The Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) has been demanding for a re-test of the shipment of 5,000-metric-tons of steel bars that were unloaded in Subic, Zambales on April 28.

“We have been questioning this since the first time we complained about this shipment,” The Standard reported PISI president Roberto Cola, as saying in a briefing on Monday in Makati City.

“We’ve written to the Customs, we’ve written to the Trade Department. There is no such thing as provisional ICC,” Cola said.

The Bureau of Product Standards may be charged for issuing an alleged “provisional import clearance certificate” to the 5,000-metric-ton shipment of steel bars from China which is not properly documented and lacks permits. The tests done for a sample of the 5,000 tons, amounting to 500,000 pieces of steel bars that the Mannage Resources Trading Corporation is importing, was also raised in question.

The local steel group questioned the capacity of Mannage Resources, a food business company, to import the P95 million worth of steel products given its P400,000-capitalization. The company was incorporated in 2015 and this is the first time that they had imported steel bars.

The PISI has asked the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to get a hold of the steel bars. Meanwhile, the group also wants the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to conduct another set of product tests in the presence of the steel industry representatives to ensure compliance with standards.

A similar case remains pending in court which dates back to 2006.  The case involves the smuggling of 3,000 tons of steel products which were seized from the importers.

The PISI expects an increase of seven to eight percent in sales volume in 2016, compared to the recorded 20 percent growth in sales volume at 8.8 million tons at the end of 2015.

“There is pent-up demand in housing and infrastructure,” Cola said. “After the property crisis in the late ‘90’s, construction has never really expanded until in the last five years starting 2010.”