Philippines approves full foreign ownership in telco

Philippines approves full foreign ownership in telecommunications

The Philippine government has opened up its telecommunications and railway for full foreign ownership, ending its restrictions on overseas investments.

The country’s congress approved a bill that amends an 85-year-old law that limits foreign ownership of public services to 40%, the law is now in the hands of President Rodrigo Duterte to sign into law.

All public industries will be liberalised except electricity distribution, petroleum pipeline transmission, water distribution, seaports and public utility vehicles. Early versions of the bill had already seen agreement among senators that telecommunications, shipping and railway should be open to full foreign ownership, reported Bloomberg,

However, foreign stat-owned enterprises remain barred from owning shares in public utility or critical infrastructure in the South East Asian country.

"The Philippines must act quickly in terms of carrying out economic reforms that further trade and investment activities,” said European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines President Lars Wittig, before the bill was passed through congress.

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