Group commends BOC for seizure of steel bars

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Steel industry group Philippine Iron & Steel Institute (PISI) commended the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for its issuance of a “warrant of seizure and detention” on 5,000 metric tons of deformed steel bars allegedly smuggled from China, as well as on the shipment’s importer, saying that discrepancies in the importation should be considered “technical smuggling.”

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In a letter to outgoing Customs Commissioner Alberto D. Lina, PISI President Roberto M. Cola recognized the BOC’s decision to recall the Alert Order on the steel bars and issue a Warrant of Seizure and Detention to the shipment’s importer, Mannage Resources Trading Corp.

The BOC issued a Memorandum of Legal Service on June 6, saying that it would stay its Alert Order on the deformed steel bars imported from China and would issue a Warrant of Seizure and Detention and “thresh out the issues” on the steel bars, if warranted under circumstances.

“We stand by our position that this shipment of steel bars has not complied with existing regulations and is currently without the necessary permits required by law for it to be released from the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Customs,” Cola said.

The PISI president further said in the letter to the BOC that the importation had discrepancies as the steel bars are misdeclared as “deformed” so as to “circumvent the prevailing price of rebar between $380 to $410 per metric ton.”

The steel bars were priced lower at $330 per metric ton.

“These discrepancies would already constitute technical smuggling, thus we further recommend your office issue a Warrant of Seizure and Detention,” Cola said.

“We were likewise informed by the Bureau’s Legal Division that your recommendation was already forwarded to the District Collector of the Port of Subic. We would like to request your office for an endorsement to formally witness the 100 percent examination and subsequent sampling of the Alerted shipment,” he added.

The 5,000 metric tons or P95-million worth of deformed steel bars from China were imported by registered food company Mannage, despite not undergoing standard tests and lacking permits.

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