Measures to help local vehicle assemblers eyed

Introducing other measures to support local vehicle manufacturers is being eyed after Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) announced to close its operation in the Philippines next month.

We really have to study the need to impose safeguard duty and other measures to provide at least a level of support to the local assemblers, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a text message Sunday.

Lopez admitted that since there is no tariff protection on imported vehicles, it becomes a cheaper alternative for car companies that find it challenging to keep up with the costs in operating in the country.

Vehicle imports have been growing, causing injury to local industry, from assembly to the local parts supply network in the country, he said.

On Saturday, the Japanese carmaker announced it will cease its Philippine operations effective this March.

Lopez said DTI will meet HCPI on Monday to consider other alternative options so as to minimize the impact of any final decision they will make.

HCPI, with manufacturing facility in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, produces passenger cars such as BR V and City.

HCPI will continue its automobile sales and after sales service operation in the Philippines, through the utilization of Honda's Asia and Oceania regional network, the company said in a statement.

Honda entered the Philippines in November 1990 with PHP1.9 billion investments. It started its production here after two years.

In 2019, HCPI sold a total of 20,338 units sharing 5.5 percent of the local market.

SOURCE: PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY

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