The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the duty-free status of imported cement and wheat would stay.
DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo on Monday told reporters that it is “too late” to change the Cabinet-level Tariff and Related Matters (TRM) Committee’s decision to extend the zero tariff on these goods. Domingo had said that the executive orders (EOs) that would extend for six months the duty-free entry of cement and wheat were being drafted and would be issued when Congress goes on recess.
The Department of Finance (DOF) had said that it is convincing the TRM to increase the duties on cement “even by one per cent” wheat, steel and petroleum products so that the government can earn more revenues amid a strong peso.
Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran had said that since the strong peso tempered inflation, the tariffs on the four products—which were reduced to zero mainly to stabilize domestic prices—should be increased. The DOF had said that the government is losing a total of P10.5bn in foregone revenues because of the implementation of the Asean Trade in Goods Agreement and of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement.