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Government may remove tariff on cement

By Elisa P. Osorio
Friday, September 26, 2008 [ philstar.com ]

The government is planning to remove the tariff on imported cement to make it more affordable to the public, Trade and Industry Secretary Peter B. Favila said yesterday.

Favila said he will ask the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to expedite the process for the release of the commodity to the market.

By lowering to zero the tariff on cement, Favila said consumers will be able to buy imported cement at a more affordable price.

“Of course, the cement will be subjected to tests to ensure that it complies with Philippine quality standards. We do not want to compromise safety,” he said.

Tariff rates for Portland cement stands at five percent for MFN (most favored nation) and three percent for CEPT (common effective preferential treatment).

Based on the latest product monitoring report of the DTI, prices of cement in the National Capital Region hover at P190 to P195 per 40kg bag.

Meanwhile, Favila said he has already asked the cement firms to explain why they need to raise their prices. The firms have been ordered to submit necessary documents to justify the increase.

“We have waited patiently for their submission as to why they have to increase this time,” Favila said.

Cement companies have not yet submitted a complete report to the DTI explaining their price hikes.

“Hopefully, imported cement will give competition to the industry and bring down prices of the commodity to more affordable levels.”

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