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Korean businessmen, tourists plan to return to the Philippines amid new normal


Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines (KCCP) president Hoik Lee on Tuesday confirmed that businessmen and tourists from South Korea are expected to return to the Philippines under the new normal.

“But now that we have the vaccine, business will go back to normal and (the) economy will be recovering very soon, and it is time to prepare after the pandemic. We need to prepare, (the) Philippines need to prepare for the new normal economy,” Lee said in a virtual investment forum.

Lee said with around 88,000 work visa holders from South Korea, about 22,000 to 24,000 are left here in the Philippines since the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.

“Many Korean businesses and tourists will be back to the Philippines again,” he added.

But to attract more Korean investors in the country, the KCCP executive urged the government to pass legislations that could ease restrictions on foreign ownership.

These bills include Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Foreign Investments Act, and the Public Service Act.

“When I talk to Korean investors about the image of the Philippines, most of them told me that the image of the country is the country of 60-40. Everything is 60-40,” Lee said.

Lee was pertaining to the 60-40 rule on ownership in the country, wherein foreigners are only allowed to own up to 40 percent of business here.

“But think about other countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, (and) Thailand, there’s no limitation about this,” he added.

On the other hand, foreign companies are allowed to hold 100 percent ownership as long as they invest in economic zones like the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

PEZA director general Charito Plaza said locating in ecozones also assures investors access to low-cost and high-quality power supply, which is critical in businesses’ day-to-day operations.


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