Include hybrid cars in zero duty EV imports–foreign biz

FOREIGN business groups in the country made a pitch for hybrid cars to be included in the government’s planned zero duty on the importation of electric vehicles (EVs).

At the press conference for the 11th Arangkada Philippines Forum, business groups including the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, and Korean Chamber of Commerce, backed the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) in urging the government to include hybrid vehicles in the planned zero tariff rate on imported electric vehicles (EVs).

“First of all we applaud the government for this initiative as it is the first country in Asean to allow zero import-duty on electric vehicles. But the reason why we bring it up is we would also like to include hybrid, gas and not only from within Asia or Asean but also from Europe,” ECCP President Lars Wittig said on Thursday.

Ebb Hinchliffe, AmCham Executive Director, said the business group fully supports the statement that ECCP issued last week on the planned executive order on EV importation.

“If we have the ability to manufacture vehicles in the country, then for sure we should be able to have zero import duty on all vehicles coming in and I just with…hybrid,” Hinchliffe said.

Meanwhile, the ECCP president said they expect the President to sign the amendments on the five years of import duty-free privilege on EVs.

“We are prodding the government. We have earlier this week had a meeting with the Department of Trade and Industry [DTI] and we expect this month, this December before Christmas, that the government…the President will pass and sign the amendments to ensure five years of import duty-free, zero import duty on EVs five years,” Wittig said.

Apart from the push to impose five-year zero tariff rate on hybrid EVs, Hinchliffe said the planned zero tariff rate on importation should be extended to “all countries” and not just to the “special trading partners” of the Philippines.

Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines Executive Director Hyun Chong Um also supported the zero-tariff importation privilege, saying such will level up the Philippines’s automotive industry.

“I think some other countries, before they start, they even have a government subsidy to lower the cost of the price but for the Philippines, even just removing tariffs, that will greatly benefit not only the environment but [prepare] for the next stage of the automotive industry,” the Korean Chamber official noted.

Hyun Chong Um also thinks that hybrid vehicles should be included, “I think so because EV should come with infrastructure like charging stations and everything. You cannot only drive in Makati and Metro Manila so I think hybrid and all this combination will be a good start with changing from a combustion engine to electric cars.”

Two weeks ago, at a press conference in Malacañang, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan announced the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board has endorsed a new Executive Order to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to implement the new tariff modification.

“The EO will temporarily reduce the most-favored nation [MFN] tariff rates to zero percent for five years and completely built-up or CBU units of certain EVs, except for hybrid-type EVs,” Balisacan said.

Currently, Balisacan said the tariff for e-vehicles range from 5 percent to 30 percent.

The zero-tariff policy will cover EVs such as passenger cars, buses, mini buses, vans, trucks, motorcycles, tricycles, scooters and bicycles among others.

It will also reduce the tariff for certain component parts of EVs from 5 percent to 1 percent for five years.

However, the pending EO will exclude hybrid vehicles, which makes use of an electric motor and a traditional combustion engine, for the meantime.

“We will review the performance of this reform after one year to see if there is a need to also include the hybrid,” Balisacan said.

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