IMPORT duties on natural gypsum and anhydrite, minerals used in the manufacture of plasterboard and cement, have been temporarily cut to zero in support of the government’s housing and infrastructure programs.
Executive Order (EO) 46, signed on November 3 by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, states that the modification of the import duty would also help revitalize and increase the competitiveness of the local plasterboard and cement industries.
“At present, there are no operating mines of natural gypsum and anhydrite in the country, and there are also no local substitute[s] for said products that are available for domestic producers of plasterboards and cement,” the Palace order states.
The modified rate, which will be reviewed annually, will be in effect for five years.
Prior to the issuance of the EO, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board had endorsed the reduction of the Most-Favored Nation (MFN) tariff rate on natural gypsum and anhydrite to zero from 3 percent.
“The MFN tariff rate shall be subject to an annual review after 31 December 2024,” the Palace order states.
“For this purpose, the NEDA shall submit to the President, through the Office of the Executive Secretary, its findings and recommendations on the matter, including analysis and monitoring of the gypsum and anhydrite market,” it added.
Under Republic Act 10863 or the “Customs Modernization and Tariff Act,” the President has the authority, in the interest of general welfare and national security and upon the NEDA’s recommendation, to increase, reduce or remove existing import duties.