Lawmaker seeks DTI clarification on steel bars

Posted on 06 March 2017

Source: Manila Standard

A lawmaker has asked Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez to clarify conflicting tests and inspection findings on some P500 million worth of 20,000 metric tons of substandard steel bars that arrived from China in December.

In a one-page letter, Iloilo Rep. Ferjenel Biron requested the Department of Trade and Industry to “submit to the committee on trade and industry of the House of Representatives a comprehensive report” of its findings.

“The committee is keenly interested on the matter in the interest and protection of the Filipino consumers,” he said.

Biron’s letter was in response to the appeal of the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters, headed by Rodolfo Javellana Jr., to look into their complaint against the release of the steel bars in question.

On Dec. 8, the DTI’s Bureau of Philippine Standards recalled the steel bars’ import commodity clearance.

But the imported steel bars were “illegally withdrawn and sold to the market” on Dec. 19, Javellana said in the group’s letter to Biron.

The UFCC warned the steel bars could put the lives and properties of too many people at risk given that the Philippines is prone to earthquakes and typhoons.

In a letter to Trade Undersecretary Teodoro Pascua, the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute informed the agency about the recent crackdown by Chinese authorities on illegal steel mills that produce substandard steel products, particularly in Jiangsu province.

“These illegal steel mills use induction furnaces and largely produce low-quality construction steel, such as reinforcing steel bars or rebar, much of which is exported,” PISI said. 

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