PH may relax rules for foreign retailers


More foreign retailers will be given the chance to set up shop in the Philippines under planned changes to the Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL), a Cabinet official said.

Retail trade is one of the industries included in a preliminary list drawn up by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told reporters on Monday.

Specifically, the paid-up capital of foreign retail investors will be lowered to $200,000 from the $2.5 million capitalization required under the Retail Trade Liberalization Act of 2000.

Local retailers, meanwhile, “will be forced to be internationally competitive. The purpose is to make the consumers happier,” Pernia said.

The updated negative list is expected to be approved by the NEDA board before the end of the year.
Besides retail trade, contractors and services such as professors being given appointments by local universities will also be taken off from the list.

The NEDA has said that foreigners will also be allowed full ownership of investment houses.

The FINL identifies economic activities that are closed to foreign investors or where restrictions have been set on foreign ownership by the 1987 Constitution or other laws.

Provided for under the Foreign Investments Act of 1991, the latest FINL was issued on May 29, 2015 by then-President Benigno Aquino 3rd via Executive Order 184.

A review was initiated by the Duterte administration in May this year.


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