Philippines – Economic reforms aim to attract foreign professionals

The Philippines is easing restrictions on foreign companies in the hope of attracting foreign investment.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Philippines fell by 4.5% to US$9.8b in 2018. Regulations and constitutional restrictions, including a limit of 40% foreign ownership in an investment, discourage would-be foreign investors. Additional inhibitors include high power costs and poor infrastructure.

The benefits of growing FDI inflows has been widely experienced across China and South East Asia. Attracting foreign businesses and professionals can create technology, knowledge and innovation spillovers, and jobs in the host country.

The Philippines government is looking to implement economic reforms to encourage FDI and foreign professionals, to work in the Philippines. The reform will target small and mid-sized enterprises, by reducing the minimum number of direct local hires a foreign investor must make from 50 to 15. Intentions to deregulate and improve the foreign investor experience, alongside the Philippines’ low costs, investment in infrastructure and expansive resources may also improve the investment climate.

Australian interest in working and investing in the Philippines may grow with the implementation of these reforms. There are currently 200 Australian firms operating in the country, employing approximately 30,000 Filipinos. The new reforms may spur interest among smaller Australian companies, particularly in the rapidly growing mining and business process outsourcing (BPO) industries.

Philippines – Economic reforms aim to attract foreign professionals