Filipino steel makers raise alarm over China-made angle bars
MANILA, Philippines - An industry organization of steel manufacturing companies complained about the proliferation of smuggled steel angle bars, citing dent on market share, less government revenues and safety risks.
In a press conference on Monday, November 12, the Steel Angles, Shapes, and Sections Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (SASSMAPI) said the entry of these products--mostly coming from China--poses great danger to public safety and hurts the country's construction industry.
"Yes, they are cheap, but they are illegal and pose great risk to those who will use them,” SASSMAPI executive director Ramon Khu said.
Sub-standard steel angle bars are being sold 15% lower than the industry-grade locally manufactured steel angle bars, the group said. They estimated that suspected smuggled steel angle bars have taken over 40% of the local market and deprived government of some P500 million in revenues since the beginning of 2012.
Steel angle bars are used as support in the construction of houses, high-rise buildings, even bridges.
Khu stressed that the uncertified angle bars are poorly manufactured "and contain materials that are not in compliance with the local industry requirements," and may result in the collapse of a structure during strong earthquakes.
Khu said the trade department require mandatory certification of construction materials, citing the Department Administrative Order No. 2, Series of 2007.
Substandard steel angle bars do not bear markings as required under the Philippine National Standards and have no import commodity clearance, he added.
SASSMAPI spokesperson Ramon Tan said recent raids of 105 hardware stores in Metro Manila and the Bicol region conducted by the Philippine National Police Intelligence Group, the Department of Trade and Industry and SASSMAPI yielded 600 tons of counterfeit and uncertified steel angle bars that are believed to be smuggled.
Tan said these seized products account for only a fraction of sub-standard steel angle bars being sold cheaply in the market. Tan said the Bureau of Internal Revenue loses more than the initial estimate of due to continuous and rampant entry of containerized vans with steel angle bars.
“We believe that these sub-standard steel angle bars smugglers continue to cheat our hardware owners, construction firms and developers, as well as government. These uncertified steel angle bars were poorly manufactured and contain materials that are not in compliance with the local industry requirements," Tan said.
The industry has been asking the government to slap a safeguard duty on steel angle bar imports for the maximum 10 years as allowed by the law. This meant to prevent the flooding of imported products while local industries are working to be more efficient and competitive. - Rappler.com