THE controversy surrounding the importation of sugar amid soaring prices and a looming supply shortage has hogged the headlines these past two weeks. It has all the elements of high drama with characters from the top echelons of government getting embroiled in a series of plot twists and turns.
But the sugar industry is not alone in its predicament. Local cement producers have also been up in arms against the alleged dumping of imported cement from Vietnam that threatens to undermine the domestic manufacturing industry.
Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CEMAP) executive director Cirilo Pestaño said predatory pricing by Vietnamese exporters is jeopardizing the contributions of local industry players to the economy in terms of revenue generation, job creation, natural resources utilization, additional investments, and improving the balance of payments.
Last June, CEMAP member firms such as Apo Cement, Holcim Philippines, Republic Cement, and Solid Cement reportedly filed an anti-dumping case against certain cement importations from Vietnam. Even non-members like Eagle Cement and Northern Cement supported the petition lodged with the Tariff Commission.
According to the petitioners, “the continuing rise in volume of certain exported Vietnamese cement to the Philippine market at dumped prices puts at risk our domestic industry and adversely impacts our country’s economic recovery.”
Republic Act No. 8752 or the Anti-Dumping Act of 1999 protects domestic industries that are likely to be materially injured by the dumping of articles imported into or sold in the Philippines. Based on the Department of Trade and Industry’s guidelines on anti-dumping, an exporting company is said to be dumping when exporters sell their product to an importer in the Philippines at a price lower than its normal value and is causing material injury to the industry producing a similar product.
Mr. Pestaño noted that Vietnam accounted for 91% of the Philippines’ cement imports as of 2021, versus 61% in 2017 and almost zero in 2013. This rapid increase was higher than the growth rate of the local market, and the continued influx of cement imports has resulted in the domestic manufacturers’ loss of sales volumes.
“Like our peers in the sugar sector, we welcome President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s action against the flood of imported products. We hope that the Marcos administration would extend this policy to other local industries that are facing equally serious threats from the influx of imports,” CEMAP’s statement implored.
GREEN OASIS EMERGING
The hilly municipality of Dupax del Sur in Nueva Viscaya province is fast becoming a travel destination for food and nature lovers, thanks to its beautiful sceneries and a new attraction called the Green Oasis of Dupax.
A unique dining concept that combines the freshness of the farm-to-table approach with Italian-inspired cuisine, Green Oasis is situated at an ancestral farm in the town known for its 18th-century church and the oldest acacia tree in Northern Luzon. The restaurant-cum-garden is managed by John Lacanlale Danao, whose Tagbanua ancestors hail from El Nido, Palawan. It features a shop for native goods and organic products as well as a reflexology walk and a children’s playground
This development is in line with Nueva Viscaya’s aim to become a premier ecotourism destination and not just a transit point to the Banaue Rice Terraces in neighboring Ifugao province. Blessed with a temperate climate and bountiful agricultural land, it is a major producer of high-value crops, vegetables, and cutflowers.
Also known as the “Citrus Capital of the Philippines” and the “Watershed Haven of Cagayan Valley,” Nueva Viscaya offers cascading mountains, unspoiled caves, historic churches, and a unique cultural experience with its multi-ethnic and indigenous people.
The opinion expressed herein does not necessarily reflect the views of these institutions and BusinessWorld.
J. Albert Gamboa is the chief finance officer of Asian Center for Legal Excellence and chairman of the FINEX Media Affairs Committee. #FinexPhils