Toyota Urges RP to Go Slow on Trade Liberalization
Japanese car giant Toyota Motor Corp. has urged the Philippines to go slow on its trade liberalization program as this will have adverse impact on local motor vehicle assemblers.
In a speech before the 27th Philippine Business Conference (PBC), Toyota Motor Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. president Motomobu Takemoto stressed this point as one of his policy recommendations for the local motor vehicle industry attain higher competitiveness.
Takemoto called it "step by step liberalization."
In particular, the Toyota official was referring to the drastic reduction of the tariff on automobiles imported on completely built up (CBU) units to only 5 percent by year 2003 from the present 30 percent.
"It is important to liberalize and consider that a deliberate pace is doing more harm than good. Although the government has not yet finalize its position, it is going to have a big impact on local manufacturing firms," Takemoto said.
"We should consider step by step liberalization to help local industry prepare for globalization. We should pay attention to what happened to the local market," he stressed.
Compared to other ASEAN countries, the Philippines has the lowest tariff rate. Thailand slapped an 80 percent tariff on CBU packs.
"The tariff cuts in the Philippine CBU pack is too fast and drastic," he stressed.
The domestic motor vehicle industry was expected to start a recovery from the Asian financial crisis but such growth was stunted by the global economic slowdown.
Sales this year is expected to go below the 84,000 units sold last year. …