Cement, wheat tariffs scrapped

Cement, wheat tariffs scrapped
Published: 20 November 2008

Tariffs on wheat and cement will be temporarily removed in an effort to stabilse domestic prices in the Philippines.

Import duties for both commodities, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared in two executive orders, would be cut to zero for six months "subject to further review."

Domestic cement firms and corn growers criticised the move.

Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said the revenue impact would be minimal. Imports are in fact expected to increase, meaning that value-added tax (VAT) collections will also rise.

For cement, the Philippines imposes a three per cent tariff on imports from within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. For non-ASEAN countries or those with most favored nation status, the duty is normally five per cent.

Cement manufacturers are expected to lower prices to around P175-180 for every 40kg. bag.

Cement makers Holcim Philippines Inc and Lafarge Philippines in September increased prices by P10-12. Trade Department data showed that cement sold in Metro Manila cost P205 per bag as of the first week of November.