BOARD OF INVESTMENTS (BOI) READIES RULES ON AUTO EXPORTERS PERKS

MANILA,  January 2, 2004 (BUSINESS WORLD) By IRIS CECILIA C. GONZALES, Reporter - The Philippines gets closer to its bid to become a major vehicle exporter in the region as the Board of Investments (BoI) readies the implementing rules and regulations of a law granting incentives to automobile exporters.

BoI Executive Director Elmer C. Hernandez yesterday said industry players have expressed interest in availing of the incentives under the new law.

Mr. Hernandez presided last Monday over a public hearing on the implementing rules expected to be finalized by the end of January.

Malacaņang signed last Oct. 3 Executive Order 224, which grants export incentives to local assemblers engaged in the export of completely built-up units (CBU) or fully assembled vehicles. The measure is aimed at helping make the Philippines an export hub in the Southeast Asian region.

The law is expected to take effect by Jan. 1, 2004 but the BoI, one of four investment promotion agencies of government, has yet to prepare the implementing rules for the measure.

Automotive industry players, however, are already lining up at the doors of the BoI to avail of the incentives.

Mr. Hernandez said car companies can already start applying for the incentives by Jan. 1 even without the implementing guidelines in place.

"The BoI told them that they can already apply even without the guidelines yet," Mr. Hernandez said in an interview.

Only American car maker Ford Group Philippines has openly expressed interest to avail of the incentives but Mr. Hernandez said there are other car companies interested in availing of the government's incentive package.

He, however, declined to name other interested players until their final applications are filed. Major players in the automotive industry include Honda Philippines, Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

Under the government's export incentives package, local assemblers engaged in CBU exports can get incentives starting next year until 2008.

Export incentives will come in the form of subsidy amounting to $400 per CBU with a minimum volume of 10,000 units.

Ford Philippines has lobbied for a subsidy of $600 per vehicle but company President Henry Co had said the $400-export subsidy is reasonable and would help the car maker improve its business.

Ford Philippines assembles units for export from its sprawling PhP4-billion, 30,000-square meter facility in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

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Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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