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He said the list of priority socio-economic reform measures was drawn up with the help of various local and foreign business groups as well as civil organizations.
Belmonte is the principal author of Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 (RBH1), which seeks to boost the inflow of investments by removing restrictions to foreign ownership of certain economic sectors. The House is expected to approve the measure next month.
“While I understand that such amendments do not constitute the only solution in attracting more investments, I believe that it is high time that we worked to attune and adjust our economic policies more strategically to the needs and demands of our time,” the House leader told members of the Philippine Bar Association on Thursday.
He said the House is also working on the passage of the proposed amendments to the Foreign Investment Act, particularly those on the Foreign Investment Negative List, to include lowering paid-in capital requirements for foreign firms.
Other amendments are redefining “export enterprises” to remove discrimination against foreign investors for incentives; allowing foreign investment of up to 100 percent of equity for manufacturing and radio communication; rationalizing the entry of foreign companies in the construction, operation and maintenance of large public works projects; and easing of restrictions on the practice of professions.
The House is also seeking amendments to the Retail Trade Act, which proposes to further reduce the minimum capitalization for foreign investment in the retail trade sector to $500,000 to make it consistent with the Foreign Investment Act.
On the final stages of approval is the Anti-Trust Bill or the proposed Philippine Competition Act, which seeks to dismantle monopolies and prevent unfair competition.
“We need a well-crafted law that focuses on economic efficiency rather than on size and market structure alone, and which address improper business conduct and excessive and harmful market power that result in the reduction of output or increase in price,” Belmonte said.
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