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Philippine smuggled steel eats up 50pct of market
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Saturday, 17 Nov 2012

Malaya Business News Online reported that smuggling has cost the government PHP 500 million in lost revenues since January 2012. The government and SASSMAPI raids yielded 600 tonnes of suspected smuggled angle bars.

Manufacturers of steel angle bars estimate that smuggling has eaten up 50% of the market and deprived government of some P500 million in revenues since the beginning of the year.

Mr Ramon Tan, spokesman of the Steel Angles, Shapes and Sections Manufacturers Association of the Philippines Inc (SASSMAPI), said that recent raids by the PNP Intelligence Group, Department of Trade and Industry and SASSMAPI men yielded 600 tonnes of counterfeit and uncertified steel angle bars that are believed to have been smuggled into the country.

The contraband seized from steel firms in Angeles City and Laguna are estimated to be worth more than PHP 20 million.

SASSMAPI said these seized counterfeit steel angle bars constitute just a fraction of sub standard steel angle bars being sold cheap in the market. Mr Tan said the Bureau of Internal Revenue loses more than the initial estimate of PHP 500 million due to the continuous and rampant entry of containerized vans loaded with steel angle bars.

Mr Tan said the volume of contraband steel angle bars seized have raised industry fears.

Industry players estimate that smuggled steel angle bars have taken about 50% of the market.

In the two outlets searched, more than 600 tonnes of suspect steel angle bars were found and these constituted more than 80% of their steel angle inventory. If this is reflected in the marketplace, it is no wonder why the industry is struggling. The group is alarmed over the purported proliferation of sub standard steel angle bars believed to have been smuggled from China.

It said these steel angle bars pose a great danger to public safety because they do not conform with standards.

Mr Tan, a steel angle bar expert, said that the group believes that up to 50% of available steel angle bars being sold in the domestic market are sub standard.

Steel angle bars that do not bear markings approved by the DTI's Bureau of Product Standards are deemed to be uncertified and subject to seizure by the DTI. Sub standard steel angle bars are being sold 15% lower than the industry grade locally manufactured steel angle bars.

Mr Tan said that "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. Yes, they are cheap, but they are illegal and they pose a great risk to those who will use them."

Steel angle bars are being used as supports in the construction of houses and high rise buildings. Poorly made steel angle bars could cause extreme problems especially during earthquakes.

In October 4th 2011g the NALECC CIC (National Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee Sub Committee on Intelligence Coordination) meeting in Camp Crame chaired by General Mr Charles Calima, the steel angle bar industry raised its concern on the proliferation of counterfeit and substandard steel angle bars in the market and that these steel angle bars pose a great risk to the public since we are in an earthquake zone and are subject to frequent typhoons.

Source - Malaya Business News Online


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