The
Philippines’ Board of Investments (BOI) is inclined to endorse lower import duties
on planned shipments of semi-knocked down Ford vehicles, the country’s trade secretary
Manuel Roxas II said yesterday.

According to a BridgeNews report, Roxas said he is "favourably disposed"
to approve imports of such vehicles by Ford Philippines.

His response is dependent on Ford having established assembly facilities in
the country, with plans to export part of the output. It must also employ Filipinos
and begin to purchase from local suppliers, Roxas said.

BridgeNews said that Ford is investing an estimated 4.2 billion pesos ($US84
million) in a Phillipines assembly plant. The facility can produce up to 25,000
vehicles a year.

The BridgeNews report said that the BOI, which Roxas chairs, is keeping quiet
on a similar proposal for the import of semi-knocked down Volkswagen vehicles
by local firm Auto Prominence.

The company previously committed to invest 2.2 billion pesos ($US44 million)
in a car assembly facility in northern Philippines but failed to follow through
on the project.

The Office of the President, which bases its decisions on BOI’s recommendations,
gives the final approval for the import of semi-knocked down units into the
country, BridgeNews said.

Semi-knocked down vehicles are subject to a much lower three percent tariff,
compared with 30 percent import duty on fully built units.

A semi-knocked down unit is usually a welded and painted vehicle that requires
only final trim and mechanical assembly plus the addition of locally-supplied
items such as tyres and batteries.


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Market
Profile: Philippines