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Philippines eases Asia's toughest FDI rules with new retail entry law

Backers say move boosts competition while critics call it 'industry killer'

A shopping mall in Manila. Philippines' retail sector is dominated by local players, such as family-owned conglomerates SM Investments and Gokongwei Group's Robinsons Retail Holdings. (Photo by Kimberly Dela Cruz)

MANILA -- The Philippines is set to start relaxing some of Asia's toughest foreign investment restrictions, beginning with easing of entry rules for foreign retailers.

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that makes it easier for foreign retailers to set up shop in the country. The law, which will take effect 15 days after publication on Jan. 6, has been hailed by its supporters as a competitiveness booster, but local players see it as an industry killer.

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