The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced the discontinuation of safeguard measures imposed earlier this year on imported vehicles and ordered cash bonds to be returned to importers.

The DTI Administrative Order 21-04 was signed by trade secretary Ramon Lopez on 6 August and released a week later, dismissing a long-standing petition from the Philippine Metalworkers Alliance (PMA) which called for the imposition of safeguard measures on imported passenger cars and light commercial vehicles as a means of protecting the local vehicle industry.

The DTI said in a statement “all cash bonds that have been imposed and previously collected under Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 6-2021 on shipments of motor vehicles that entered or were withdrawn from warehouses in the Philippines for domestic consumption from 1 February 2021 shall be immediately returned to the importers”.

Under the CMO, safeguard duties were imposed in the form of cash bonds amounting to PHP70,000 (US$1,390) on imported passenger cars and PHP110,000 (US$2,180) on imported light commercial vehicles

After its evaluation of the PMA’s petition, the country’s Tariff Commission (TC) found that there was no need to impose definitive general safeguard measures on light vehicle imports.

Rommel Gutierrez, president of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc (CAMPI), said: “The TC’s recommendation showing there is no basis for the imposition of safeguard duties on vehicle imports puts to rest significant industry uncertainty. The automotive manufacturing sector will continue to work with the government to help sustain local vehicle production and to the address concerns of stakeholders”.

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The DTI’s decision will come as a significant boost to the local vehicle market, as local vehicle manufacturers are also the main importers of vehicles.