MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government will investigate whether it should put in place safeguard measures on imports of newsprint from other countries amid claims by the domestic industry that newsprints imports are threatening the local newsprint production.
In a notice posted on the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) website, the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the international body said the country has initiated a safeguards investigation on the imports of newsprint from various countries.
“The investigation was initiated on Sept. 20, 2013,” the notice read.
The investigation is being conducted following an evaluation of the petition filed by the domestic newsprint industry represented by Trust International Paper Corp. (TIPCO).
TIPCO is the dominant local player for newsprint.
Locally produced newsprint is made mainly from recycled paper.
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It is used for newspapers, books and school pads.
In the notice, the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the WTO said the documents submitted by the petitioner showed that “increased imports have caused serious injury to the local newsprint industry as indicated in their declining market share, production, sales, capacity utilization, productivity, profitability, price suppression, depression and undercutting.”
DTI assistant secretary Ceferino Rodolfo said in a text message yesterday that since the investigation would look into safeguards, two elements have to be established by the investigation.
In particular, the investigators would look at whether there was an increase in quantities of imports and whether such are causing serious injury to the local industry.
“In the TIPCO petition, since it is for safeguards, they are alleging these,” he said.
Safeguard measures refer to higher duties which a country can impose on imported goods in order to provide relief to domestic industries.
These measures are applied when it is found that there is increased imports of the commodity and when the local industry is threatened by the increase in purchases of such product from overseas.