WASHINGTON, DC—Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, together with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, in a meeting with ZAF Energy Systems and Battery Grade Materials, Inc. (BGM), discussed the US firms’ proposed investment projects in the country. During the meeting, the trade chief explained why Philippines is their best investment destination and reassured ZAF CEO Mr. Randy Moore of the Department’s continued support for their planned long-term business with the ongoing major economic reforms in the country under the administration of President Duterte.
“Apart from having vast resources of green metals such copper, cobalt, and nickel, which are key inputs to the production and manufacture of battery and other technology products, US companies stand to benefit from a partnership with the Philippines with the new incentives they can benefit from under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act,” Sec. Lopez said.
He added, “With a registration with the Board of Investments (BOI), activities addressing value-chain gaps, such as ZAF-BGM’s proposed hydroxide processing plant and battery manufacturing projects, may both qualify for Tier II under Industrial Value Chain Gaps of the proposed 2022 Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP).”
ZAF and its affiliate company, BGM, are already in talks with some Philippine-based nickel mining companies and are looking for more possible suppliers. They aim to partner with these companies in producing nickel hydroxide in the country using state-of-the art and environment safe technologies. Nickel hydroxide serves as an electrode material for battery technologies such as Nickel-Zinc Batteries for electric vehicles and other applications for commercial and defense-related equipment. When fully completed including a battery factory, estimated total investments could reach up to $400-500 million and employ almost a thousand direct employees.
Since July 2021, ZAF and BGM have been in close and active collaboration with BOI and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in New York to facilitate the partnership opportunities, requirements, and negotiations for the planned investment. ZAF is currently in further coordination with BOI and PTICs for their planned due diligence visit to the country.
“We have been targeting companies that can process our minerals instead of exporting them as raw ore. This will encourage high-value minerals processing in the country and is in line with our efforts to bring in more investments under the leadership and guidance of President Duterte,” Sec. Lopez said.
He added, “Amid the nearing change in administration, we assure continuity of government support to investors through the sectoral roadmaps that have been crafted and implemented in collaboration with partner agencies and the private sector. With sound economic policies and our country’s strong economic fundamentals in place, we look forward to how the next leaders in government can further build on these successes and achieve even greater heights for the Filipino people.”
The meeting was held on the sidelines of the High-Level Diplomatic Reception for Government Officials and Business Leaders on 19 April 2022 in Washington, DC. Secretary Lopez was joined by BOI Managing Head and Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary Rose Edillon, Commercial Counselor Kenneth Yap, and Commercial Consul Benedict Uy. END