MANILA - The bill cutting corporate income taxes should be passed before the year ends to help the country attract firms affected by the US-China trade war, a group of Filipino-Chinese businessmen said Tuesday.
Passing the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA) will remove policy uncertainties facing both local and foreign investors, the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FFCCCII) said
The measure seeks to lower the corporate income tax rate to 20 percent from 30 percent, and rationalize tax perks.
Passing CITIRA will allow the country to "grab a big chunk of these multinational companies that are now leaving China because of the imposition of big tariffs" by the United States on China-made products, FFCCCII vice president Jeffrey Ng said.
"We believe that once CITIRA is passed then next year and the years to come we can see more of these offshore investments moving out of China into the Philippines," Ng said.
Investments expected from the passage of the law and the lowering of interest rates are enough to offset expected losses from CITIRA, he said.
An official of the Department of Trade and Industry told a Senate hearing last week that up to 900,000 jobs could be lost if firms in special economic zones exit or limit their operations in the country because of CITIRA.
But Henry Lim Bon Liong, President of FFCCCII, said the Philippines could make up for the job losses through its infrastructure program.
Ng also encouraged the quick passage of higher taxes on alcoholic beverages, which is also being deliberated by Congress.
Michael Tan, CEO of LT Group, which has interests in tobacco and alcohol, said a proposed increase in excise taxes on spirits should be done in "a reasonable and predictable manner."