MANILA -- The Duterte administration expects to release before the year ends an executive order (EO) to enforce its Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL), as it pursues aggressive liberalization policies designed to attract more foreign players into the economy.

“It has to go the NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) Board first. Before the end of the year, (the EO will be released),” NEDA Director General Ernesto Pernia told reporters Thursday on the sidelines of the Arangkada Philippines Forum 2017.

Pernia was pushing for more aggressive liberalization or “highest possible” approvable foreign equity in retail trade, professions, public utilities and contractors.

He noted a 100-percent foreign equity could be allowed for certain areas, particularly in teaching profession.  

“The reason why our universities are not highly rated (is) because we don’t allow foreign professors to work, to teach and be paid, get an item which is already standard in other countries,” he added.

The country’s FINL lays out investment areas that are closed to foreign investments, and areas where foreign ownership is limited to a maximum of 40 percent of equity capital.

The NEDA chief earlier said the 60-40 percent equity ruling was “still very restrictive.”

“The (foreign investment) negative list is still a long list and I want to really shorten it drastically,” he noted.

Pernia added that removing the restrictions on FINL aimed to bring the country at par with other countries in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“It is being revised now so the final form will be more close to the ASEAN,” he added. “We all want to grow the economy faster, (as well as) exports, investments.” (PNA)