Group offers help to curb smuggling of construction materials
The government may have lost some P800 million to P1 billion in tax revenue last year due to the smuggling and manufacturing of sub-standard construction materials, according to the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (Pisi).
Pisi noted that these substandard products did not only deprive the government of tax revenue, but they also poses danger to the public and to local industries, including the steel manufacturing sector.
Pisi is pushing for greater vigilance against the proliferation of substandard products and is hoping that the Department of Trade and Industry’s campaign will be sustained.
“Filipino steelmakers urge greater vigilance against the proliferation of substandard products. Most of these products were smuggled into the country, evading technical inspection,” Pisi said in a statement.
In a letter to the DTI, Pisi president Roberto Cola stressed need to “conduct a massive market monitoring and enforcement campaign to protect the local steel industry against proliferation of uncertified imported steel products.”
Pisi offered the government assistance in the form of logistical support and technical expertise to help improve monitoring of import shipments.
Pisi issued the statement after the DTI’s Consumer Protection Group discovered last month that substandard steel products were being sold in two hardware stores in Caloocan. Technical experts from the Pisi accompanied the DTI teams during the raids.
The raids on Xtreme Unite Steel Inc. and WDL Enterprises, both along Quirino Highway, resulted in the confiscation of thousands of pieces of uncertified and substandard steel reinforcement and angle bars. The confiscated products would be destroyed to prevent their use.
Some of the substandard products appeared to have been smuggled in. Others bore the markings of domestic manufacturers, according to Pisi.
Last month, Pisi conducted test purchases of various imported steel products and found most of them substandard. A great number of products reaching the retail market did not have Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) markings.
“Monitoring imported steel products is a challenge, considering limitations on government resources. The challenge is magnified by the upswing in smuggling activities. Smuggled products evade not only import duties but product certification processes as well,” Pisi said.
“Despite the proliferation of imported steel products in the local markets, there is hardly any record of their importation at the ports of entry. This can only indicate the scale of smuggling going on. Smuggling of construction materials harms not only domestic manufacturers but consumers above all,” the group added.