By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Pioneer Float Glass Manufacturing, Inc., formerly Asahi Flat Glass Philippines, is experiencing steep declines in sales of as much as 50 percent on unabated influx of imported cheap, undervalued and substandard glass products.
Paul Go, president of the lone integrated glass manufacturing in the Philippines told reporters that its sales continued to drop by 40-50 percent year to date.
Go noted that illegally shipped glass products have worsened following the issuance of two injunctions from Makati and Pasay regional trial courts on Department Administrative Order 1905 of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which imposes mandatory inspection and strict monitoring of all glass products.
With the indefinite court injunctions, the DTI submitted an opposition to the courts but which was denied.
These debacles have tied the hands of the DTI to stop the entry of substandard glass and even monitor the sale of this construction material.
The only protection left for the local glass manufacturer is the provisional safeguard measure that DTI imposed in May this year to stem the surge of imported glass as it has caused serious damage to the domestic glass manufacturing industry. The DTI slapped a provisional safeguard duty of ₱2,500 per ton on imported clear glass and ₱2,800 per ton on tinted imported glass.
But Go explained that the provisional safeguard measure is for a limited time only of 200 days only. Even if the Tariff Commission will concur with the DTI decision and decides to implement a permanent safeguard duty, it still has a time limit.
But what really hurts the industry more is the absence of regulations on standards as the DAO 1905 had been struck with court injunctions.
Without the standards regulation, Go said imported glass have been flowing in and undervalued by as much as 30 percent.
The objective of DAO 1905 is to level the playing field by requiring all glass players to comply with the technical safety and quality standards because glass can be life-threatening if it does not meet the correct standards.
In addition, Go stressed the need to level the playing field because Pioneer is also exporting to other countries, which also imposed their own standards.
“We comply with their standards and yet imported substandard glass can easily enter the country,” he said noting that the oversupply in glass production China enters the local market without any regard of the domestic standards.
Pioneer exports 30 percent out of its 550 metric tons daily production mostly to Asean countries.