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Zero tariff for imported electric vehicles will help ease global warming, mitigate climate change – Manila Bulletin

Editorial

All of the major expatriate business organizations in the country — American, Japanese, Korean Australia-New Zealand, and European Union — have issued a call to make the government’s planned temporary zero duty privilege on the importation of electric vehicles (EVs) more inclusive by opening it to all countries and for all types of EVs. Initial drafts of the proposed measure reportedly cover only the Philippines’ special trading partner countries.

Earlier, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Arsenio Balisacan said in a Malacañang briefing that an Executive Order prescribing zero tariff on EVs is now being considered by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. Once this is issued, the Philippines could be the first ASEAN country to grant zero tariff on EV importation.

The Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) has been pushing for the grant of zero tariff importation on pure EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs only. The removal of the 30 percent duty on EVs could reduce cost by as much as ₱300,000 a unit.

Widespread use of electric vehicles is one of the effective ways for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It enhances the attainment of the objective to contain global warming by ensuring that ocean temperature does not rise by more than 1.5 degrees Centigrade. Climate change has been wreaking havoc, particularly in Climate Vulnerable Countries (CVCs) like the Philippines.

Ironically, the Philippines and other CVCs have suffered the most from massive typhoons and floods, even while contributing the least to greenhouse gas emissions. In the recently-concluded COP 27 climate summit held in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, a “loss and damage fund” was established; details will be threshed out in COP 28 to be held next year in the United Arab Emirates.

A recent Yale School of the Environment study found that “the total indirect emissions from electric vehicles pale in comparison to the indirect emissions from fossil fuel-powered vehicles.” Moreover, “in addition to the direct emissions from combusting fossil fuels — either at the tailpipe for conventional vehicles or at the power plant smokestack for electricity generation — (the study) shows that electric vehicles have a clear advantage emissions-wise over conventional vehicles.”

China, which is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, with 10,668 million metric tons in 2020 has set a goal of 20 percent EV penetration in many of its eastern provinces by 2030. The United States, the second largest CO2 emitter at 4,713 million metric tons, “has set a goal to make half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles, and to build a convenient and equitable network of 500,000 chargers to help make EVs accessible to all Americans for both local and long-distance trips.”

Similar moves by the governments of India, Russia, and Japan, the next top CO2 emitters, will go a long way to complement the efforts of countries like the Philippines that, ironically, contributes a negligible amount of only 0.35 percent of the global carbon footprint.

Indeed, the tariff exemption of imported EVs will go a long way to a more sustainable Philippine environment.

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