Workers are seen mixing cement at a construction site in Quezon City, May 19, 2020. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

ANTI-DUMPING DUTIES will be slapped on certain cement imports from Vietnam for five years, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

In a department order dated Dec. 16, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said dumping of Ordinary Portland Cement Type 1 and Blended Cement Type 1P from Vietnam in the country poses an “imminent threat of material injury to the domestic cement industry.”

This comes after the DTI reviewed the final report of the Tariff Commission (TC) regarding its investigation on alleged dumping of cement imports from Vietnam. The petition was filed by Republic Cement & Building Materials, Inc., CEMEX Philippines Holdings’ subsidiaries — Solid Cement Corp. and Apo Cement Corp., and Holcim Philippines, Inc.

The TC had earlier ordered the imposition of anti-dumping duties on cement imports from Vietnam.

In its report, the commission noted that the locally manufactured cement products are similar to the ones imported from Vietnam.

“The volume of imports [of both types of cement] at dumped prices is not negligible, accounting for 53% of total Philippine cement imports from July 2019 to December 2020,” the commission noted.

Dumping occurs when exporters sell their products to an importing country at a lower price compared with its normal value when used in the home market.   

Based on the World Trade Organization (WTO) anti-dumping agreement, member countries are allowed to impose anti-dumping duties to mitigate any injury to the local industry.

According to the TC’s final report, the country’s Type 1 and Type 1P cement imports rose by 11.2% to 5.896 million metric tons (MT) in 2020, and 16.2% to 6.850 million MT in 2021.

In the first half of 2022, Type 1 and Type 1P cement imports rose by 7% to 3.5 million MT, compared with the three-year average of 3.27 million MT between 2019 and 2021.

“The existence of threat of material injury to the domestic industry” is imminent in the near future, as indicated by the significant rate of increase of dumped imports into the Philippines capturing substantial market share; presence of price undercutting, price depression and price suppression during the (period of investigation),” the TC said.

It also cited the significant available production capacity of Vietnam, which can accommodate more exports to the Philippines, as well as the Philippines’ open market.

The DTI order identified 11 cement companies from Vietnam that will be slapped with definitive anti-dumping duties.

The dumping duties on Type 1 cement starts at $1.61 per metric ton (/MT) or 3.9% of the export price, to $10.29/MT or 27.64% of the price.

Dumping duties on Type 1P cement exports range from $1.43/MT or 3.41% of the export price to $16.42/MT or 54.82% of the export price.

The DTI said the order will take effect after the period for the filing of a motion for reconsideration lapses, in case there is no motion filed or if the motion is rejected.  The Bureau of Customs will then issue a memorandum order.

Provisional anti-dumping duties were imposed on cement imports from Vietnam between December 2021 to October this year, driving prices higher. — Arjay L. Balinbin