THE Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) has flagged the recent crackdown by Chinese authorities on “illegal steel mills which produce substandard steel products.”
In a letter to Undersecretary Teodoro Pascua of the Department of Trade and Industry Consumer Protection Group (DTI-CPG), the PISI cited among other sources a Bloomberg News article on the crackdown, particularly in the province of Jiangsu.
“These illegal steel mills use induction furnaces and largely produce low-quality construction steel such as reinforcing steel bars or rebar … much of which is exported. The process can be insufficient to properly purify the metal leaving substandard steel as a result,” the group noted citing a report by a MySteel analyst.
The standards for steel bars are higher in the Philippines than in China, because the country is prone to earthquakes and typhoons.
In light of the reports, the PISI is to urging the DTI to sample and test all imported bars every 20 tons to ensure conformity to Philippine National Standards in the interest of public safety.
The DTI Bureau of Philippine Standards withdrew the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) covering 20,000 tons of steel rebar imported by Mannage Resources Trading Corp. (MRTC) in December 2016.
PISI President Roberto Cola said that was “in the interest of public safety” and in line with the government and industry’s policy of strictly enforcing the mandatory standards for steel products.
A PISI report on the October 2013 earthquake in Cebu and Bohol noted the use substandard and uncertified steel bars in the damaged buildings and infrastructure.