The Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP) yesterday reiterated that the local cement industry should be strengthened first before tariffs are removed. CeMAP president Felix Enrico Alfiler said in a statement echoed the position of the Department of Trade and Industry that safeguards were necessary "because it saw the need for a strong cement industry in the long run in support of its housing and infrastructure programs."
Alfiler reacted to the statement of Economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri favoring the removal of tariffs on imported cement. Neri had noted that there was no dumping of cheap imported products that would necessitate the imposition of safeguards. "The sooner we take away the standards, the better," Neri said. "I don’t see dumping. I don’t feel there is a need for safeguards at this point." But Alfiler said there was a "continuing threat of dumped imports which can derail the industry’s efforts of structural adjustment for long-run competitiveness."