Trade Secretary Cesar Purisima said Asahi Glass Co. Japan president Keita Shikii personally informed him in Tokyo that the glass maker is indeed putting up the manufacturing facility for solar glass cover that would be the first of its kind in Southeast Asia.
The decision by Asahi Glass Philippines to put up this new facility, the first among Asean countries, brings the country on par with other nations in the production of high grade low-iron solar cover glass for flat plate solar panels, Purisima said.
The construction of the proposed facility would start next month and is expected to completed early next year. Asahi Glass Philippines would have to repair and improve one of its existing glass furnaces to produce this new product for export.
The plants output would be exported to Japan and is expected to generate $25 million in annual export earnings for the country.
The trade chief said Asahi Glass Philippines is also in the process of evaluating the possibility of modernizing and expanding the capacity of its existing float glass production facility as part of a comprehensive repair to be undertaken in 2006.
Asahi Glass Philippines earlier announced that it would undertake the project to complement the operations of the $320-million wafer fabrication plant of SunPower Philippines Manufacturing Ltd. inside the Ayala-controlled Laguna Technopark.
Purisima said the proposed project would be registered with the Board of Investments so Asahi Glass Philippines could avail of fiscal and nonfiscal incentives under Executive Order 226, otherwise known as the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987.
Purisima also revealed that the company is set to ask the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) to declare the companys manufacturing complex in Pasig City as a special economic zone. This would entitle the company to avail of incentives such as duty-free importation of capital equipment, raw materials, and 5-percent tax on gross income instead of national and local taxes.
During their meeting in Japan, Shikii expressed the companys gratitude and appreciation for the DTIs support to the industry through the imposition of safeguard measures on float glass imports to curb the onslaught of cheap imports.
The DTI earlier slapped definitive safeguard duties on imported glass products such as glass mirrors, figured glass, and float glass products for three years after the Tariff Commission found evidence that the increased importation has injured the domestic industry.