AmCham seeks more liberal FINL

May 30, 2017 at 12:00

AmCham seeks more liberal FINL

Opening of retail trade, firecrackers and recruitment

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat |Published 

American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) has identified eight priorities, including retail trade and firecrackers manufacturing, that the government should include in the liberalization of the Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL) as these will benefit the Philippine economy the most.

In an email reply to Manila Bulletin, AmCham senior adviser John Forbes listed the foreign chamber’s priorities as the government is currently reviewing the FINL, which is a list of economic where foreign equity investment is banned, prohibited or limited.

“If there is no valid reason to restrict then what makes sense for the economy is to open up to create more investment, jobs and competition,” said Forbes.

Foremost on his list is an amendment to the Constitution to remove some restrictions on foreign equity on certain industries through the passage of a law by Congress.

In particular, Forbes said there is a need to amend the Retail Trade Act or Republic Act 8762 to lower the minimum capital requirement to $200,000 consistent with the Foreign Investment Act.

“We support HB 4595 authored by Rep. Arthur Yap. Sen. Miguel Zubiri is also expected to introduce a companion measure in the Senate,” Forbes said.

AmCham also called for the amendment of PD 194, which restricts foreign ownership of rice and corn trading enterprises to remove the restriction.

The American business group also wants to reduce minimum requirement for paid-in equity capital by a foreign investor in a domestic enterprise in RA 7042 (as amended by RA 8179) to $100,000 from $200,000.

AmCham also wants the government to remove the ban on foreign business to engage in the manufacture of firecrackers under RA 7183.

Owning a private security agency, another industry fully reserved to Filipinos, should also be opened to foreign businessmen. Private recruitment activity, which allows 75 percent foreign ownership, was also pushed to be opened for full foreign equity.

AmCham also sought to remove restrictions on construction contracts, which only allowed up to 75 percent foreign ownership, as well as similar restrictions, including against operations of foreign construction companies.

“They are the restrictions which we believe if lifted will lead to the most new investment, job creation and competition that will benefit the Philippine economy,” Forbes said.

Earlier, the government economic team reviewing the 10th Regular Foreign Investment Negative List said it will recommend a “very liberal” foreign investment negative list, including lifting restrictions on financial, education, mass media, some licensed professions among others, to entice more foreign players in the domestic economy.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has vowed to come up with a “very liberal” NIFL. They have until end this month to submit its recommendations to President Duterte, who in turn will issue an executive order to implement the new FINL.



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