By Jenina P. Ibañez, Reporter

THE BOARD of Investments (BoI) is in talks with a motorcycle engine assembly and manufacturing company for potential relocation to the Philippines as the firm considers closing down operations in its other locations in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

BoI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said that the company is looking at closing down two of three ASEAN facilities, which could then be moved to the Philippines.

“Motorcycles are among the fastest growing import categories for the country, and in fact contributes — maybe it’s the third biggest contributor now to our trade deficit,” he said at the Arangkada online forum on Thursday. “The trade deficit has been with the two countries where this foreign company would be closing its factories.”

Mr. Rodolfo said the company is considering the country because of the potential reduction of nationality and export restrictions in the incentives system.

Moving factories to the Philippines to access the domestic market was previously not as enticing, he said, because firms can easily export to the country at zero duty from Thailand.

At the same event, Foundation for Economic Freedom President Calixto V. Chikiamco said that the Philippines can improve competitiveness by depreciating the peso, which he said would make export, tourism and outsourcing sectors more competitive.

“There’s a flood of imports — all of this with the strengthening of the peso. Actually, a strong peso indicates a weak economy.”

He added there should be a domestic competition policy to drive growth in a post-pandemic economy.

“Monopolies and duopolies dominate a broad swath of the economy, which makes our costs here quite expensive. So what we need is a competition policy to open up industries.”