Palace lifts restrictions on foreign investment in 8 areas


Malacañang on Tuesday ordered the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board and its agencies to ease or lift restrictions on foreign participation in eight investment areas.

The directive contained in Memorandum Circular No. 16 covers the following investment areas:

  • private recruitment for local and overseas employment;
  • practice of particular professions;
  • contracts for the construction and repair of locally-funded public works;
  • teaching at higher education levels;
  • retail trade enterprises;
  • domestic market enterprises;
  • public services, except activities and systems recognized as public utilities such as transmission and distribution of electricity, water, pipeline distribution system, and sewerage pipeline system; and
  • culture, production, milling, processing, and trading of rice and corn and acquiring by barter, purchase or otherwise, rice, corn, and other by-products.

The memo also ordered members of the NEDA Board to support legislative efforts that may be necessary to eliminate the said restrictions, including a pending legislation seeking to clarify the definition of public utilities.

The NEDA Board is likewise directed to immediately advise the President regarding restrictions on foreign participation, which may already be lifted or eased without the need of legislation.

MC 16 aims to promote the country’s competitiveness and foster higher economic growth in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region and beyond through joint endeavors and partnerships with other countries.

It amends the Tenth Regular Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL) under Executive Order (EO) No. 184 issued in 2015, in accordance with the objectives of the order.

The FINL was formulated by virtue of Republic Act (RA) No. 7042, also known as the “Foreign Investments Act of 1991,” which provides for the formulation of a Regular FINL covering investment areas/activities open to foreign investors and/or reserved to Filipino nationals. The list also indicates the extent of foreign equity participation in specific investment activities. rw: wjg