The Philippine government is keen on extending for the second time a zero-duty importation of cement and wheat to ease the tight supply situation and rising prices of these two commodities.
Trade and Industry Undersecretary Zenaida C. Maglaya said the recommendation was for another six-month extension of the duty-free importation of cement and clinker and milling wheat.
The first extension of the six-month duty-free importation of milling wheat and cement expired last Tuesday, January 12.
Maglaya said the Philippine International Trading Corp. will be on standby for the cement importation.
Cement prices have gone up to as high as P270 per 40-kilogram bag in December from only P205 because of the tight supply in the domestic market as cement plants underwent annual rehabilitation work and a problem of a bridge that caused delivery problem.
The DTI has already imposed a suggested retail price at P205 to P210 and has served notice of violations to retailers for overpricing.
It has also required cement firms to show their inventory levels and their receipts to their dealers to find out who and what caused the rising prices.