|The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has expanded the list of glass products to be investigated based on the complaint filed by Japanese-owned Asahi Glass Corp. whose operations have been affected by the unabated influx of imports from various countries.
Trade Secretary Manuel Roxas II said in a statement that the DTI has ordered the preliminary investigation on the importation of clear and tinted types of float glass from China, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Thailand, Korea and Taiwan.
Based on our initial investigations, there are reasonable grounds to initiate a preliminary investigation for safeguard measures on the float glass imports, Roxas stressed.
Earlier, the DTI ordered an investigation on the influx of imported figured glass used for windows, partitions, screens, doors and flourescent fixtures, as well as glass mirrors used for wardrobe doors, bathroom, furniture, projection screens, display cases, decorative wall, as well as ceiling and pillar cases.
This time, Roxas has ordered an inquiry on the influx of clear and tinted float glass used for exterior and interior window and glass openings, curtain walls, showcase windows, furniture applications, interior room partitions, basic glass for mirrors, saftey glass, laminated glass, ballistic glass, tempered glass and other decorative applications.
Based on its petition seeking relief under Republic Act 8800 or the Safeguard Measures Act of 2000, Asahi Glass complained about the surge in importation of float clear and tinted glass from 1997 up to August last year.
The company complained that prices of float glass from China, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Korea and India were undercut between 4 percent and 37 percent. Prices of float glass imports, the company argued, were also depressed at a low 9 percent as of August last year.
Asahi Glass also stated in its petition that there were also indications of price suppression as profit margins recorded declining trend with a lowest margin of 15 percent in 1999 over the five-year period.
The law allows the DTI to impose a punitive tariff of as much as 50 percent for a period of 200 days in case of import surge.
During the period, the Tariff Commission will decide whether or not it will impose a definitive measure in the form of quota restrictions or higher tariffs.
Asahi Glass Philippines is a unit of Tokyo-based Asahi Glass Co. Ltd., the worlds largest producer of flat glass. It has infused P3.8 billion in the Philippines but has decided to close its production line for tempered automotive glass in the country due to low capacity utilization and soft demand.