Philippine Bill Aims to Open SMEs and Start-ups to Foreign Investors

January 2019

The Philippine House of Representatives has approved House Bill No. 8764 on its final reading, which attempts to amend the Republic Act No. 7042, referred to as the Foreign Investments Act of 1991. The bill intends to bring in more Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), facilitate transfer of technology, and share technical know-how.

House Bill No. 8764 seeks to make changes to a stipulation which restricts foreign equity to a certain percentage and bans the practice of profession in Pharmacy, Radiologic and X-Ray Technology, Criminology, Forestry, and Law, or foreign participation in some sectors of the economy like mass media, small-scale mining, recruitment, operation and management of public utilities, among others, that are in the Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL).

Small and medium-sized domestic market enterprises, with paid-in equity capital less than the equivalent USD 200,000.00 are reserved to Philippine nationals. But foreign investors are allowed to have minimum capital of USD 100,000 if they employ a minimum number of employees and are engaged in advanced technology areas as determined by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). HB 8764 seeks to lower the hiring magnitude to 15 from 50 employees.

(Source: Manila Bulletin; News Bytes; Business World)

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