The amended Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA) is expected to haul in P56 billion in additional foreign investments into the country in five years and generate thousands of jobs, Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said.
“We project that five years from its enactment, the amended RTLA will usher in additional foreign investments worth P56 billion,” said Pascual in a speech at the at the Philippine Retailers Q2 2022 General Membership Meeting on Thursday, July 7.
Pascual noted that RTLA has simplified the requirements of foreign entry, allowing the industry to be more competitive, facilitate more foreign equity into the retail trade industry, and generate greater economic and employment benefits.
“Liberalizing retail trade does not only encourage more investors to the country, but it also helps create a more competitive environment,” he said urging local retailers to take advantage of the RTLA amendments and the incoming investments to further their growth. Local investors, he said, can also partner with foreign companies under the law.
He expressed confidence the big local retailers are able to compete with foreign entities even as he allayed fears of the small retailers stating “Don’t worry, there is a threshold for foreign entities’ paid-up capital when they enter the Philippines.”
Small businesses have also the opportunity to become suppliers to large companies entering the market, he said.
In addition, Pascual said the country’s domestic retail industry has contributed more than P600 billion in gross value added to the local economy in the first quarter this year from P500 billion in 2018 with retailers accounting for more than half of business registration at the DTI. Pascual told businessmen the industry is expected to rebound for the rest of the year.
“We see positive indications—from a recovery since the second quarter of 2021 has been 8.4 percent, the gross value added of retail from more than P500 billion in early 2018 to more than P600 billion in the first quarter of this year,” said Pascual.
Optimism for recovery is further supported by the robust business name registration at the DT for retail trade of various commodities.
According to Pascual, more than 50 percent of total business name registrations were retail operations with 305,058 out of 574,322 new and renewal registrations as of July 5th. Other business name registrations involved vehicle and vehicle parts.
To further grow this industry, Pascual cited the industry’s capacity to innovate and put digital transformation at the fore.
The e-Conomy Southeast Asia 2021 Report cited the Philippines as the fastest-growing digital economy in the region. Strong indications from both the supply and demand side of the internet economy are expected to sustain this. This year, the report said, the Philippines leads the way with online sales increasing by more than 25 percent.
The DTI, he said, will be of assistance to retailers. The recently launched e-Commerce Roadmap 2022 outlines actions that seek to expand e-commerce by enhancing speed and security, and building enabling structures.
As part of the roadmap, Pascual said, the DTI also seeks to establish an e-Commerce Bureau, a “go-to” agency for matters to and for stakeholders of e-commerce.
“Digitizing merchant payments is of utmost importance and that will be an important instrument for facilitating transactions between consumers and retailers. I urge PRA to recalibrate and accelerate digital transformation, especially of micro, small, and medium enterprises, by the promotion of digital payments, as well as digitalization of processes of retailers,” he added.