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Philippines working with Italy on minerals needed by EV industry

REUTERS

THE PHILIPPINES is exploring collaboration with Italy in strategic minerals required by the electric vehicle industry, the Department of Trade and Industry said. 

Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said in a speech delivered at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Italy economic dialogue on Wednesday that the Philippines can be Italy’s source of “green” metals such as nickel, cobalt, and copper.  

“Our country can be Italy’s strategic partner in supplying critical minerals needed for Italian electric vehicles (EVs) and battery production,” Mr. Pascual said.  

“We have nickel, cobalt, and copper in abundance. The Philippines is also a dominant supplier of nickel ore, not only in Asia but in the world. It accounts for 31% of global exports. But, of course, we now want to have greater value addition locally for our mineral resources,” he added.

Mr. Pascual said Italian EV manufacturers can take advantage of the zero tariffs on imported EVs in the Philippines. The Tariff Commission recommended zero tariffs to encourage greater take up of EVs.

He added that the Philippines is opening up its EV market to develop an ecosystem that can support local production.

“Our Tariff Commission has recommended eliminating tariffs on EVs. Approval of this recommendation will put Italian EV makers on a level playing field alongside our free trade agreement partners,” Mr. Pascual said.  

Mr. Pascual also said that the Philippines can collaborate with Italy on energy technology, specifically “digitally supported grids for dealing with intermittent power. We need such solutions for our small island grids, our off-grid communities, and our priorities on a national scale.”

“In the case of the Philippines, we are on the verge of massive adoption of renewables for energy security. But renewable energy is characterized by an intermittent power supply. Thus, our legacy baseload grid needs to adapt to more intermittent power sources,” he added.  

Mr. Pascual said that Italy and ASEAN can collaborate on manufacturing, and also encourage smart farming and agricultural technology to boost food security.  

“With Agriculture 4.0 also taking root in Southeast Asia, Italy and ASEAN may work together to promote smart farming and agricultural technology that can contribute to onshore food security,” Mr. Pascual said.

“ASEAN and Italy may also consider collaboration in aerospace parts manufacturing; aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul; and aerospace research and development,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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