PH to become production hub, exporter of vehicles

Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez

Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez has raised the potential of the Philippines to become a production hub and exporter of vehicles in the ASEAN region.

Lopez said this after a recent discussion with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) Chief Executive Officer Osamu Masuko.

DTI requested MMC to start producing car models that can be exported as the agency is promoting an export program for locally manufactured vehicles in order to tap a larger market for the country’s manufacturing base and help address PH’s trade deficit, especially with two ASEAN vehicle exporters—Indonesia and Thailand.

“The intention is to produce specific models that will be exported to our neighbors in ASEAN. The good thing here is, as MMC is already present in other ASEAN countries like Thailand and Indonesia, they are planning to make certain countries as production hub for certain models, which will serve their respective domestic and export markets,” said Lopez.

Currently, MMPC locally produces the Mirage/G4 under the government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program, which aims to attract investments, stimulate demand, develop a vibrant local auto parts supplier base, and implement industry regulations that will revitalize the country’s automotive industry to turn it into a regional automotive manufacturing hub.

During the discussion, Masuko relayed MMC’s plans to produce more units of Mirage/G4 and L300 in PH and to start exporting these to the ASEAN market by 2019.

He also mentioned their intention to collaborate with PH government to develop the electric vehicle industry in PH.

Lopez expressed optimism on the vehicle export program.

“We keep saying that building an export manufacturing base is the way to go. It is also a good import substitution strategy. Through this initiative, we will address the trade imbalance and provide more jobs to our countrymen,” said Lopez.

Present during the meeting were MMC Corporate Vice President for ASEAN Division Yoichiro Yatabe, MMPC President and CEO Mutsuhiro Oshikiri, DTI Undersecretaries Ceferino Rodolfo and Rowel Barba, Assistant Secretaries Rafaelita Aldaba and Angelo Taningco, Commercial Counsellor Ma. Bernardita Mathay, and CARS Program Director Romulo Manlapig. (mb)