THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is proposing a zero-tariff regime for imports of electric vehicles (EVs), which it pitched as a measure to accelerate their adoption.  

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said during the virtual Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on Wednesday that the DTI is proposing zero tariffs for EVs in lieu of the current 30% rate.   

“One thing we are proposing is to adjust the tariff rate from 30% to zero” to provide a boost to EV adoption, Mr. Lopez said.

“We need to promote EVs and the way to promote it is to encourage their use. How will you encourage the use of EVs if they are expensive? This is one of the immediate ways that we think can be done,” he added.

According to Mr. Lopez, the proposal seeks to provide options for consumers and encourage them to try EVs instead of vehicles powered by internal combustion, in the process helping protect the environment.   

Mr. Lopez said zero tariffs will encourage more dealers to begin importing EVs into the country.

“Once we implement the zero tariff, EV dealers will begin importing. So, towards the second half of the year, if ever, we might be able to see more EVs,” Mr. Lopez said.

Mr. Lopez said more charging stations will be installed to encourage EV adoption.

“There were project proposals submitted to the DTI regarding plans to encourage EVs, import the units, and put up charging stations so that the industry will grow,” Mr. Lopez said.

“The DTI, together with the Committee on Tariff Related Matters, with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) as co-chair, will push this proposal,” he added.

Separately Mr. Lopez described trade with Russia and Ukraine in 2021 as minimal, accounting for only 0.49% of the total.

In 2021, he said trade with Ukraine was valued at $131.4 million, while trade with Russia amounted to $816.7 million.

Mr. Lopez said the effects of the conflict will be indirect, mainly in the form of high commodity prices due to the disruption of the global supply chain. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave