THE Philippines is eyeing to export Mitsubishi Mirage G4 and Toyota Vios, as well as automobile parts, to Indonesia to trim the trade gap between the two economies.
sidelines of 34th Asean Summit last week, Indonesia agreed to import more
agricultural products and automobile parts from the Philippines. The deal was reached after Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez raised before Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita the widening trade gap between Manila and Jakarta.
Lopez also noted Indonesia is one of the Southeast Asian powerhouses in vehicle production and that even the Philippines imports the Toyota Fortuner from it.
With this manufacturing capability, Indonesia should source some of its automobile parts from the Philippines, Lopez said. In the long term, Jakarta can import Mitsubishi Mirage G4 and Toyota Vios from Manila once it becomes the regional production center for these vehicles.
Mitsubishi Mirage G4 and Toyota Vios are enrolled under the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy program of the government.
The program, allocated with P27 billion, provides time-bound and performance-based fiscal support to selected vehicle assemblers for the local manufacture of their enrolled units.
The Mirage G4 and Vios are the enrolled units of Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. and Toyota Motors Philippines Corp., respectively.
On top of automobile and its parts, Indonesia plans to procure larger volumes of farm goods from the Philippines, particularly bananas and shallots.
It was also reported that Indonesian PT Mayora in April started its importation of Philippine desiccated coconuts. The producer of the popular instant coffee Kopiko committed to put up a coffee manufacturing and processing plant in the Philippines that is projected to employ 3,000 workers once completed.
Two-way trade between the Philippines and Indonesia improved 10.32 percent to $7.8 billion last year, from $7.07 billion in 2017, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Exports to Indonesia jumped 21.78 percent to $881.99 million, from $724.21 million. However, the bulk of the end-to-end trade was largely accounted for by shipments from Indonesia that grew 8.97 percent to $6.92 billion, from $6.35 billion.
The government vowed to consider Jakarta’s moves to buy more from Manila in its review of the special safeguard duty of P203.74 per kilogram that it imposed on coffee imports.
“President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing for the Philippines to narrow its trade imbalance with Indonesia. Thus, we hope that openness from both countries will result in a mutually beneficial trade relationship between the two countries,” Lopez said in a statement on Monday.