Workers to DTI: We demand STPP safeguards

The labor sector of the Fair Trade Alliance (FairTrade) questions the decision the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) not to grant the definitive safeguard to the petitioner, CAWC Inc., a manufacturer of Sodium Tripolyphosphates (STPP), even after the Tariff Commission found sufficient cause for granting it.

STPP is an essential ingredient used for making laundry detergents. STPP comprises approximately 20 to 28 percent of detergent powders and 3 to 12 percent of detergent bars.

In its decision, the DTI reversed the ruling of the Tariff Commission to give a three-year definitive safeguard to CAWC. DTI completely disregarded the finding of Tariff Commission, which has established the existence of a causal link between the increased imports of STPP and the serious industry to the domestic STPP industry.

“We therefore urge Secretary Favila to stand by the findings of the Tariff Commission which was done in a scientific manner. This decision of Tariff Commission does not violate existing laws. In fact, it is well within Philippine Safeguard Law (RA8800) and the rules of the World Trade Organization”, emphasized Fair Trade labor convenor Angelito Mendoza.

Mendoza said, “The imposition of a safeguard is just and fair, given the predatory behavior of the importers-exporters involved in the dumping of Chinese STPP into the domestic market and given the now comatose state of the domestic STPP industry.”

The Tariff Commission report said that STPP imports in 2005 cornered 65% of the market from a low of 20-30 percent in the previous years. Furthermore, according to the report, the decline in the market share of the domestic industry is directly attributable to the significant increase in imported STPP in 2005.

The deluge of imports resulted in less than 25% capacity utilization of the local STPP industry resulting in job losses and a continuing shut down since 2005. “Clearly, the local STPP industry, most especially its workers, needs the safeguard in order to preserve their existing jobs.” Mendoza said.

“The only way for CAWC to survive is by ‘equalizing’ the business playing field for the locals – through the imposition of the definitive safeguard tariff against importers who seem to have the habit of breaking all the rules of fair trade.

“Iilan na lang ang industriya sa Pilipinas. Hahayaan ba nating tumumba ang isa na naman, na nagkataong isang basic industry? Papayagan ba natin na maging dumping ground na lamang ang Pilipinas ng produkto ng ibang bayang ayaw sumunod sa fair trade rules?, Mendoza added.

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