Universal venture woes highlight Filipino foreign investment shortcomings

    Published in: Latest IntelligenceThe Philippines has made progress in making the country a friendlier place for foreign investment, but the recent controversy surrounding Universal Entertainment’s Manila resort project have highlighted that challenges remain. Under the 1991 Foreign Investment Act (FIA), foreign entities are permitted to hold 100 percent of the equity in a local business, except in those sectors reserved for Filipinos by mandate of the Philippine Constitution and existing laws. There are two negative lists that set out the restricted areas. Up until 2010, the list did include the gambling industry, with foreign investors restricted to a 40 percent equity participation. An exception was given to those who have investment agreements with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, such as the licenses handed out in the Entertainment City complex, or those situated within special economic zones under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), such as gaming firm PhilWeb’s gaming terminal...

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