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Gypsum board maker bats for zero tariffs on raw material to stimulate domestic production


A PROPOSAL to reduce tariffs to zero for imports of natural gypsum will stimulate domestic production of gypsum board, a construction material used in drywall, and lower prices for consumers, Knauf Gypsum Philippines, Inc. told the Tariff Commission (TC).  

“All other competitors are imported and they have the capacity to bring down their prices. That is why we are seeking a tariff exception because that would also bring our prices down,” Knauf Philippines Marketing Head Charlene Bonalos said during a Tariff Commission hearing on Tuesday.

Knauf is the only gypsum board manufacturer in the Philippines. Gypsum boards are in drywall because they are fire-resistant.

The TC said in a notice on Feb. 10 that Knauf Philippines petitioned to reduce the most favored nation tariff rate on natural gypsum to 0% from 3% under ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature 2022 subheading 2520.10.00.

Regina Palad, Knauf Philippines manager for compliance, said the zero tariff would help make the company’s offerings more competitive against imports.  

“With the zero tariff, it will cost less to produce,” Ms. Palad said, adding that the benefit to consumers will be a wider selection of products.

According to the TC, imports of natural gypsum hit 406,170 metric tons (MT) in 2022, down 39%.

Between 2018 and 2022, the Philippines imported 2.9 million MT of natural gypsum, with 54.1% sourced from Oman, 43.3% from Thailand, and 2.6% from Australia, the US, China, and Egypt.

Knauf Gypsum Philippines produces gypsum board and jointing compounds. Some of its products include acoustic panels, ceiling tiles, and acoustic suspension systems.

The TC set a deadline of March 10 for position papers on Knauf Philippines’ petition. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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