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Union win to protect jobs in Philippine’s auto sector

13 January, 2021A successful petition by IndustriALL affiliate Philippine Metalworkers’ Alliance’s (PMA) has led to a provisional safeguard duty on imported cars, which aims to stop job losses in the automotive sector.

According to PMA, the current policy has caused serious injury to the motor vehicle assembly industry in the country, as well as to its supply chain. Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. and Isuzu Philippines Corp. downsized operations by cutting 400 and 100 plus jobs, respectively. In February 2020, Honda Motors Philippines closed its plant.

On  5 January, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) imposed the safeguard duty on imported vehicles ranging from Php 70,000-110,000 (US$ 1,457-2,289) for complete built-up (CBU) cars, claiming the number of imported passenger cars increased 35 per cent from 2014 to 2018 and captured 70 per cent of the market share. On the other hand, from 2017 to 2018, jobs in the automotive sector dropped eight per cent.

The decision is the result of a petition launched by PMA, with data on the negative impact of imported CBU vehicles. Most of the imported vehicles came from Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea.

PMA national president Ruel Punzalan says:

"We welcome DTI's decision, which is the first step in a long process. We still have to convince the Philippine Tariff Commission if after 200 days, they impose the safeguard measure to a maximum of four years. The move will hopefully deter unfair competition and give the local automotive industry a breathing space. The government must support the local manufacturing industry and retain employment opportunities."

IndustriALL South East Asia regional secretary Annie Adviento says:

“We congratulate PMA for successfully lobbying the government on a pro-worker industrial policy. This is excellent union intervention is in line with IndustriALL’s action plan on trade for the benefit of the people. Every country has freedom to use its policy space for the benefit of workers.”