By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Ceramic tiles traders have asked the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the exclusion of ceramic tiles from the coverage of mandatory standards certification.
In a letter addressed to DTI Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo, the Philippine Ceramic Products Importers’ Association argued that ceramic tiles should not be considered critical construction material and thus should not be subjected to mandatory product certification.
“Ceramic tiles do not pose danger to life, safety and health,” said the association’s letter dated December 5, 2019. The group expressed its willingness to present experts, witnesses, and evidence to establish that ceramic tiles do not pose danger to life, health and safety during a public hearing.
It cited that the international standards under ISO 13006 and the ANSI are voluntary and are intended to serve as guide to the general public, manufacturers, distributors, and other concerned persons in the tile industry.
According to the group, the proposed technical regulations on ceramic tiles contain provisions which are not practical and not feasible to implement within a reasonable period of time, particularly the almost impossible provision requiring a Philippine Standards license for tile manufacturers abroad. This is because the group said there are over 200 suppliers of ceramic tiles to the Philippines. Majority of them are from China, Spain, Italy, and Vietnam based on Bureau of Customs data.
It would be impossible for suppliers to get a PS license in just 6 months as stipulated in the proposed technical regulation considering the limited number and capacity of accrediting laboratories.
The group further noted that the proposed surety bond on a per shipment basis equivalent to 10 percent of the declared value is very costly for companies importing on a regular basis.
The association also slammed the proposed ₱20 million required minimum capitalization for a ceramic tile importer calling it excessive, prohibitive and counters the DTI’s thrust to promote small business because some importers only imports one container with a capital of only ₱500,000.