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House primed foi final OK ofretail trade bitl

ThelTrh Congress, now ona Feb.g- and yet, the we dre lagging behind retall operation anywhere in the world or at
By Charmaine A. Iadalan l"lay 19 break, willhave only May 20- tmde investments in ASEAN consistently least one store caprtaltzed at a mtntmum ]

Repofter June 7 left to work on proposed laws. inthe ldt18 years," Mr Yap explained. of $25 million.
"Clearly, the laws intention 0fjnviF The billwillalso redure the propor-
OPENIl{G UP ing retailtnde investor! creating jobs tion of locallv manufactured products
THE BILL seekins to reduce the required House BillNo.9057, which hasso far and making goods more prire and qual- required to be carried byforeign retail-
minimum paid-up capital f0r foreign secured second{eading approval, ity competitive has not been realized." ersto l0% of the assresate cost 0f their
entrantsto the country's retailsector is willamend Republic Act No,8762, or The measure willalso remove the stock inventory from the 30% currently.
likely to securethird and finaFredding the RetailTrade Libenlization Act, by $250,000 paid-up capitalper store for
approval at House of Representatives settinq the minimum paid up capital enterprises engaged in high-end or SENATE PROSPECTS
when legislative sessions resume after to $200,000 and scrap the minimum luxury products. The bill's fate in the Senate remains un-
the l,lay 13 mid-term elections, a senior investment requirement 0f $830,000 It will also eliminate requirements certain, however
lawmaker said on !1onday. perstore, Currently, the law provides a such as minimum networth of $200 Senator Aquilino L. Pimentel lll,
"The substitute billwas approved on $2,5 million capital requirement for en- million forenterprises with paid up chairman of theSenate Committee on
second reading on Feb.8 without inter- hdnts that are wholly owned by foreign capital of $2.5-7 5 million and $50 mil- Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship,
pellation 0r 0bjection from anysolon. entities. lion for enterprises engaged in high-end merely committed to contlnue delibera-
Hence,lam pretty confident that this brl "We muststrike down restrictive or luxury iroducts. tion ofthe chambefs counterpart mea-
willpass on third reading when session laws which impede foreign investments. The present law also requires a sure, Senate BillNo.1639, t0 consider
resumes," Deputy Speaker Arthur C. Yab The Philippines allowed foreigners to five-year tcck record in retailing and concerns of local businesses.
of Bohols3d districtsaid via text engag€ in retailtnde in the year 2000 five retailing branches orfranchises in ReIail trade, 51,/3

Retail trade,
from Sl/ I

"There's opposition from our small sought for comment, Bdtish cham- weeks, then you get a new Congress.
businesses," Mr. Pimentelsaid in a mo- ber of the Commerce Phillppines chair- obviously, it's hard to predict the timing,
bile phone message on Monday when man Chris Nelson said in atelephone but ifthe RetailTrade Liberalization Act
ask€d for updates on the measure. interview: "We support the RetailTnde was not ableto go through thlstime,
. ''l will hear it again. cause I heard the Liberalization Act. which isauthored by thenwe would still be supportinq ii in

bill in passing onli before ArthurYap." the next Congress."

Majority Leader senator Juan l"liguel "Wethink thiswillasist in the de- American chamber ofCommerce of
F. Zubiri,for his part, noted in a.separate velopment 0fthe hade andr obviously, the Philippines senior Adviser lohn D.
text message:"We only have nine ses- in terms of competition. Like the other Forb€s, meanwhile, isstill "hopetul"the
sion days left when we get back." chambert we support it," Mr Nelson bill',illhurdle the uth congress.
"lt's going to be tough as the said. "W€ are still hopeful that, despit€
schedule istight. Th€ debates have not "Now we are cognizant ofthefact the crowded sc,hedule ofthe Senate, it
started and that could take a week at that it's now election timeandwhen will be able to complete thiiin the lTth
thevery least." they come back, there's probably thred Congress," Mr. Forbessaid by phone.

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