The Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID), led by founding member Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), recently conducted the first Landscape forum for 2019, a semi-annual political and economic briefing for the auto industry, at the Manila Club in Fort Bonifacio.
With the theme, “Are we busted or built for the future?” AVID engaged intellectual heavyweights Dr. Fernando Aldaba, respected economist and Dean of the School of Social Sciences of the Ateneo de Manila University and Dr. Jose Bienvenido Manuel Biona, Executive Director of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (eVAP). The pair assessed the impact of the Philippine economy’s growth trajectory and increasing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) on the local auto industry.
Dr. Aldaba, former Chair of the Ateneo de Manila Economics Department, emphasized the importance of infrastructure in promoting accessibility and galvanizing areas outside Metro Manila to become engines for growth. He recommended tighter collaboration among industry players and other stakeholders in setting up a business environment conducive to fast-tracking the growth of the EV industry. Notably, he advocated for the establishment of shared electric vehicle charging stations.
For his part, Dr. Biona identified huge opportunities for the Philippines if government and industry can develop a viable roadmap for the shift to EV. He noted the country’s potential to be a battery manufacturing hub and the possibility of harnessing its strong IT industry and manpower to develop and integrate smart features to local EVs. “The Philippines needs to create demand and provide a competitive production incentives program to attract investments,” he declared.
Summing up the day’s session, AVID and HARI President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said, “Our first briefing for 2019 has been enlightening and encouraging for our members. We look forward to the administration’s proposed incentive package for EV manufacturers and the Korea-Philippine Free Trade Agreement whereby which we expect to see before the year ends. In the meantime, we will actively prepare for the future of mobility and the continued adoption of EVs into the mainstream. Electric vehicles represent our concrete response to calls for greater environmental sustainability and more efficient use of energy…We continue to work closely with industry and government partners to help create an environment that will spur the development of the country’s EV industry.” Ms. Agudo added that outside of lowering import taxes and other fiscal incentives, government should also look into non-fiscal incentives such as free registration for hybrid/EV vehicles, parking, and toll fees to encourage the shift to more eco-friendly modes of transport.