UK firms want PH to change law on business Ownership
Britain is leading the pack of EU countries that are willing and ready to invest more money in the Philippines. However, a current law that states foreigners can only own 40% of businesses is keeping them at bay.
British energy companies are specifically interested to invest in the Philippines because of projected increase in energy demand. However, UK Trade Envoy to the Philippines George Freeman and British Ambassador to Manila Asif Anwar Ahmad said that the law on foreign ownership is making British companies concerned about the long-term security of their investments.
According to current Philippine commercial laws, foreign investors can only own 40% of a business while 60% should be owned by their Filipino partner.
Freeman said ‘We see a very big growing market here. The growing Philippine economy presents a big market for UK energy firms. [But] you need certainty of ownership and be able to convince financiers. To promote that, we need to revisit the 60-40 rule.’
The UK trade delegation is set to meet with a number of local government agencies to explore opportunities and partnerships in the energy and climate change sectors. Aside from the group, many international and local business chambers are also asking government to review the 60-40 rule.
Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Oriental Mindoro Congressman Reynaldo Umali said that Congress has already proposed a resolution that aims to solve the ownership issue. ‘[The resolution] intends to change precisely the [60-40 rule] by adding five words and these are “as maybe provided by law.”
‘This will open a lot of possibilities to address the concerns of foreign investors.’
Last month, the EU said it can double foreign direct investments in the country if Philippine laws that restrict foreign companies are eased. House of Representatives Speaker Sonny Belmonte said he is supporting the changes in the laws to bring in more investors and create more jobs in the country.