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

Commerce Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said at the virtual Kapihan sa Manila Bay Forum on Wednesday that the DTI is offering zero tariffs for electric vehicles instead of the current rate of 30%.

“One thing we’re proposing is to adjust the tariff rate from 30% to zero” to drive EV adoption, Lopez said.

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

According to Mr. Lopez, the proposal aims to provide options to consumers and encourage them to try electric vehicles rather than internal combustion vehicles, thus helping to protect the environment.

Lopez said the absence of tariffs will encourage more dealers to start importing electric vehicles into the country.

“Once we get zero tariff in place, EV dealers will start importing. So around the second half of the year, if ever, we might see more EVs,” Lopez said. .

Lopez said more charging stations will be installed to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles.

“Project proposals have been submitted to the DTI regarding plans to encourage electric vehicles, import the units and set up charging stations for the industry to grow,” Lopez said.

“The DTI, in conjunction with the Tariff Matters Committee, with the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) as co-chair, will take this proposal forward,” he added.

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

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

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