THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will no longer apply safeguard measures on ceramic floor and wall tile imports, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez told reporters last Friday.

The DTI will not be challenging the Tariff Commission’s recommendation against the measures. The commission in a Dec. 18 report said that it found no evidence of increases in ceramic tile imports that can cause serious injury to domestic production.

In May, the DTI had imposed a 200-day provisional safeguard duty of P3 per kilogram on ceramic tile imports in an effort to protect the domestic industry.

The Philippine ceramic tile industry consists of two companies: Mariwasa Siam Ceramics, Inc. and Formosa Ceramic Tiles Manufacturing Corp. Another firm, Eurotiles Industrial Corp., became a pure importer in 2017. First Lepanto Ceramics, Inc. ceased operations in 2013.

Following the commission’s decision, Mr. Lopez said that DTI will instead focus its efforts on standard compliance for ceramic tiles, glass, plywood, hollow blocks, and roofing materials.

Products under mandatory compliance are assessed by recognized testing centers for certification to protect consumers from substandard products.

“Babalikan namin ‘yung kaso nung sa glass (We will return to the case on glass),” Mr. Lopez said.

DTI in March issued a Department Administrative Order to place flat glass products under mandatory certification. The order had been suspended after importers were able to acquire court injunctions against it.

Mr. Lopez added that the department has also acquired additional funding in its budget to upgrade product quality testing facilities. — Jenina P. Ibañez