House OKs Bill Promoting Entry Of Foreign Direct Investments

The House of Representatives approved on third reading a priority measure amending Republic Act 7042, or the Foreign Investments Act (FIA) of 1991, to exclude the “practice of professions” on the Foreign Investment Negative List.

With 201 affirmative votes, 6 negative votes, and 7 abstentions, the lower chamber approved House Bill 300, which seeks to further promote the entry of foreign direct investments by excluding the “practice of professions” from the coverage of the FIA.

Tarlac Rep. Victor Yap, one of the authors of the measure, said there are two provisions in the present law deemed to be inconsistent with the objectives of the FIA, particularly the inclusion of “practice of professions” on the Foreign Investment Negative List, and the high number of direct local hires required.

“By allowing foreign professionals to practice in the Philippines, they would be able to bring in technology and know-how from abroad, and help create jobs for locals by attractive businesses that require highly skilled professionals in the country,” Yap said.

Yap said this measure also reduces the number of direct local hires.

Yap, explained that while FIA allows foreign investors to establish small and medium-sized enterprises with a minimum paid-in capital of USD100,000, they are required to employ at least 50 direct local hires.

“However, operationally speaking, a small and medium-sized enterprise cannot immediately sustain a labor force of 50 employees. Thus, there is a need to lower the threshold of employment requirement to 15 direct local hires,” he said. (PNA)

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