On 10 December 2021, the Philippine President signed into law Republic Act ("RA") 11595 amending the Retail Trade Liberalization Act of 2000 ("RTLA").
With the aim to further liberalize the Philippine economy and open the country to more foreign direct investments and job creation, among the salient provisions of the law are as follows:
i. removal of the requirement for a Certificate of Prequalification and the need to show compliance with the criteria for prequalification under the RTLA to the Philippine Board of Investments before a foreign retailer can invest in or engage in a retail trade business in the Philippines;
ii. removal of categories for prequalification and setting of a single minimum paid-up capital requirement of PHP 25 million for all foreign-owned retail trade enterprises;
iii. lowering of the minimum investment requirement per store to PHP 10 million;
iv. removal of the requirement to publicly offer shares of stock;
v. preferential engagement of Filipino labor;
vi. promotion of locally manufactured products;
vii. change of Implementing Agency for the monitoring and regulation of foreign retailers with respect to corporations, partnerships, and associations - now the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); and
viii. reduction of penalties for violation of the Act.
RA 11595 took effect last 21 January 2022, fifteen (15) days after its publication on the Official Gazette on 06 January 2022.