EV zero-tariff policy readied before end of term

REUTERS

A ZERO-TARIFF policy for electric vehicle (EV) imports is targeted for approval before the current government leaves office, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said during the launch of SM Supermalls’ free EV charging stations at the SM Aura Premier on Thursday that the DTI’s proposal to lower the tariff on EV imports to 0% from 30% was approved by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, with the proposal now being heard by the Tariff Commission (TC).

“We’re just undergoing the process now of the usual hearings in the TC so that we can formalize the reduction from 30% to 0%. And then it will pass through the Committee on Tariff and Trade Related Matters,” Mr. Lopez said.

He is hoping for approval before June 30, the day the President’s term ends.

The DTI, in March, announced the zero-tariff policy for EVs, pitching it as a counter to rising fuel prices and promote the vehicles’ widespread adoption.

“The EV industry will be happy with this. Distributors (will) lower the price of EVs and encourage the use of these. Hopefully, the streets of the Philippines (will) have more EVs,” Mr. Lopez said.

Mr. Lopez said broader adoption will result in the construction of more charging stations, making local manufacturing of EVs more feasible.  

He estimated a charging station to cost between P1 and P2 million.

Mr. Lopez said the effort to build an EV market will gain traction due to the recent passage of Republic Act No. 11697, or the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act.

The new law requires companies, public transport operators, and government units maintain vehicle fleets that include at least 5% EVs.

Mr. Lopez said that the DTI is also considering the allocation of part of the fiscal support for the P27-billion Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program to local EV manufacturing.

“Remember, the CARS program has 2 participants. There are supposed to be three participants. The remaining budget for that, hopefully, we can channel it into the development for the manufacturing of EVs as well,” Mr. Lopez said.

“That’s about P9 billion per company (worth) of support. The third one we can allocate to the third participant in the CARS program. It’s still a draft executive order I’d like to present to the President. Hopefully it can be passed by the President (before he steps down),” he added.

The two manufacturers participating in the CARS program are Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. (TMP) and Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC).

The program provides fiscal support for the domestic production of at least 200,000 units within six years.

Under the program, TMP produces the Vios compact car while MMPC manufactures the competing Mirage. The deadline for MMPC to meet the Mirage quota is 2023 while TMP has until 2024 to produce the required volume of Vios cars. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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