Duterte wants more areas opened up for foreign ownership

November 21, 2017 at 09:53

Duterte wants more areas opened up for foreign ownership

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte is expected to sign a memorandum circular directing government agencies to fasttrack the determination of other business sectors that can be opened up to foreign participation.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said a draft memorandum circular is now with the Office of the President and is expected to be signed soon.

“The memorandum circular of the President, the message there is for pertinent government agencies to fasttrack what they have to do in terms of liberalizing the items that are proposed for easing and also for the agencies to determine what can be eased right away versus those that need legislation,” he told reporters.

Pernia said this is in line with attracting greater foreign investments and drive up the output of major business sectors in the country.

Some restrictions to foreign equity and participation can be eased through administrative means and some only through the amendment of pertinent laws.

Foreign participation in certain business sectors is adjusted through the periodic review of the Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL). The 11th FINL is now under review by Malacañang.

Pernia said foreign participation would be eased in eight to 10 industries through the 11th FINL, among which are construction, practice of professions, retail and trade, utilities and education.

Earlier, he said the Palace favors the imposition of a 70 percent ownership cap in public utilities like telecommunications and water.

Raising the foreign ownership limit for public utilities, however, would require the amendment of the Public Service Act which prohibits majority ownership by foreign entities in public utilities.

A bill is pending in the House of Representatives seeking to amend the statutory definitions of public utility to open industries like telecommunications, transport, power and water to increased foreign ownership.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/business/2017/11/18/1759924/duterte-wants-more-areas-opened-foreign-ownership

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