November 25, 2021

Korean businessmen and tourists are expected to return to the Philippines under the new normal.

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

“However, now that we have the vaccine, business will resume as usual, and the economy will soon recover, and it will be time to prepare for the pandemic.” In a virtual investment forum, Lee said, “We need to prepare, (the) Philippines need to prepare for the new normal economy.”

Since the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak, about 22,000 to 24,000 South Korean work visa holders remain in the Philippines, according to Lee.

He added, “Many Korean businesses and tourists will return to the Philippines.”

However, the KCCP executive urged the government to pass legislation that would ease restrictions on foreign ownership in order to attract more Korean investors to the country.

The Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Foreign Investments Act, and the Public Service Act are among these bills.

“When I ask Korean investors about the Philippines’ image, the majority of them tell me that the Philippines is a country of 60-40. “It’s a 60-40 split,” Lee said.

Lee was referring to the country’s 60-40 rule, which states that foreigners are only allowed to own up to 40% of businesses.

“However, consider other countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand, where there are no restrictions,” he added.

Foreign companies, on the other hand, are permitted to own 100% of a company if they invest in economic zones such as the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

According to PEZA Director General Charito Plaza, locating in ecozones also ensures investors access to low-cost, high-quality power, which is critical in business operations.

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