British Chamber sees challenges for PH economy until first half of 2021

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 15 2020 01:37 PM

British Chamber sees challenges for PH economy until first half of 2021 1
The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) building at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA - The British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) plans to attract foreign investors next year despite seeing continued challenges for the Philippine economy until the first half of 2021, a chamber official said Tuesday.

"We anticipate that 2021 will have continuing challenges until the first half of the year...If we can open up trade and travel restrictions, it's a signal for the Philippine economy to grow its foreign direct investment," BCCP Chairman Chris Nelson told the ANC Market Edge.

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Nelson noted foreign firms find the "young and dynamic" Filipino workforce to be the main attraction for investing in the Philippines.

He also said that they are seeing long term potentials and opportunities in sectors of food and drink, retail, advanced machinery, and business services.

British firms' decision to invest here can be cemented by further easing of travel restrictions, and the passing of renewed Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA) and Public Services Act, Nelson added.

Last September, the Senate passed a bill to amend the Republic Act No. 8762 or the RTLA, lowering the minimum paid-up capital for foreign retail investors to $300,000 from $2.5 million. 

A similar bill was passed by the Lower House in March, that puts the minimum paid-up capital at $200,000.

Amendment to the Public Services Act will redefine "public utility" as only applicable to power and water -- not in telecommunications.

This will remove the 40 percent foreign ownership cap in the telecoms sector and attract foreign entrants to improve telco services.

Asked if Brexit will affect British firms in the Philippines, Nelson noted that there is zero to minimal effect as current trade agreements will continue to "stand in place" while the BCCP also continues to highlight opportunities to seize within in the Philippine market.