Less restraints on foreign businesses sought
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has begun deliberations on a bill that would relax certain restraints on foreign investments.
In his sponsorship speech of House Bill No. 300, Valenzuela City Rep. Weslie Gatchalian cited the need to ease ownership limitations and paid-up capital requirements that, he said, were blocking direct investments from smaller foreign entities.
“Given this existing regulation, foreign firms are always placed at a disadvantage, compelling them to partner with local firms,” Gatchalian said.
The bill endorsed by both House panels on trade and industry and on economic affairs would amend the Foreign Investments Act of 1991, which was last amended in 1996.
Among other objectives, the proposed law would remove the “practice of professions” from the list of prohibitions on foreigners, and leave the regulation of their practice to specific laws that govern their discipline.
Gatchalian said the amendment would help attract foreign professionals to practice in the Philippines, and help generate more employment opportunities in the country while bringing in technology and know-how to the sector.
Under the law, foreigners are allowed to own small and medium-sized enterprises with a paid-up capital of less than $100,000 if it involves advance technology or employs at least 15 direct employees.