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Gov't allows 100% foreign ownership in 5 investment areas

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Gov't allows 100% foreign ownership in 5 investment areas


MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte green-lighted a new list of investment areas where foreign ownership is limited or banned.

The 11th Regular Foreign Investment Negative List is only slightly shorter than the previous list approved by president Benigno Aquino III in 2015.

It now allows up to 100% foreign ownership of 5 investment areas and activities, including internet businesses.

This new list is promulgated by Duterte's Executive Order (EO) No. 65, signed on Monday, October 29, but made available to media on Wednesday, October 31.

The 5 investment areas and activities that can now be 100% owned by foreigners are the following, according to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA):

  • Internet businesses
  • Teaching at higher education levels provided the subject being taught is not a professional subject
  • Training centers that are engaged in short-term high level skills development that do not form part of the formal education system
  • Adjustment companies, lending companies, financing companies, and investment houses
  • Wellness centers

Other major changes include allowing foreigners to own up to 40% of contracts for the construction and repair of locally-funded public works, except for infrastructure or development projects covered in Republic Act No. 7718, and projects which are foreign-funded or assisted and required to undergo international competitive bidding.

This, however, is subject to applicable regulatory frameworks, reads the EO.

Previously, foreigners could only have up to 25% equity in such contracts.

Foreigners can also now own up to 40% of private radio communications networks, compared to only up to 20% in the 2015 list.

The easing of such foreign ownership restrictions comes as the Duterte administration pursues an infrastructure push it is eager to implement with the help of foreign governments and firms, especially from China.

The Philippines is supportive of China's One Belt, One Road initiative.

Meanwhile, the following investment areas or activities, where up to 40% foreign equity is allowed, were taken out of the list:

  • Facility operator of an infrastructure or a development facility requiring a public utility franchise
  • Operation of deep sea commercial fishing
  • Adjustment companies


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