January 09, 2017

New year, new policies? Businesses look forward to ‘kinder’ foreign ownership rules

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  • New year, new policies? Businesses look forward to ‘kinder’ foreign ownership rules
  • The start of a new year will always be welcomed by businessmen as it affords them a fresh start. One of the key deciders, though, has yet to be settled: when will the Philippines be kind towards foreign ownership?

    pse

    Photo by Patrick Roque, grabbed from Wikipedia

    One of the promises of President Rodrigo Duterte during his campaign was lifting the restriction on foreign ownership. With the signing of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 10 last December 7, 2016, lifting (or at the very least amending) the rules on foreign ownership might be in sight.

    To date, foreign ownership dictates a 60-40 split between a Filipino/Filipinos and foreign nationals, with foreigners being allowed 40% maximum stake in one of the following:

    • Real estate (land and condominium) ownership
    • Operating and managing public utilities and infrastructures
    • Exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources
    • Production of rice and corn

    Duterte has gone as far as saying he is open to reversing the equity to 60% for foreigners and 40% for Filipinos, or even pushing it as far as 70-30, though he remained firm on land ownership.

    In a report from ABS-CBN News, Duterte said “Most of the Filipinos are poor. With the growing economy of the super-giant China and the rest, they can come always come here and buy [land], they can buy the whole of Tondo and relocate. We will be left with nothing and everything is sold.”

    An E.O. may have been signed creating a committee to amend the 1987 Constitution, but the committee in question has yet to convene. 2017 might be the year when they finally do; and when they do, the business sector will surely be watching closely.

    Source: CNN Philippines, ABS-CBN News, Manila Bulletin

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