The Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) is appealing to Finance Secretary, Cesar Purisima and Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, to ‘level the playing field’ in the steel products industry.

The group has complained to the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Customs that Joyland Industries Corp, a Cebu-based company, is engaged in technical smuggling as it is able to import finished steel products at below the prevailing prices of scrap metal.

Industry players are complaining that the Bureau of Customs in Cebu is favouring Joyland, a claim that Cebu Customs Collector Ronnie Silvestre denied.

Joyland, a company based in Mandaue, Cebu, is engaged in the importation of finished steel products, mainly smaller sized steel wire rods that is rolled and passed off as reinforcing steel bars.

In a statement, PISI claimed that on 9 May 2012, Joyland brought in a shipment of 7904kt of finished steel wire rods. They declared the value of the imports at $279/t, a figure below the import price of $640 to $700 during the April to May 2012 period.

Furthermore, PISI said that in January 2011 when prices were at $480 to $495/t, Joyland was declaring its imported finished products even lower than scrap prices.

Aside from PISI, the Steel Institute and the Galvanized Iron Wire Manufacturing Association is also appealing to Biazon and Purisima to look into the matter.

The groups said that the Bureau of Customs is allowing the Cebu steel company to use the ‘transaction value method’ for determining taxes and duties due imported products. Under this method, the importer simply presents documents indicating the value of the shipment, provided these are notarised by accredited lawyers from the source.

Source: Daily ‘The Philippine Star’, Manila; 12 Sept 2012