The Trade department's decision to lower by P5 the duty on cement is a good compromise for both local manufacturers and consumers. Industrialist and consumer advocate Raul T. Concepcion said the Trade department's decision to slash the cement safeguard duty to P15.60 is more practical than an earlier plan to reduce the duty by P10, which would have resulted to a revised duty of P10.60 per 40 kilogram bag. "It's a good win-win situation and I think at the end of the day they would be happy," Mr. Concepcion, who met with cement manufacturers last Tuesday said. But Cement manufacturers belonging to the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP) have expressed disappointment with the P5 reduction. The group had lobbied for the retention of the P20.60 definitive duty.
After reviewing tariffs on cement, the Trade department decided to reduce the P20.60 definitive duty imposed last June after monitoring an increase in the domestic prices of cement. During the holidays, Mr. Concepcion's Consumer and Oil Price Watch received several complaints from consumers on the tight supply of cement and high prices. Mr. Concepcion said that if cement prices go beyond P125 per bag, he expects to receive more complaints from consumers. The reduction of the safeguard duty, Mr. Concepcion said, tempered the price increase.