ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | December 2, 2022

December 02, 2022

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

ECCP calls for import tax exemption for all EVs

Last November 25, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) sent a letter to the Department of Energy containing a proposal on lifting the tariff on imported electric vehicles (EVs) from all countries, including the non-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members. Additionally, the ECCP also calls for a consideration of the Comprehensive Roadmap for the Electric Vehicle Industry, and the adoption of the European standards for adapters in the EV industry. According to the Truck Manufacturers Association and the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc., the market share of electric cars would increase by more than three times by the end of the year, reaching 2,246 units sold. To add, the market share of electric vehicles was 810 units or .31% of the total in 2021. 

Foreign chambers targeting $128-billion investments by 2030

By 2030, the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFC) wants to bring in $128 billion in foreign direct investments by investing in renewable energy, agriculture, and the manufacturing sector. The executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham), Ebb Hinchliffe, mentioned that the said target can be attained by amending the Public Service Act (PSA), Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA), and Foreign Investment Act (FIA), which allows full ownership to foreigners. Additionally, Lars Wittig, the president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), said that the recent economic reforms are expected to attract more foreign investors to the country. Meanwhile, JFC members expressed neutral support for the Maharlika Investments Fund (MIF) since there are hardly any details about the proposal. The vice-president of the Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines, Inc. (ANZCHAM) is likely optimistic about the Philippines’ economic recovery and the MIF as it opens opportunities to the mining industry. 

NEDA sees over 7% GDP growth this year

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) projects a 7% economic growth in 2022 and is expected to have a comparatively strong economy by next year considering the external and domestic challenges. The International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank also posited slower economic growth next year as rising interest rates and high inflation may affect demand. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that the country only needs 3.3 to 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter to reach the 6.5 to 7.5 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth target this year. Additionally, Balisacan also mentioned that the government is aiming for a 6.5 to eight percent GDP growth in 2023. 

PH transpo, airport rankings a challenge for DOTr, secretary says

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is ranked as the third most stressful airport in Southeast Asia and Oceania with 58% of passengers experiencing stress, according to the Hawaiian Islands. In addition, the Urban Mobility Readiness Index’s (UMRI) public transit sub-index ranked Manila as the fifth worst in public transportation in the world. Transportation Sec. Jaime Bautista, on the other hand, sees this as a challenge in light of providing better public service and passenger experience in the country. Since the new administration, Bautista mentioned several reforms have been implemented in NAIA such as terminal reassignment, improvement of the facilities and security, and expanding modes of payments, among others. Regarding public transportation, Bautista said that the department is planning to partner with private companies and is considering the privatization of the EDSA busway. 

DOTr: Evaluation ongoing on PH maritime compliance with EU standards

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said that the European Maritime Safety Agency's (EMSA) requirements for the country’s compliance are still being evaluated. The submitted response last March 2022 includes action plans and programs to address the issues brought up by the EMSA. In their 2020 audit, the EMSA reported finding 13 flaws and 23 complaints, including a shortage of training materials and irregularities in instruction and evaluation. In case the Philippines failed to meet EMSA’s requirements, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said that 50,000 Filipino seafarers in the European Union (EU) could lose their jobs. President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. suggests that a department specializing in ensuring compliance with the evaluation of EMSA as well as pass the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers. 

New EO to hasten issuance of business permits

In order to increase the amount of foreign direct investment into the country, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will sign an executive order (EO) requiring all government agencies and local governments to issue business licenses and permits in less time. This will be implemented by the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Investment. According to Undersecretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil, the officer in charge of the Office of the Press Secretary, the EO also includes the creation of “Green Lanes” to respective government offices to hasten and simplify the procedure and demands which includes a BOI-Investment Assistance Service as the single point of entry of investments. 

Clear rules and transparency seen to improve PPPs

Cosette V. Canilao, the Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer, mentioned during the BusinessWorld Economic Forum that coherent and transparent rules and streamlined processes are essential in improving public-private partnerships (PPPs). Following regular and timely consultations, Ms. Canilao further emphasized that a strong commitment to their obligations written under the contracts from the private sector and the government should be observed. 

Philippines improves in RE attractiveness list 

In the 60th iteration of Ernst & Young's biannual Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI), the Philippines moved up one spot to 27th place out of 40 markets with a 57.9 score. 

PHL likely to achieve growth targets

Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said at the BusinessWorld Economic Forum that the Philippines will achieve its target economic growth this year and in 2023. With a Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaging 7.7% from January to September, the country only needs 3.3% economic growth in the fourth quarter to reach its target. Additionally, he also mentioned that while the  Philippines’ debt-to-GDP ratio increased up to 63.7% at the end of September, it is still relevantly lower compared to other countries. By the end of the year, the government wants to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio to 61.8% and all the way down to 52.5% by 2028. Researchers from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) also predicted that this year's GDP growth "would likely be closer to 7.1%," falling within the government's target range of 6.5-7.5% as the economy continues to reopen.

Marcos to sign EO fast-tracking strategic investment approvals

Acting Press Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said that a presidential executive order (EO) that will expedite applications for investments deemed crucial to the economy is expected to be signed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. This EO includes green lane in government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to simplify and fast-track the issuance of permits and licenses as it aims to achieve “the ease of doing business” as mentioned by President Marcos. 

ECCP wants zero tariff for all EV types

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) submitted eight proposals to the Energy Utilization Management Bureau of the Department of Energy for consideration in the proposed executive order establishing temporary zero tariffs on electric vehicles (EV) for a period of five years or until 2035 from the existing 30 percent. The ECCP Automotive Committee position paper emphasized a zero tariff implementation on EV imports of all other EV models from nations outside of ASEAN. Additionally, the ECCP also suggests the inclusion of the Comprehensive Roadmap for the Electric Vehicle Industry (CREVI) which advances the EV industry in the country. A recommended draft of the CREVI includes accessible and fast chargers for public transportation, the cost of charging must be comparable to current electricity rates, an incentivized EV charging station, a battery swapping system, establishment of a roaming network via access control, a regulated EV retrofitting, and required technical vocational institutions in the Philippines for EV manufacturers, among others.

ASEAN businesses bullish on Philippine growth prospects

Business executives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are optimistic about the Philippines' prospects for overall expansion considering the revival of the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme and the  Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) under the new administration. Standard Chartered Bank said that around 52 percent of surveyed corporates are expected to have a local sales presence within the next three years as reported in the “Winning in ASEAN.” With FDI inflows of $174 billion in 2021, ASEAN ranked third internationally among countries receiving FDI and reached pre-pandemic levels. Furthermore, numerous opportunities are recognized within ASEAN as “ASEAN is an oasis of growth with its GDP forecast to grow about four percent annually to $4.5 trillion by 2030,” said Benjamin Hung, CEO for Asia at Standard Chartered. The report also includes six growth pillars namely talent, hi-tech, regulatory, infrastructure, value chain, and environment in advancing investments and business opportunities in the ASEAN.

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