DTI studies import duty

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THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is studying tariff measures on imported products to boost state coffers.

“We are considering, maybe, but that’s still being studied right now. If at all, it would be a minimal tariff just to raise funds,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a television interview on Tuesday.

“It’s not for protectionism. It is simply to raise some revenues for the government.”

In a mobile phone message sent to reporters, Mr. Lopez said he had asked his team to survey costs among suppliers abroad and local manufacturers. In principle, he said all products being studied for this measure will be solely for revenue generation. He did not identify the goods being considered.

He said in the ABS-CBN News Channel interview that locally produced products will continue to be prioritized for the government’s massive infrastructure program “Build, Build, Build.”

“It will become some kind of a guideline that will enjoin the contractors, those who won the contract dun sa (at the) Build, Build, Build, to prioritize ’yung (the) locally made products or inputs. This is really to stimulate demand.”

Minsan, you don’t have to give a subsidy or government in-cash support, kailangan lang give them the demand, the market for their products, and buhay na sila. Lalakas na ulit ’yung negosyo and local employment (Sometimes you don’t have to give subsidies or cash support from the government, you just give them demand, the market for their products, and they will survive. Their business and local employment will be strong),” he added.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on May 2 temporarily raised tariffs on imported crude oil and refined petroleum products to raise revenues for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) relief measures.

The Energy department estimated the government could raise up to P6.78 billion in revenues from the increased import duty this year.

The Trade department had considered safeguard duties on imported cars to protect local assemblers after Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. shut down its Laguna facility in March. — Jenina P. Ibañez