Adjusted safeguard duties will be slapped on imported float glass this month according to copies of department orders made available to BusinessWorld. Duties on figured glass, meanwhile, will be imposed in the second quarter as long as the firm resumes production of the product by then.
The orders -- signed by Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila in January and published on February 5 -- heeded petitions made in late 2009 by the country’s sole glass pane maker for the government to exhaust the maximum 10-year period for safeguard duties.
"The final extension of the definitive general safeguard measure is in the public interest," the department order covering float glass stated.* While the firm has benefited from years of tariff protection first implemented in 2003, "rising fuel and raw materials and very low priced imports have adversely affected the industry’s cost competitiveness".
"Thus [AGC Flat Glass Philippines] has not fully realized the full potential of its cost savings from the efficiency measures implemented. It requires more time to undertake the improvements committed in its adjustment plan," the order stated.