BCCP says easing of retail trade policies will lure more UK brands

By Kris Crismundo

April 25, 2018, 6:03 pm

MANILA -- Further liberalizing of the retail sector will attract more brands from United Kingdom to come to the Philippines, British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) Chairman Chris Nelson said Wednesday.

Nelson told reporters in a briefing that certain British brands have set their sights on the Philippine market, and appropriate amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act can serve to signify a greater openess to receive them.

He said the BCCP was able to put forward its support for retail trade liberalization to the Congress. "We did give aposition on retail liberalization, which of course we support," Nelson said.

As it stands, both the lower and upper houses have filed their respective bills to amend the Republic Act No. 8762. The House Bill 4595 was introduced by Representative Arthur Yap in the House of Representatives, while the Senate Bill 1639 was pushed by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian in the Senate.

Both bills aim to scrap the equity and capitalization requirements in the Retail Trade Liberalization Act in order to attract more foreign investments in the retail sector.

“The Philippines’ competition [in retail sector] is obviously healthy. If you look around, more and more British brands would like to come in. I’ve seen a lot of growth in the retail sector,” Nelson added.

During the House Committee on Trade and Industry hearing last month, Nelson noted that the easing of the policy on retail trade would be in line with 10-point socioeconomic agenda of the Duterte administration, as it will ease doing business here and will increase the competitiveness of the country.

“It would facilitate access through direct investment and franchise agreements. Increase in direct investment will enhance competition, enabling Philippine goods and services to become more competitive globally,” the BCCP chief said.

He added that as more foreign brands would bring their business operations in the Philippines, this will have a spillover effect on the economy and create more jobs.

Meanwhile, Nelson will be promoting the Philippines as an investment destination for UK companies during the Britain in Southeast Asia (BiSEA) Roadshow from April 30 to May 11.

He will join leaders from other British Chambers in ASEAN member states such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

The BiSEA delegation will travel to Manchester, Durham, Sheffield, Birmingham, Gloucester, London, Southampton, Slough, and Ashford where they will be meeting executives from 100 British firms.

These companies belong to the sectors of consultancy, education, food and beverage, energy, electronics, healthcare among others. (PNA)