A Japanese cement importer who had questioned the Department of Trade and Industry’s decision to impose safeguard duties on imported cement before the Supreme Court has accumulated a total of P37.8m in unpaid duties and value-added taxes covering shipments from December 2001 to July 2003, Customs papers showed.
Southern Cross Cement Corp. earlier refused to pay safeguard duties, arguing that its petition was still pending before the high tribunal.
Documents indicated that Southern Cement instead posted letters of credit which, despite a demand from the Customs bureau, was not honored by the issuing bank.
Still, Southern Cement was able to release imported cement to the market.
Southern Cement imported a total of 162,000 metric tons of cement during the period in question, the documents showed.
Then Trade chief Manuel A. Roxas II imposed the P20.60 per bag safeguard duty in June last year in a bid to protect local manufacturers from the tide of cheap imported cement.
The definitive duty, which was retroactive to Dec. 10, 2001, will take effect until December this year.