Manufacturers of primary goods and commodities are refusing proposed cuts in prices, citing foreign exchange, trucking, shipping costs and external factors weigh on their costs.
Despite two weeks of meetings and negotiations to come up with price cuts with manufacturers, manufacturers remain uncooperative, Trade Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba said on Thursday.
Dimagiba noted that in those dialogues, the manufacturers did not deny that the prices of raw materials, fuel and electricity were on the wane.
But the manufacturers argued that such declines could be offset by the high cost of trucking, shipping, foreign exchange rates, and drought in Australia and New Zealand that affects prices and supply of meat inputs.
So far, the Trade department’s Consumer Protection and Advocacy Bureau was able to meet with the Sardine Association of the Philippines, Century Pacific Food Inc., Maunlad Canning, Nestle Philippines, Snow Mountain, Philippine Association of Meat Importers, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and Wellmade.
Australia and New Zealand are considered the best sources of meat products, given the zero tariffs that benefit importer-manufacturers.
But meat manufacturers argued that the drought in those countries calls has prompted a 10 percent duty, which places a burden on cost efficiencies.
Most manufacturers are pinning the blame on high trucking and shipping costs, as well as the depreciation of the Philippine currency. Such items translate to extra costs in some imported materials like tomato paste, starch, spices, and other ingredients.
What the manufacturers want is for further studies and dialogs with the trade department.
“Our monitoring data reflects that competition is at play in the market, given the increases and decreases in the prices of some brands of manufactured basic and prime goods.
Nevertheless, we assure the consuming public that these movements are still within the SRP level,” Dimagiba said.
“Likewise, the retailers’ full compliance with the SRPs is an even greater assurance for our consumers that the products being offered in the market are sold at reasonable prices,” he said said.
“The DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) will continue to dialogue with the manufacturers on bringing down the SRPs of non-agricultural basic and prime goods at a level which is reasonable for both the consumers and business. The department is aware and understands the concernment of all stakeholders that is why we are very conscientious in addressing this matter,” he added.
The 218 supermarkets and groceries in the National Capital Region monitored by the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau—DTI’s price monitoring arm—are all selling products within the SRPs set by the manufacturers.
Cement and flour prices did not move, but some brands of basic and prime goods have increased by P0.10 to P3—still within the SRP.
The brands that carried slight price hikes were Alpine Evaporated Milk, Nescafe Classic Coffee Refill 50g, Surf Bar Calamansi, Surf Bar Blue, Safeguard White, Absolute Distilled Bottled Water, and Summit and Viva Mineralized Bottled Water.
Other brands have reduced SRPs ranging from P0.05 to P1.60 including Alaska Powdered Milk Drink, Nescafe Classic Coffee Refill 25g, Speed Bar Detergent Soap, Argentina Corned Beef, Silver Swan Vinegar, Silver Swan Soy Sauce, and Natures Spring Purified Bottled Water.
For products without SRPs, the DTI noted some brands increased by P0.10 to P4.50 per unit but most of the branded products in the market have slashed their prices by P0.10 to P2.05.