DOF chief assures Japanese bizmen of relaxing foreign ownership restrictions
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has assured Japanese businessmen that the move to relax foreign ownership restrictions in certain industries via amendments to the Constitution might commence next year in fulfillment of President Duterte’s commitment to open up the economy to more long-term, job-generating foreign direct investments (FDIs).
In a forum on the Philippine economy held recently in Tokyo, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Dominguez also informed the potential investors that the Philippine government is also currently reviewing its Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL) with the goal of lifting foreign ownership limits in the areas of construction, among other sectors.
“President Duterte has committed to open up our economy. There are two ways we open up our economy to more foreign investments,” Dominguez said at the business forum held in Conrad Hotel Tokyo, Japan.
He said the first step, which is the review of the FINL, began in May this year.
“A window opened for us to review that list. We are currently reviewing it with the idea of removing areas such as construction and other areas to foreign investments,” he said.
Dominguez said the second step, which requires the cooperation of the Congress, “is through the amendment of the Constitution, and the President has called for a revision of our constitution, which we believe will start probably next year or in about 12 months.”
“We are moving towards opening up the economy to more foreign investments,” Dominguez said.
He has said in earlier forums that he favors lifting the foreign ownership limits for certain sectors to generate more foreign investments, except for land.
Data from the 2016 Asean Investment Report show that the Philippines continues to lag behind most of its fellow members in the Association of Southeast Nations in terms of foreign direct investment inflows.
The Report showed the Philippines with a net FDI inflow of $5.724 billion in 2015, representing only 4.7 percent of the total net FDI inflow of $120.818 billion in the region. Singapore accounted for half of the net FDI inflows for that year with $$61.284 billion, followed by Indonesia with $16.916 billion or 14 percent of the total net inflow; Vietnam with $11..8 billion or 9.8 percent; Malaysia with $11.289 billion or 9.3 percent, and Thailand with $8.027 or 6.6 percent of the total. DMS