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Cement firms can’t label imports as PH products

/ 04:00 AM October 31, 2020

The government ordered cement companies to stop labeling their goods as a Philippine product if they are imported.

This followed the complaint of a group of local cement makers saying a competitor was calling its imports as products of the Philippines.

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued a memorandum circular dated Oct. 28, which, among other provisions, ordered cement players to stop printing their cement bags with the words “Product of the Philippines” if these would be used to rebag imported cement.

The DTI gave manufacturers and operators of bagging facilities 60 days to finish any corrective measure, a copy of memorandum circular No. 20-56 circular read. It was only given to reporters on Friday, Oct. 30.

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“Upon issuance of this circular, manufacturers and/or operators of bagging facilities shall immediately cease all printing operations of previously approved cement bag designs indicating the words ‘Product of the Philippines’ but are used to pack imported cement products,” the circular read.

“Inventory of all printed cement bags shall be conducted by the BPS (Bureau of Philippine Standards) at the bagging facilities for recording purposes and immediate corrective action to reflect the country of manufacture,” the DTI said.

After the 60-day period, market monitoring and enforcement of the circular will begin, wherein violators will face penalties that can include the confiscation or destruction of the products and even the suspension of their Philippine Standards (PS) license, which authorizes them to use the PS certification mark on their product in the first place.

The circular did not explain in detail what prompted the new guidelines.

Instead, it just said that “it was observed that some imported cement products shipped in bulk and bagged in the Philippines are labeled as ‘Product of the Philippines’.”

The DTI documents also said that the product label “causes confusion among the consumers since it is not reflective of the imported products’ country of origin.”

The issue, however, began in January this year when the Cement Manufacturers of the Philippines (Cemap) wrote to the DTI reportedly complaining about one of the brands under competitor Philcement Corp.

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The same “Product of the Philippines” label was found in the brand of Philcement, according to Cemap, even though the company was a known importer.

Cemap also reportedly claimed that Philcement’s products had the words “Manufactured by Philcement Corporation” printed on the cement bags.

The DTI, however, had already ruled in favor of Philcement in April, noting that its markings were actually compliant to the “guidance and instruction of the Bureau of Philippine Standards,” according to the company in a press statement. 

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TAGS: Cement Manufacturers of the Philippines, DTI, Philcement Corp.
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