PH to close gaps in electric vehicle production

The Philippines said it is close to filling up the gaps in the value chains for the copper & nickel, electronics and automotive sectors to support its goal of becoming a major player in the electric vehicle (EV) market.

  Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said there are already investors and interests in the nickel & copper, automotive and electronics sectors at the launch of the unified “Make It Happen in the Philippines”, a multi-pronged, multi-market investment promotion campaign to the global business community on Tuesday led by the BOI and other investment promotion agencies (IPAs).

Modern jeepneys (DOTr / MANILA BULLETIN)

These three are among the five priority sectors, the other two being aerospace and IT business process management (ITBPM), that were identified under the “Make it Happen in the Philippines” campaign.

In fact, Rodolfo said, “This December we will be launching the Copper and Nickel Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone.” Leyte is home to the country’s copper smelting firm Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. (PASAR).

 Rodolfo explained the linkage of copper & nickel and electronics and the automotive sector, where the Philippines has a big advantage but is also beset with gaps in the value chains. Thus, the “Make It Happen” campaign targets activities and investors that could fill in the gaps.

For instance, Rodolfo said the automotive sector has a special focus on electric vehicles that would require more investments in the country’s copper and nickel sector.  

“This is part of our aspirations in EVs because a big part of EVs would be dependent on copper wire. So, we are really filling in the value gaps and look at opportunities and new industries that would yield the biggest investments,” said Rodolfo.  

Rodolfo added that Thailand and Indonesia are already ahead in terms of the internal combustion engine cars, but said that “when it comes to EVs we can leverage our strength in electronics.” He noted that a large part of the EVs are dependent on copper and nickel and other products needed for EV batteries. Automotive electronics, the country’s biggest export, is also heavily dependent on copper and nickel.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, who is also chair of the BOI, announced at the campaign that the Philippines was also lining up the production of 10 new vehicle models even in the midst of the pandemic.

Aside from Lopez and Rodolfo, the British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce also joined the launch and some industry leaders.

In a speech, the British Ambassador stated: “The Philippines is an important economic partner for the UK. The launch of the Philippines’ first sustained multi-sector and multi-market brand is designed to drive FDI inflows.  It underlines the significance of international partnership and cooperation in helping economies to grow and people to thrive." 

“This iconic new investment brand highlights that the Philippines is a great place to do business,” Ambassador Pruce said. “The UK Government is delighted to be working with BOI on this campaign as it demonstrates the close economic relationship between the UK and the Philippines,” the British diplomat added. 

Major foreign investors have also joined the discussion and shared their insights and experiences in doing business in the Philippines, highlighting how the government’s support and trademark “Make It Happen” Filipino mindset have made their successes possible, even amidst the unprecedented pandemic situation. 

 Lopez added that the Make It Happen campaign is an effort to the tell investors around the world that the “Philippines is open for business.”

“Against a difficult global economic and business backdrop, the new ‘Make It Happen in the Philippines’ campaign highlights our continued strength as a foreign investment destination and our resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges.   The Philippines continues to be a vital place to do business in the world and is recognized as one of Asia’s leading economies and fastest-growing emerging markets. With the current health crisis affecting the world economy, we have acted swiftly with a range of incentives and measures to maintain ease of doing business and mitigate the impact of Covid-19 for businesses. A ‘roll-up-your-sleeves’ and ‘make-it-work’ mindset, as well as a service-orientated business ethic position the Philippines well for the future,” Lopez said.