Home > News > When it’s substandard- you can’t claim it’s “cheaper”

When it’s substandard- you can’t claim it’s “cheaper”

In Feb 2009, Manila Standard reported that 7 steel plants close down due to imports from China. Unfortunately, we were one of them. The influx of cheaper but substandard imports from China made us uncompetitive and we had to let go of our workers.

As reported in the paper, Henry Leungson, vice president of the Steel Angles, Shapes and Section Manufacturers Association of the Philippines Inc., said only two companies: Lunar Steel Corp. and Cathay Metal Corp. – operated their mills in 2008, and even then at below their capacity levels.

Leungson also mentioned that the capacity utilization rate among the nine registered local manufacturers of steel angle bars dropped to just 10 percent in the past three years, because of the entry of imported products from China that do not meet local standards.

Such unfair competition posed by imported products, not because they are cheaper, but because they are inferior (weigh less, shorter, not up to standard, etc.) and therefore cost less, resulted in hundreds of jobs lost and this redounded to other sectors.

The picture changed when standards were finally imposed by the government, Philippine National Standards 49 (PNS 49) as formulated by the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS). And there was a clear reversal in importation establishing that the goods being imported were cheaper but were undersized or underweight.

It’s now 2010 and we’re running in full capacity again after the government started its crack down on illegal goods. But we can’t rely on them to police the industry. We need consumers to also be aware of what they’re buying.

So the next time you buy something because it’s cheaper- make sure it actually is. When it’s substandard and costs less, it’s not cheaper because you’re not getting the same product. What’s worse is standards are there for our protection- and ignoring them altogether puts lives in danger. You don’t have to buy from us. We’re not even pushing BUY FILIPINO. We just want you to make sure you’re really getting your money’s worth and most importantly, that you stay safe.

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