Gov’t slaps duty on detergent ingredient

By Ronnel Domingo
Published on the July 13, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Wednesday it would impose a “provisional safeguard duty” on a key ingredient used in manufacturing detergents, citing findings that a surge in imports of the material caused “serious injury” to local manufacturers.

An additional P14.15 will be charged on every kilogram of imported technical-grade sodium tripolyphosphate, or STPP-TG, effective “200 days from the issuance of a relevant Customs Memorandum Order, which was published today [Wednesday],” Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila said.

“The findings of DTI’s investigation showed that the surge in the importation of STPP-TG has caused a decline in the domestic industry’s market share, production, capacity utilization, productivity, sales and profitability,” Favila said.

He said the duty was set “at a level that we believe would be sufficient to prevent the industry from sustaining further injury that would be difficult to repair unless a provisional measure is taken now.”

He said the trade and industry department would immediately forward the records of the case to the Tariff Commission, which he said would conduct its own public hearing and formal investigation.

Favila said the department would decide on whether to impose a final safeguard measure based on the Tariff Commission’s findings.

Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said there would be no shortage of STPP-TG in the market even with the provisional safeguard measure.

“Our studies have shown that the effect of the provisional measure on the cost of detergents would be negligible and will not substantially affect prices of detergents,” Maglaya said.

She said the domestic manufacturer had enough capacity to supply the needs of downstream industries.

Last April, the labor sector unit of advocacy group Fair Trade Alliance supported a petition of Chemphil Albright and Wilson Corp. for a safeguard duty on STPP.

Imposing an additional duty “is just and fair, given the predatory behavior of the importers-exporters involved in the dumping of STPP from China into the domestic market and given the now comatose state of the domestic industry,” the FTA-Labor said.

The group said imported STPP now accounted for 60 percent of the market, with shipments shooting up 140 percent a year from 2000.

“This STPP surge is truly sudden, massive and debilitating for the local producers,” it said. With

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