Solon wants probe of rampant smuggling of steel products

ALARMED by the numerous reports of rampant technical smuggling of steel products from China, a lawmaker has called for a congressional probe on the matter and urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to strengthen its monitoring of imported steel products.

Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) filed House Resolution 2819 urging the House Committee on Trade and Industry, to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on why such technical smuggling of steel products remains a problem in the country.

“Technical smuggling has remained to be a problem to contend with when Chinese products could be misdeclared in such a manner that they will appear not for construction applications and therefore not subject to rigorous testing,” Castelo said.

Castelo said Senator Gringo Honasan has called for stronger product monitoring teams from the DTI amidst numerous reports of such technical smuggling of this important construction and industry product.

Castelo said according to Honasan said imported Chinese products are misdeclared to appear that they are not for construction applications and therefore not subject to rigorous testing.

“There is an anomalous market situation when domestically produced steel bars are the subject of regular testing and producers are accountable for these products on the one hand; while an open marketplace where even possibly substandard steel products are sold by producers that cannot be held accountable for the integrity and safety of their products because precisely, these are smuggled into the country,” Castelo stressed.
Castelo said these substandard products pose a serious threat to life and health of the citizenry.

According to a Manila Times report, some Manila and Luzon based steel manufacturers are also raising a ruckus about the rampant technical smuggling being done by certain companies in Subic, Cebu and Davao which are importing finished steel products from China at lower than prevailing market prices.

The report identified by the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute includes the Joyland Industries Corporation, Ocean Canning, Davao Forever Steels Forming, Herco Trading, Eglinton Import Export, SB Construction and Water Treatment, Hornet Enterprises, Voowher Five Trading, NMW Enterprises, Ikkinari Enterprises, Ashes & Diamonds Marketing, Richflow Trading, Mega Foundation International and Thanatos Enterprises.
Castelo said the report of 30,000 tons of Chinese steel about to enter the Philippines is of great concern because it is equivalent nearly 20,000 units of socialized housing.

“The government should take decisive action on the matter because this tends to compromise consumer protection and public safety,” Castelo said.

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