Executive Order (EO) 184 which provides for the 10th Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL) was approved by President Aquino on May 29, 2015. The said 10th FINL, which was published yesterday, provides for the restrictions or limitations on the economic activities a foreigner or foreign company can engage in the Philippines.
The said EO 184 replaces the EO 98 which provided for the 9th Foreign Investment Negative List. Under the 10th FINL foreign ownership restrictions on lending firms, investment houses and financing companies were removed.
Prior to this amendment and under the 9th FINL, foreigners and foreign companies can only invest up to 49% in lending companies and only up to 60% on investment houses and financing companies regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In addition to the removal of foreign ownership cap on these industries, the 1oth FINL also decreased the number of professions that are reserved only to Filipino nationals. With the 10th FINL only pharmacy; radiologic and X-ray technology; criminology; forestry; and law are the professions reserved for Filipinos.
Under the 9th FINL a broader list of professions were reserved for Filipino nationals – engineering; medicine and allied professions; accountancy; architecture; criminology; chemistry; customs brokerage; environmental planning; forestry; geology; interior design; landscape architecture; law, librarianship; marine deck officers; marine engine officers; master plumbing; sugar technology; social work; teaching; agriculture; fisheries; guidance counseling; real estate service; respiratory therapy; and psychology.
The 10th FINL was released to reflect changes pursuant to existing laws that have favored the liberalization of the Philippine economy. This is a welcome development to business groups who have called for the revision of the 9th FINL so as to attract more foreign investment and make the country more competitive and attractive.
Photo credit: Tourism.gov.ph