Cement makers dispute cartel claim

Cement makers dispute cartel claim
Published: 10 May 2004

Philippine Cement manufacturers want the Supreme Court to strike down a memorandum filed by Japanese-owned Southern Cross Cement Corp., which alleged that a cartel, or price collusion, exists among Filipino cement makers.  In a motion filed with the High Court, the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CMAP) asked the tribunal to remove the documents from the records of the case for being "replete with sham, false and misleading allegations."  The Japanese firm filed the memorandum with the Supreme Court on March 15 to summarize its claims that the imposition of safeguard measures on cement imports would wipe out the business of cement importers.

CMAP said even the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has opposed the claims of Southern Cross that a cement cartel exists in the Philippines.  It added the "erroneous and unfair" charge of cartel was made against the local cement industry because of recent investments made by global cement corporations in various Philippine cement firms.  But these allegations against foreign investments are immaterial and irrelevant and should be stricken from the records because under the law, there are no discriminations against foreign investments, CMAP said. "It is in fact ironic and hypocritical for petitioner Southern Cross to accuse the cement industry of an alleged cartel on the basis of the foreign investments when it is itself 100% foreign-owned," cement makers said.

Cement makers further stressed that contrary to the allegations of Southern Cross, the imposition of safeguard measures on imported cement will benefit consumers as well as local communities where cement plants operate.  The DTI had more than 10 months to review and evaluate CMAP’s application before the provisional safeguard tariff was issued due to serious injury to the domestic cement industry caused by increased imports of cement, respondent cement makers said.