Consumer advocacy group supports retail liberalization
March 19, 2018
Laban Konsyumer Inc. has expressed support to a bill opening further the retail trade industry but said foreign retailers must invest in intermediate products, study the market well and follow Philippine rules.
In a letter dated March 19, 2018 to Rep. Ferjenel Biron, chairman of the House Committee on Trade and Industry, LKI president Vic Dimagiba said House Bill 4595 will not prejudice any wholly-owned Filipino retailers.
Dimagiba even cited the Forbes richest families listing and said ?there are 12 Filipino families that own at least one fifth of the country?s wealth (and) most of these Filipinos(?)? core businesses are in the retail industry.?
Dimagiba at the same time noted the need for foreign retailers to know the Philippine market well.
?Filipinos who patronize and buy these foreign brands abroad are likely to compete well and good with the Filipino retailers when they invest in the country,? Dimagiba said in the letter.
On his suggestion that foreign retailers should be encouraged to invest in good and quality intermediate products, Dimagiba cited flour used by the bakery industry as an example.
?This shall allow consumers additional access to reasonable and lower priced bread products,? Dimagiba said.
Dimagiba said certain schemes such as electronic commerce and franchising serve to circumvent the present law on retail trade which pegs capital requirements for foreign-owned retail companies
?The growing penetration of the retail market by E- commerce retailers and merchants serve to circumvent the present law. Access to goods and services are borderless. Franchising of foreign brands is another example of the circumvention of the current retail trade law,? he said.
Lastly, Dimagina said opening up further of retail trade should make foreign players recognize that Filipino consumers enjoy rights and protection under provisions of relevant consumer protection laws.
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