Local steel manufacturers have opposed government plan tocertify steel manufacturers abroad and grant them the Philippine Standard marks (PS Mark) for theirsteel exports to the Philippines, stressing this will facilitate entry of substandard products, which the local industry can easily supply.
In a letter to Trade and Industry Assistant DTI Secretary Ernesto V. Perez, the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) said this plan, which is contained in the proposed Department Administrative Order (DAO), poses public safety risks and dangers to consumers aside from discouraging expansion programs of thelocal steel manufacturers.
The PISI letter on August 18, 2017 and signed by its President Roberto M. Cola said the plan might flood the market withuntested steel products that could end up in homes and structures built by small contractors for the poor and the middle class.
Cola explained that steel importation is among the products required by DTI for mandatory inspection and certification once the imports arrived in the country.
But under the draft DAO, steel plants abroad can get pre-shipment inspection and certification clearance already with the granting of the PS mark for these foreign manufacturers. This is as an option to the existing practice of inspection and certification upon arrival of the imported steel.
PISI feared it is easier to get standards certification abroad than upon arrival of the product in the country.
"It is easier to fake the product certification abroad," he said. Although there is a possibility that certification of fake products can likewise be facilitated in the country, Cola believes it is more difficult to fake these certificates here.
Granting PS Mark License to steel manufacturing plants outside the country will jeopardize the business viability of local PS Mark License holders because these companies enjoy various forms of state subsidies in their countries, the PISI letter said.
In case of death or injury caused or structural failure caused by the substandard rebars, the victim cannot go after the erring foreign manufacturer.
In addition, granting the PS Mark License to steel manufacturing plants outside of the Philippines will discourage future investments in the local steel industry and will derail steel industry roadmaps vision of producing locally 70 percent of its apparent steel consumption (ASC) in 2030.
Furthermore, PISI said that the Conditional Release of imported steel products under technical regulation must be amended. Products must be tested first according to its governing PNS sampling and testing procedures before being released to the custody of the importers. This is to ensure that the mandatory steelproducts sold in the market conforms to PNS.