Producers to appeal ruling on tariff, Philippines

Producers to appeal ruling on tariff, Philippines
Published: 14 July 2004

An umbrella group of Philippine cement producers said that it will appeal a recent Supreme Court ruling that struck down a special tariff on imports imposed by the government.

The Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines said in a statement that it has yet to secure a copy of the ruling issued Friday, but noted its readiness to appeal the decision.

The government imposed the special tariff - amounting to 20.60 peso/ 40kg bag - in December 2001 after local cement producers said they were losing market share to imports being dumped in the country at prices below production cost. With shrinking market share, local cement manufacturers said they had to lay off workers too.

The tariff was later pared to PHP15.60 per bag.

In 2002, the Tariff Commission recommended the removal of the special tariff since the surge in cement imports didn’t cause any "serious injury" to the local industry.

Local cement producers subsequently went to the Court of Appeals, which ruled that the trade secretary can issue the temporary tariff protection since the commission’s findings were mere recommendations.

The trade secretary extended the special tariff last year, citing the appeals court ruling as the basis for the decision.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court said the secretary of trade can’t issue a special tax protection after the Tariff Commission found there wasn’t any need for it.

But Edcel Lagman, a lawyer for CeMAP, said: "We are convinced that the Court of Appeals’ decision upholding the Department of Trade and Industry’s authority to formulate and implement government policy on trade and industry is the right and most logical decision...".