5 EU Telecom Companies Wanting PH – Lopez – Manila Bulletin

Five European telecom companies are expected to invest in the Philippines once Malacanang finally signs the amended Public Services Act (PSA), according to Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.

Secretary of Commerce and Industry Ramon M. Lopez

In a radio interview, Lopez revealed that “easily” four to five foreign telecommunications companies in the tech sector are just waiting for President Duterte to sign the amended law after it is ratified by the Senate. He expects the PSA to become law within 30 days.

The amended LSP opens public services to majority foreign ownership, including telecommunications.

“More players, more competitive,” the trade chief said, noting complaints about poor internet service and high cost.

Already, the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI – AHK Philippinen) expects a large amount of foreign business opportunities as soon as the PSA amendments are enacted.

“In addition to introducing international public service standards locally, we would also like to showcase sustainable business practices in liberalized sectors,” said Christopher Zimmer, Executive Director of GPCCI. “We certainly welcome the positive developments as we look forward to much-needed reforms being put in place to enable foreign investors to participate in critical and fundamental areas of local public services.”

“Companies, not only in Germany, but also across Europe, already see immense opportunities once this reform is enacted,” said GPCCI Chairman Stefan Schmitz. “Furthermore, the effective utilization of the benefits of this major economic reform will provide certainty for investors and also encourage job creation which would not only help spur the recovery of the Philippine economy, but also exceed the growth rates of the pre-pandemic country.”

The amendments to the LSP seek to relax or remove restrictions on foreign investment in Philippine public services by amending or repealing provisions that limit foreign participation in certain economic activities. The bill also seeks to distinguish between the definitions of “public services” and “public services”.

In addition, the proposed law implies that any industry not classified as public services – such as air carriers, inland navigation, highways, railways, metros and telecommunications – will be liberalized and/or 100% open to foreign ownership.

GPCCI belongs to the international network of German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHK) which is represented by 140 offices in 92 countries. GPCCI is the official representation of German companies in the Philippines; a bilateral organization with about 300 members; and a business service provider in their market entry and expansion.

With the amended Retail Trade Liberalization Act and the Foreign Investment Act, Lopez expects more foreign companies to invest in the country.

Lopez noted that the Philippines is now number four out of number two in Southeast Asia in terms of FDI inflows. FDI inflows into the country now hover around $9 billion under the Duterte administration, compared to just $3 billion previously.

During a recent courtesy visit, British Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy Richard Graham also briefed Lopez on British interest in further developing the two countries’ partnerships in infrastructure, renewable energy, creative industry and digitization.

British companies have also indicated their interest in logistics and telecommunications in the country.

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