Trade organizations rally behind economic-reform proposals

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The different industry or business associations, whether foreign or local, recently urged Malacañang to prioritize particular legislative measures, especially the lifting of the constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership and amendments to the bank-secrecy law.

The petition is sought for inclusion as priority item for discussion at the next meeting of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac).

In a letter to Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea signed by the 15 organizations belonging to the Philippine Business Groups-Joint Foreign Chambers (PBG-JFC), the endorsement for the approval of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Package (CTRP) and other reform measures are consistent with the 10-point socioeconomic agenda of the government under President Duterte.

The PBG-JFC member-organizations also called for the swift approval of the following proposed legislation: reforms in the Apprenticeship Program implemented by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority; amendments to the build-operate-transfer law, the Freedom of Information bill; amendments to the Corporation Code; reforms in the telecommunications sector; the Water Sector Reform Act; amendments to the Public Service Act; emergency powers to address the traffic and transportation crisis; and amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act.

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“All constitute reforms that will improve the business and economic climate of the Philippines and result in more investments, jobs and inclusive growth,” the letter, copy-furnished Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, said.

The 15 representatives of the business chambers and associations who signed the letter included Ernesto Ordonez, chairman  of the Alyansa Agrikultura; Bruce Winton, president of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc.; Tom Grealy, president of the Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc.; Nestor Tan, president of the Bankers Association of the Philippines; Julian Payne, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. ; Guenter Taus, president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc.;

Benedicta Du Baladad, president of the Financial Executives of the Philippines; Calixto Chikiamco, president of the Foundation for Economic Freedom; Ike Amigo, president and CEO of the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines; Yoshio Amano, president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc.; Ho-Ik Lee, president of the Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc.; Edgar Chua, chairman of the Makati Business Club; Marife Zamora, president of the Management Association of the Philippines; Dan Mollov, president of the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarter Inc.; and Danilo Lachica, president of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc.

The easing of particular provisions of the bank-secrecy law for tax-fraud cases is one of the complementary measures to the CTRP supported by the Department of Finance (DOF).

The DOF also endorsed House Bill (HB) 4774, which covers the first package of the tax reform plan.