Philippines: The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has introduced a customs duty on imported cement of US$4.81/t. The Manila Times reports that the measure is subject to annual review and will be in place for three years, decreasing by US$0.48/yr.
The government previously imposed a provisional tariff of US$4.02/t, in spite of protests from Vietnam that any executive action would be in contravention of World Trade Organisation rules. Philippine law allows for the imposition of such measures where an appointed advisory body has determined that increased imports ‘threaten to substantially cause injury to the domestic industry.’
The advisory body in question is the Tariff Commission, who in August 2019 recommended a tariff of US$5.68/t. Secretary of Trade and Industry Ramón López stated that the figure aims to address the threat with minimal impact on buyers. Cement prices in the country hit a low in early January 2019 of US$98.6/t, rising to US$108.25/t after the imposition of the provisional tariff.
Vietnamese producers will be the hardest hit by the price hike, with 75% of the Philippines’ imported cement originating in Vietnam. Asian Review reports that a further 18% comes from neighbouring China and 8% from Thailand.