THE economic benefits of the 11th Regular Foreign Investment Negative List (RFINL) signed on October 29 are likely to be felt in 2019, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said on Monday.
In a briefing, Pernia said “we should see some” of the fruits of this list next year in terms of foreign businessmen becoming interested to come to the Philippines and invest.
According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief, foreign business groups, including the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, have responded positively to the updated list.
Despite this, more needs to be done to further open the economy to foreign investors, he said.
“[W]e need a lot more work in terms of getting more areas and activities liberalized. That is the desire of the economic managers,” Pernia added.
To compete with at least its Southeast Asian neighbors, the official said some laws needed to be amended so that more areas would be opened to foreign participants.
There are bills filed in Congress that would liberalize other areas of the economy, he added, citing the proposed amendments to Commonwealth Act 146 or the Public Service Act of 1936 as an example.
According to NEDA, the 11th RFINL reflects amendments to existing laws. These include reciprocity provisions in certain laws on professions, such as pharmacy and forestry; limitations on foreign participation in investment areas or activities provided in new laws; and exclusions from limitations on foreign participation in some investment areas or activities identified that do not need legislative action.
With the issuance of Executive Order (EO) 65 on October 31, NEDA said these areas now allow 100-percent foreign participation: internet businesses; teaching at higher education levels, provided the subject being taught is not a professional subject; training centers engaged in developing short-term, high level skills; adjustment, lending and financing companies and investment houses; and wellness centers.
The EO also allows up to 40-percent foreign participation in building and repairing locally funded public works projects subject to applicable regulatory frameworks, and private radio communications network.
The 10th RFINL only allowed only up to 25-percent and 20-percent foreign participation, respectively, in these areas.