THE PHILIPPINES could become a supplier of electric vehicle (EV) components to the US with the expected departure of US production from China, US Democratic Senator Ladda Tammy Duckworth said.

Ms. Duckworth said at a media roundtable in the City of Manila on Aug. 8 that the US could tap the Philippines’ mineral and electronics industries to diversify its sourcing of key commodities.

“What an interesting idea to partner with companies and basically create new manufacturing ecosystems outside of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Because for so long, everything has been manufactured in the PRC. So many of the things that Americans consume are manufactured in the PRC. If we need to build automobiles, the chips are not made in the US anymore,” Ms. Duckworth said.

“You would get EV batteries faster if you could manufacture the components in nations that have the natural resources like the Philippines, and then ship those components to the US and have them assembled into EVs,” she added.

Ms. Duckworth also sees opportunities for tapping Japanese, Korean, and Taiwan companies to manufacture in the Philippines for the US market, adding that the move is “a win-win-win situation” for all involved.

“I think there are many opportunities for us to partner, along with other nations like Japan, Korea and Taiwan in manufacturing, in particular, that would leverage the resources in the Philippines both human and natural resources, but also to manufacture for the US market to help solve one of the biggest problems that we have in our economy, which is a broken manufacturing supply chain,” Ms. Duckworth said.

Ms. Duckworth cited the Inflation Reduction Act passed by the US government in August last year, which offers incentives for US-built or -assembled EV components.

The law sets percentages of EV battery components that need to be manufactured or assembled in the US before incentives kick in. The percentage is 50% in 2023, rising by 10 percentage points each year until 2028, when the incentive-eligible US manufacturing component rises to 100%.

“The Inflation Reduction Act actively bans EV batteries made with PRC-produced components… The Philippines… is where we can partner with the firms that are the leaders on EV batteries… That’s where the advantage is,” Ms. Duckworth said.

“When I look at where we want to create the ecosystems, I can’t think of a better place than the Philippines because you’ve been a key ally and national security partner. This just builds on that relationship,” she added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave