Local groups want full testing of steel, cement quality
MANILA — The Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to conduct inspection and testing at the port of entry, aside from pre-shipment testing, for cement and steel products.
In a press conference Monday, the FPI said the port of entry inspection and testing for cement and steel would ensure standard and safety of these products being sold in the domestic market.
FPI made the statement as DTI is amending its department administrative order (DAO) on cement, aiming to apply equal testing procedures for local cement manufacturers and importers, whether it would require both pre-shipment and post-shipment testing or pre-shipment testing only.
In a text message, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez told the Philippine News Agency that the DAO on cement would have both pre-shipment and post-shipment verification.
But FPI is pushing for testing, not just post-shipment verification, of cement and steel products in the country.
FPI stressed the need to have the testing first before releasing the products to the market.
FPI also cited a survey done by Philippine Product Safety and Quality Foundation (PPSQF) that other Asia Pacific countries, which are also trading partners of the Philippine, have been requiring testing of cement products at the port of entry.
These countries include ASEAN countries such as Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as Japan, Taiwan, and Australia.
FPI said the DTI should increase the number of testing facilities in the country for cement and steel products as a trade facilitation measure to accelerate testing procedures for these products.
So far, only the Metal Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is conducting the post-shipment inspection for cement and steel products.
Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) President Roberto Cola, said DTI should also accredit laboratories in the country which are ISO 17025 accredited.
Cola added results from these ISO 17025 laboratories were being recognized globally; hence the government should look at accrediting these laboratories to augment testing facilities in the country.
Cola, who is also the vice president of the country’s leading steel producer Steel Asia Manufacturing Corp., noted that testing of steel products in the company’s facilities takes only 15 to 20 minutes, and being done every 30 to 40 minutes.
Both FPI and PISI stressed that their advocacy was to protect consumers from substandard cement and steel products, and not to make business of importers here difficult. (PNA)