The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is open to revising certain economic laws that restrict the entry of foreign direct investments.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, in turnover ceremonies at the Board of Investments Friday, said he would review industries under the negative list and work for its reduction to support growth targets.
“We are governed by laws. There is a negative list. We need to trim it down to open up more industries that can benefit more of our people. It should create more jobs and income,” he said.
Many business groups have proposed the scrapping of the foreign investment negative list that hindered the entry of foreign capital.
Local business groups such as the Philippine Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and the Makati Business Club support the position of the Joint Foreign Chambers that seeks the removal of the negative list.
The American Chamber of Commerce earlier proposed the scrapping the 40-percent cap on foreign equity in public utilities, saying the move would open the doors to foreign direct investments and spur competition that would benefit consumers.
The group’s no-need-for-Charter-change proposal snowballed after Malacañang rejected renewed initiatives by the influential MBC to amend the 1987 Constitution and remove existing limits to full ownership by foreigners of certain industries.
AmCham said the restrictions to the entry of foreign investors could be remedied without going through a contentious Charter-change process that the former administration was opposed to
The negative list only allows a maximum 40-percent foreign equity in public utilities.
The list is subject to revision every two years under the Foreign Investments Act of 1991.
Business groups said the government could consider public utilities as one of the investment areas where 100 percent foreign equity would be allowed.
Foreign and local business groups also strongly supported a Congress proposal to amend certain economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
The resolution seeks to include the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in some sections of the national economy, education, science and technology, arts, culture and sports.
The resolution has been approved on second reading and was set to go through a third reading that requires approval of three-fourths of the members of the Lower House.
Since year 2000, Filipino business leaders and economists have recommended replacing the constitutional restrictions on foreign equity with specific laws.