Turkish flour exporters backed a bakers’ motion to inhibit Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on an antidumping case filed by local flour millers.
In a statement, the Turkish Flour Yeast and Ingredients (TFYI) Promotion Group, an organization of Turkey-based exporters with the primary goal to promote internationally the “Turkish” brand, expressed full support to the Filipino-Chinese Bakery Association Inc. (FCBAI) on its motion to inhibit Alcala in the ongoing investigation involving the antidumping case on Turkish flour.
TFYI Chairman Turgay Unlu said that Alcala’s pronouncement of an administrative order that recommends the imposition of a 20-percent tariff on Turkish flour is highly preemptive, given that all parties concerned still have until August 16 to respond to the petition.
He noted that their group and trade partners like FCBAI have yet to receive a copy of the said directive.
“Since the onset of the dumping issue on Turkish flour in the Philippines, the TFYI Promotion Group has relied on the merits of our defense to dispel unfounded accusations against Turkey’s wheat flour exports,” Unlu added.
However, Unlu said that with a favorable recommendation to the petitioner even before the evaluation period has expired, “Alcala explicitly influenced the course of the investigation.”
In line with this, he called on the Philippine government to approve FCBAI’s motion to inhibit Alcala, and allow the Tariff Commission to preside on the antidumping petition.
“We believe that at this point, having the Tariff Commission take charge of the investigation will lead to a fair and unbiased determination on the antidumping case,” he added.
For his part, TFYI board member Hakan Esen pointed out that imposing additional duty on the affordable yet high-quality Turkish flour will have drastic implications particularly to small and medium enterprises (SME) that produce flour-based commodities.
“While these SMEs can still continue to use Turkish flour, albeit at a higher cost, they can always find a way to pass on these added business costs to the customers.
Therefore, it will be the Filipino consumers of flour-based products like bread and noodles who will be most affected,” said Esen.
Unfair trade practice
Earlier, the Philippine Association of Flour Millers Inc. (Pafmil) stressed that the antidumping duty being sought against cheap Turkish flour is “just and fair” effort by the local flour industry to level the playing field, in view of dumping allegations against Turkey.
Pafmil Executive Director Ricardo Pinca said that Turkey dumps its flour also in many member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), noting that Indonesia has imposed a 20-percent safeguard duty on Turkish flour on top of a previously existing 5-percent duty.
Dumping occurs when a country like Turkey exports a commodity at prices lower than its domestic pricing.
In 2010, while flour costs $600 a metric tons in Turkey, its export prices to Asean countries were only $284 to Indonesia, $276 to the Philippines, $317 to Thailand, $250 to Malaysia and $277 to Singapore.
In 2011, domestic price in Turkey was also $600 a MT but its export prices were much lower. It was $388 to Indonesia, $388 to Philippines, $455 to Thailand, $385 to Malaysia and $424 to Singapore.
While Turkey raises a ruckus against Pafmil’s dumping duty petition, Pinca said that Turkey imposes a whopping 102.6-percent import duty on flour, effectively cutting off any foreign sourced flour in its country.
“Yet, Turkey wants to dominate the flour industries of other countries by presenting itself as a cheap alternative source to local produce,” he added.