A ZERO tariff scheme for imported electric vehicles (EVs) will not make them significantly more competitive on price relative to cars powered by internal combustion engines, the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) said.

EVAP Executive Director Jose Bienvenido Manuel M. Biona said at a Tariff Commission (TC) hearing on Thursday that the zero-tariff proposal will not make EVs less expensive than cars using conventional fuel.

“(The) removal of import tariffs on EVs (excluding tricycles and jeepneys since they are produced in the Philippines) would reduce the cost, although they would remain more expensive than internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEs),” Mr. Biona said.

“We’ve done already the math. The industry forecasts that it will not be competitive,” he added.

The hearing was evaluating the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) proposal for zero-tariff EV imports, down from the current 30%.

The proposal was meant to hasten EV adoption in the face of high oil prices.

Mr. Biona said, however, that zero EV tariffs will not have a significant impact on government revenue.

“(The) impact… on revenue… will be minimal considering that the more popular ICE models are mostly sourced from Southeast Asia or locally produced, or from countries with which we have free trade agreements,” Mr. Biona said.

Mr. Biona added that the government could consider granting tariff exemptions for electric motorcycles instead to boost demand.

“(Electric) motorcycles may be granted import tariffs exemptions over a limited period to help build up demand to attract manufacturing investors,” Mr. Biona said.  

“We believe that we have the capacity to produce the motorcycles here,” he added.

Energy Utilization Management Bureau Director Patrick T. Aquino said a zero tariff is expected to be positive for EV adoption as well as jobs.

“It would encourage end-users to shift to EVs and aid in increasing the number of EVs in the current vehicle fleet of the country,” Mr. Aquino said.

“It can generate employment opportunities for the workforce,” he added.

According to the TC, the DTI’s zero tariff proposal runs for five years. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave