Philippine cement importer faces fines

Philippine cement importer faces fines
Published: 01 October 2007

Lawyer Rafael de la Torre, a consumer rights advocate, has vowed to file a
lawsuit against Korean shipyard and trading company Hanjin for possibly
violating Philippine trade and industry laws.

De la Torre said Hanjin refused to subject 3000 bags of cement imported
from China to a retest by the trade department. The cement imported by
Hanjin failed the test the first time, the department said.

De la Torre said the legal action is meant to “protect the consumers from a
possible proliferation of unsafe substandard cement, which can jeopardize
human life. It is my way of showing consumers that we do not allow foreign
companies to disrespect our laws.”

Section 6.6 of DTI Department Administrative Order no. 2 prohibits the
refusal of any importer to provide access to records of imported goods and
allow entry or inspection of authorized government personnel. Two trade
personnel were earlier barred from entering the company’s warehouse in
Olongapo City, Zambales.

An official reportedly stopped the two personnel from completing their
inspection of 3,091 bags of cement after checking only 651 bags from the
first warehouse. They were then barred from entering a second warehouse,
which is known to be storing big quantities of cement shipped from China.

DTI rules state that no goods must leave a warehouse if these have not been
given an import commodity clearance (ICC). A clearance is issued by DTI’s
Bureau of Product Standards to importers after the goods have undergone a
series of tests over a 28-day period. The goods must conform to the
requirements of Philippine National Standards or relevant and acceptable
international standards.

“Since the cement products failed the first test, and therefore, were not
issued an ICC, Hanjin should not be allowed to distribute or sell the cement
in question,” De la Torre explained.