THE European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP) expects to see a liberalization of the services sector from the incoming administration, saying this would help sectors in the country stay globally competitive.

“The important issue our chamber hopes to see is the liberalization of services sector to make sure they stay competitive and improve in equality,” said ECCP president Guenter Taus, in an interview yesterday.

Removing restrictive economic provisions in the constitution is essential for sectors to flourish such as in agriculture, tourism, education and infrastructure, he noted.

“Liberalization is important for the country to continue its growth. The moment these (restrictive provisions) are loosened or lifted, you will definitely see influx of businesses here,” said Taus, emphasizing that the issue on easing of ownership rules is already long overdue and that the country must make adjustments should it want to remain relevant and competitive in the global front.

The Joint Foreign Chamber of the Philippines, which ECCP is a member, have been vocal about easing the country’s foreign ownership rule saying that doing such would further boost the foreign direct investments (FDIs) of the country. Similarly, the 34-member countries of the Overseas Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have also called for the Philippines to remove statutory economic restrictions of the Constitution.

“There is nothing wrong with liberalization...especially now with ASEAN integration, you have to open up because integration means freely trading in these countries,” Taus said.

Asked if there are new European investments entering the country this year, Taus said investor interests to put up businesses in the Philippines have remained high since the past six years due to the stable political system.

“Over the last six years, we have gotten to the point wherein political stability has been constant, so you see a lot of investor confidence as we see in the number of foreign direct investments...we are moving in the right direction,” said Taus.

He pointed out that it is essential for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to continue such development, as this is vital in the growth of the economy. Taus said that as long as the incoming government continues such trends, the country’s strong investment confidence level should remain high.

Taus, though, declined to disclose specific European companies that have reached out to the chamber, but he said that interest is high in the field of information communications technology, outsourcing, and retail.