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Zero tariff a worry for the Philippines

World Cement,

CeMAP, the cement association of the Philippines, is pushing for the 5% import tariff to be restored. National demand has been strong over the last year or so, as election spending and repairs following typhoon damage boosted construction projects. That demand is projected to drop this year, although predictions of 4 – 6% are still much higher than the traditional 1 – 2% rate of annual growth.

Ernesto M. Ordonez, CeMAP president, has said that the industry needs the tariff to be reinstated to prevent dumping and price dropping. Since the tariff was waived in February, just two shipments have reportedly arrived in the Philippines, both from Vietnam. According to Ordonez, ‘both shipments were substandard and used a fake address’. He points to this as evidence that the zero tariff has failed. He also stated that he is increasingly worried that the Philippines will become a target for Chinese overcapacity, which would undermine prices in the country.

Meanwhile, some manufacturers have put prices up and others are likely to follow, as they attempt to recoup high production costs. Ordonez said that this is the first price increase since 1997, despite power costs doubling in that time.

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