More foreign business groups urge zero duty on all EVs  

Published December 4, 2022, 11:10 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

American, Japanese, Korean and Australia-New Zealand business groups in the country have joined the call of European companies to make the government’s planned temporary zero duty privilege on the importation of electric vehicles (EVs) be more inclusive by opening it to all countries and for all types of EVs.

At the press conference for the 11TH Arangkada Philippines Forum, which will happen on Dec. 6 with the theme with the theme “Reform, Rebuild, Recover”, representatives from the American Chamber (AmCham) of Commerce of the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Korean Chamber of Commerce, and the Australia-New Zealand Chamber aligned their position with the EU Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP).

Ebb Hinchliffe, AmCham executive director, said they fully support the ECCP statement on the planned executive order on EV importation.

Aside from pushing for five-year zero tariff on all types of EVs to include trikes and jeepneys, among others, Hinchliffe said the zero-duty importation privilege should also be granted to “all countries” and not just to the Philippines’ special trading partner countries.

He further noted that when Sri Lanka first opened importation on EVs, it included hybrid EVs, not just pure EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs).

Hinchliffe further said that AmCham is also pushing for the eventual manufacture of EVs in the country, not just importation.

Likewise, Um Hyunchong, president of the Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, cited the need to include all types of EVs to facilitate the development of EV infrastructure, particularly the EV charging stations in the country. He said that the combination of pure EVs and hybrids will be a good way to start the change from the internal combustion engine cars.

Other countries started with some form of subsidies to lower the cost of EVs, but the zero tariff for EVs will greatly support and bring change in the country, he said.

Nobuo Fujii, vice-president and executive director of Japan Chamber, said that Japanese car companies are concentrating on hybrid EVs, making Japan it behind other European countries in EV development. With that, he said, Japanese firms also support the inclusion of hybrid EVs in the grant of zero tariff on EV importation and to include all other countries not just those with special trading deals or those with free trade agreements with the Philippines.

Bradley Norman, vice-president of the Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, said that the planned zero tariff on EVs will be positive for the Philippine economy.

ECCP President Lars Wittig said they had a meeting with Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo last week and was informed that the executive order (EO) on EV zero tariff importation is expected to be signed and issued by President Ferdinand Marcos before Christmas.

Wittig said they are urging for the grant of zero-tariff privilege to all types of EVs coming from other countries, not just Asian or ASEAN but also from Europe.

Once the EO is signed by the Philippines, Wittig said, the Philippines would be the first Asean country to grant zero tariff on EV importation.

It was not clear though what the EO will grant, but a local EV group – EV Association of the Philippines (EVAP) – has been pushing for the grant of zero tariff importation on pure EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) only. EVAP estimated that the removal of the 30 percent duty on EVs could reduce the cost of EVs by as much as P300,000 a unit.