The Philippine government has recalled a controversial administrative order that imposed controls on imported petrochemicals and plastic products.
The Department of Trade and Industry admitted there was a flaw in Administrative Order 58, which called for the creation of the Petrochemical and Plastics Mobilization Task Force.
The task force was given the power to direct the Bureau of Customs to withhold the release of any shipment of petrochemicals and plastic products.
The Philippine government had issued the order to deal with concerns about dumping, undervaluation, misclassification and outright smuggling of petrochemicals and plastic resins.
The administrative order met with strong protests from local plastics industry groups and business associations. The Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. also complained to Philippine and U.S. officials about the March 4 order.
Raul T. Concepcion, chairman of the Federation of Philippine Industries, said the creation of the task force to monitor and regulate the importation of petrochemical and plastic products will cause more problems than it seeks to solve.
``It could set a precedent to similar petitions from industries seeking relief from unfair trade practices,'' Concepcion said.
The Philippine Plastics Industry Association issued a strong objection to the administrative order, saying it violated the World Trade Organization's policies on free trade.
On the other hand, Antonio Garcia, president of Petrochemicals Corp. of Asia-Pacific, argued that the order was meant to monitor imports of petrochemical and plastic products at dumped prices.
He said the order was not intended to prohibit importation, but merely to monitor imports that are misclassified or dumped, Garcia said.
Secretary Jose T. Pardo of the Department of Trade and Industry has assured local industries that appropriate corrections will be made to limit the function of the task force to mere monitoring, research and development.