly operates on 80% renewable geothermal energy.

SteelAsia has strategically located plants in Bulacan, Batangas, Davao City. Further solidifying its vision for the Philippines, the company announced a staggering PHP 65 billion investment earmarked for expanding its operations across the country.

This expansion plan is projected to create 15,000 new jobs on top of its existing workforce of 3,000 employees.  It is also set to propel the Philippines towards achieving up to 70% self-sufficiency in its steel supply chain within the next two to four years.

This strategic move directly addresses the Philippines’ current reliance on imported steel. By expanding into a wider variety of steel products, SteelAsia aims to significantly reduce dependence on foreign suppliers—empowering the Philippines to cater to its steel demands while fostering a robust domestic steel industry.

From L to R: SteelAsia President and Chief Operating Officer Sean Andre Sy, DTI Secretary Fred Pascual, and SteelAsia Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Yao

Secretary Pascual stressed, “The Philippines has the potential to become a regional leader in steel production. We’re implementing long-term plans that ensure a steady supply of steel to fuel growth across all regions of the country.”

Recognizing the immense potential of this venture, the DTI has pledged to continue full support through its Board of Investments. This commitment is already being realized through the DTI’s Green Lane initiative, which is expediting SteelAsia’s permitting process and offering them access to attractive investment incentives.

The trade chief also leveraged the potential of the Tatak Pinoy Act, particularly with its recently signed implementing rules and regulations, to bolster local industries like steel manufacturing. He highlighted the Philippines’ rich natural resources for steel production and the immense opportunities for innovation in this sector.

“We at SteelAsia are incredibly grateful for the DTI and its dedication in establishing the green lanes for our company. For the first time in my many years of experience, we have a streamlined process that fosters a more efficient and supportive environment for entrepreneurs, startups, and businesses like ours,” said SteelAsia Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Yao.

This focus on domestic steel production aligns with the DTI’s commitment to fair competition. The DTI-Consumer Protection Group’s consistent inspections and enforcement actions have demonstrably reduced the presence of substandard steel products in the market, ensuring both consumer safety and a fair playing field for legitimate steel manufacturers.

“Our campaign against substandard steel is about protecting Filipino families and ensuring the structural integrity of buildings in our country. We will continue to enforce regulations to ensure all steel products meet our established safety standards,” Secretary Pascual stressed. ♦

Date of release: 27 May 2024