By Louella Desiderio, September 6 2018; Philstar.com


Image Credit to CNN Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — The British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) wants the government to consider views and concerns raised by various groups on the proposed second package for tax reform and see how the changes could affect the aim of attracting more foreign direct investments (FDIs) to the country.

BCCP executive chairman Chris Nelson said in a briefing yesterday that while the group does not have many members which operate in export processing zones, it understands the points being raised by other foreign business chambers on the second package of the government’s tax reform program.

“We would like to see a balanced approach and consideration of some of those key points. And linked to that, what we really want to see is an increase in FDIs,” he said.

The House of Representatives earlier this week approved on second reading the second package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), which has been renamed the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High Quality Opportunities (TRABAHO).

Under the TRABAHO bill, corporate income tax would be reduced to 25 percent from 30 percent, and fiscal incentives would be rationalized, including tax exemption enjoyed by firms in export processing zones.

Meanwhile, TRAIN 1, which took effect earlier this year, reduced personal income tax rates and imposed higher taxes on petroleum, automobiles and sweetened beverages to offset foregone revenues.

Among the foreign business groups which have earlier expressed concerns on the second package of the government’s tax reform program is the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) as it said the proposed measure creates uncertainty for existing and new investors.

AmCham earlier said in its position paper it would prefer the status quo for fiscal incentives to be retained as without incentives, most of the investors would not have invested in the Philippines.

Nelson said the BCCP would want to encourage more FDIs in the country and keep the companies which provide jobs here.

In line with attracting more investments to the country, he said the group is supporting the upcoming Philippine economic briefing of the Philippine Embassy in the United Kingdom on Sept. 25.

The Philippine economic briefing will have as speakers Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr., Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Bases Conversion and Development Authority president and chief executive officer Vivencio Dizon.

In support of the Philippine economic briefing, BCCP would also be conducting an event which would allow British small and medium enterprises to have a dialogue with Lopez and learn about market entry and the business landscape in the Philippines.

As British firms interested in coming to the Philippines always ask about how to set up and do business in the country, Nelson said the passage of the Ease of Doing Business Act of 2018 which seeks to address bureaucratic red tape in government by setting required processing time for transactions, is expected to be beneficial.