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Changes in trade measure sought

THE British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) on Monday called for the immediate passage of amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act.

“We have been a key supporter of the Retail Trade Liberalization Act. We went to last Congress and also stated our viewpoints. Unfortunately, it didn’t get passed in that Congress,” BCCP Executive Director Chris Nelson said in a briefing in Bonifacio Global City.

The law seeks to do away with barriers to foreign investments by easing the equity and capitalization requirements, creating a more favorable investment in the country.
Among the provisions being pushed was the lowering of the minimum paid-up capital threshold to $200,000 from the current $2.5 million.

“It has been revived in this current Congress. My understanding is that it is going through the House and obviously it will go to the Senate. That is just one more signal to invest, as it is something we can promote when we go back to the UK,” said Nelson.

Nelson said the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act and the Foreign Investments Act would help attract more foreign investments in the country.

“I think they are even due to liberalize foreign investments [act]. It is something we can communicate to [UK companies],” he said.

Amendments to the Foreign Investment Act seek to reduce the threshold for foreign investors investing $100,000 in small to medium-size enterprises from 50 to only 15 direct employees. This move also proposes to exclude
the practice of professions from the coverage of the Foreign Investment Act.

Nelson said the Philippines currently became an attractive business destination for UK companies further noting that a British craft gin brand and a school were interested to launch in the country.

He also said there were also queries from recruitment agencies and a remittance company, and the government’s massive infrastructure program could also help boost foreign investments in the Philippines.

“I would also strongly encourage in terms of what we can do in the UK on how we could keep on promoting as partners more opportunities for UK companies. I think your “Build, Build, Build” program, those 75 mega projects and numerous other local government projects are opportunities,” he said.

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