THE Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) on Wednesday welcomed the final approval by the House of Representatives of the bill which proposes to amend the Foreign Investments Act (FIA).
With 201 affirmative votes, six negative votes and seven abstentions, House Bill No. 300, which proposes to amend Republic Act No. 7042, or the Foreign Investments Act (FIA) of 1991, was passed by the chamber on third and final reading.
The amendments ease the restrictions on foreigners practicing their professions in the Philippines.
“This ends the confusion in the Foreign Investment Negative List of ‘professions’… There are 45 laws for professions, each of which contains a reciprocity provision allowing qualified foreign professionals to practice in the Philippines so long as their home country allows Filipinos to do the same,” JFC said in a statement.
Another amendment to the FIA that the bill proposes is reducing to 15 from 50 the minimum number of direct local hires required of foreign investors setting up small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with minimum paid-in capital of $100,000.
“The passage of this FIA amendments bill will attract new investment and give smaller foreign investors a better opportunity to start a business in the Philippines, especially in creative industries and innovative enterprises. At the same time, it is not expected to compete with micro-small enterprises,” JFC said.
The bill was on the group’s wish list of measures, along with some Filipino business groups, which they submitted to the Office of the President and both chambers of Congress last month. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras