ACCRALAW Seminar on Promoting Foreign Investments in the Philippines

Patricia-Ann T. Prodigalidad

ACCRALAW held a seminar on Promoting Foreign Investments in the Philippines on 17 August 2022 at Shangri-la at the Fort. Among the recent laws discussed were the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RA 11595), Foreign Investments Act (RA 11647), and the Public Service Act (RA 11659). The Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or CREATE (RA 115434) was also discussed.

ACCRALAW Senior Counsel and former Senate President Franklin M. Drilon formally opened the Seminar by discussing the legislative history of the subject new laws, two of which he principally authored and sponsored. Mr. Drilon noted that since the passage of these new laws, the Philippines has seen an immediate increase in foreign investments.

ACCRALAW Senior Legal Counsel and former President of the Philippine Stock Exchange Francisco Ed. Lim also gave an overview of the subject new laws. After comparing the investment climate in ASEAN countries, Mr. Lim pointed out that the Philippines has recently made great strides in legislating policies geared towards increasing the flow of foreign investments into the Philippine economy.

Chrysilla Carissa P. Bautista, Partner of the Corporate and Special Projects Department, identified the salient amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act. She also traced the history of the restrictions and eventual opening up on retail business.

Melissa Angela G. Velarde, Partner of the Corporate and Special Projects Department, discussed the amendments to the Foreign Investments Act. She highlighted the liberalization of the nationality and capital requirements for domestic market enterprises (including start-ups and those involving advanced technology), as well as the creation of the Inter Agency Promotion Coordination Committee (IIPCC).

Eric R. Recalde, Partner of the Tax Department, discussed the practical implications of the CREATE, particularly the corporate income tax regime it introduced, the factors to consider to secure corporate tax incentives, and the corporate income tax issues that linger despite the passage of CREATE.

Leland R. Villadolid, Jr., Co-Managing Partner and Senior Partner of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department, explained the changes to the Public Service Act. He explained the distinctions between the public utilities and public service, highlighting that telcos, airlines, expressways, airports and shipping may now be owned 100% by foreigners. He also pointed out the safeguards and security provisions in the law that seek to protect the interests of the country.

The briefers on these laws were followed by an open forum. ACCRALAW Partner Christopher Louie D. Ocampo hosted the seminar and facilitated the open forum.

The Firm’s Managing Partner Patricia-Ann T. Prodigalidad gave the concluding remarks. She highlighted that the Seminar is intended to show clients the Firm’s gratitude for their continued support.

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