By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
The Department of Trade and Industry will tighten its monitoring on ceramic tiles after losing its bid to impose a permanent safeguard measure on imported ceramic floor and wall tiles.
The Tariff Commission, in its decision, turned down moves by the DTI to impose a permanent safeguard duty on imported ceramic tiles saying there was no import surge on this product as alleged by the DTI.
DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said they will no longer contest the decision of the Tariff Commission, which overturned its initial ruling to impose a provisional safeguard duty of ₱3 per kilo on imported ceramic floor and wall tiles.
“We will just implement a strong compliance on standards,” he said.
It could be recalled that the DTI secretary based on initial determination found merit to the petition by local tile manufacturers and imposed a provisional safeguard duty of ₱3 per kilo of imported tiles and walls on May 7, 2019.
The safeguard duty under Department Administrative Order 19-06 was meant to stop the import surges that have caused serious injuring the local industry.
Based on procedure, the TC conducted a formal investigation to determine if indeed there was import surge and injury to the domestic industry. A positive determination by TC would mean the imposition of a permanent safeguard duty on imported floor and wall tiles.
However, after its formal investigation, the TC found out that there was no increase in imports of ceramic floor and wall tiles, both in absolute terms and relative to domestic production during the period of investigation.
It said that total imports of ceramic floor and wall tiles only increase in 2014 and stabilized thereafter. Imports of glazed ceramic floor and wall tiles, which constitute 87 percent of the total ceramic tiles imported into the country, showed a declining trend starting 2015. Similarly, the increase in the share of ceramic tile imports relative to location production was only evident in 2014, which thereafter evened-out until the end of the period of investigation.
The TC also established that ceramic floor and wall tiles were not imported in increased quantities (whether absolute or relative to domestic production) during the period of investigation, the determination of serious injury, or threat thereof, causation, and unforeseen developments have become moot and academic.
“Considering that ceramic floor and wall tiles were not imported in increased quantities whether absolute or relative to domestic production during the period investigation, the Commission hereby terminates its formal investigation and recommends that no definitive general safeguard measure be imposed on importations of ceramic floor and wall tiles falling under HS 2017 subheading nos. 6907.22 and 6907.23,” the TC concluded.