Retail liberalization urged by biz chamber

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The government should should reduce or scrap the paid-up capital requirement for retailers to entice more businesses to invest in the country, the president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines yesterday said.

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“ I don’t think it should be the government to dictate … that if you have to put up a business you have to put this and that. I think they should let market forces develop as they go along,” ECCP President Guenter Taus said during a briefing on the upcoming EU-Philippines Business Summit.

Republic Act 8762 or the Retail Liberalization Act of 2000 sets the minimum paid-up capital at $ 2.5 million. Earlier this week, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said this could be cut to $200,000 under planned changes to the so-called negative list.

“Isn’t competition what we want? Doesn’t it make much more sense to bring those business in the Philippines for filipinos to spend their money here?,” Taus asked.

“Therefore you have employment and taxes, that makes much more sense to me … At the end of the day, what you want for the average Filipino is better prices, better services…,” he added.

“It would not only entice small and medium European businesses but it will also send a signal that the Philippines is open for business.”

Officials said that the EU was the Philippines’ largest source of foreign direct investments.

The bloc’s ambassador to the country, Franz Jessen, said that the EU accounted for 29 percent of all approved investments in the first half of 2017.

“During this period, Philippine goods exported to the EU amounted to over $ 4.6 billion. is makes the EU the second largest export market for Filipino exporters,” he added.

Jessen said EU businessmen were particularly scouting for business opportunities in Mindanao.
“I think the most promising is still the agriculture sector,” he said.

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