Imported cement will now be able to reach the markets faster as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has ordered the shortening of the product testing period to only seven days from 28 days.
The directive is DTI’s second major effort this year to encourage more cement imports in a bid to reduce prices by increasing supply. A P5 reduction in the P20.60 safeguard duty for every 40kg bag of cement was earlier ordered.
Cement prices have continued to surge this month despite the onset of the rainy season, when demand is usually at its weakest. Data showed factory prices up 6 per cent to P122 per bag from P115, with retail prices higher by about P10 to P12.
Trade Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal, Jr. said “We have considered the suggestion of the importers to reconsider the period required for cement testing to save on inventory and holding and carrying costs.”
Mr. Cristobal said product safety standards would not be sacrificed as the imported cement must reach 85 per cent of the required comprehensive strength of 27.6 Mega Pascals (MPa), or 23.46MPa, on the seventh day of testing before being issued an Import Commodity Clearance.
Samples will still be tested continuously for 28 days to see if they attain the required 27.6MPa comprehensive strength. If they do not, the whole shipment must be recalled.