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Trade Profile

In this page: Foreign Trade in Figures | Trade Compliance | Standards


Foreign Trade in Figures

In the last two decades, the economy of the Philippines, which was previously relatively closed, has opened up, partly due to its membership in ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Trade represents almost 65% of the country's GDP (WTO, 2017). Its main export partners are Japan (16.2% of total exports), the U.S. (14.6%), Hong Kong (13.7%) and China (11.1&). The main export commodities are electronic and electrical equipment (44.8% of total exports), nuclear reactors and boilers (14.8%), technical and medical apparatus (4.1%), copper (3.2%) and ships (2.7%). Its three main import partners are China, the EU and the U.S. The main import commodities are electronics and electrical equipment (21.9%), machinery and computers (13.6%), mineral fuels and oil (11.4%), vehicles (8.8%), iron and steel (3.9%).

Traditionally, the country's trade balance has been in deficit due to high imports of raw materials and intermediate goods. The trade deficit in 2016 doubled to USD 26.7 billion from USD 12.24 billion in the previous year, and in 2017 the country recorded its largest trade deficit to USD 29.8 billion. According to leading economists, the deficit is expected to rise continuously in the following years due to a slowing down of the rise of exports and to the need for imports of infrastructure-related goods as the government pushed ahead its ambitious Development Plan 2017-2022.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 65,35065,70567,71969,92086,290
Exports of Goods (million USD) 52,09956,69862,10058,64856,313
Imports of Services (million USD) 13,96216,05820,60723,59924,233
Exports of Services (million USD) 20,42523,32125,48328,15331,357
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 8.6-
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 30.828.028.928.428.0
Trade Balance (million USD) -18,926-17,662-17,330-23,309-35,549
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -12,747-10,647-12,754-17,854-28,505
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 64.960.261.562.764.9

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) - 2017; World Bank - 2017


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Japan 16.2%
United States 14.6%
Hong Kong 13.7%
China 11.1%
Singapore 6.1%
Thailand 4.2%
Germany 4.1%
South Korea 4.0%
Netherlands 3.9%
Malaysia 2.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 18.1%
Japan 11.6%
South Korea 8.6%
United States 8.0%
Thailand 7.0%
Indonesia 6.8%
Singapore 5.8%
Malaysia 3.9%
Hong Kong 2.8%
Vietnam 2.7%

Source: Comtrade, 2017


Main Products

63.2 bn USD of products exported in 2017
Electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 27.9%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 10.0%
Insulated incl. enamelled or anodised wire, cable incl. coaxial cable and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fibre cables, made-up of individually sheathed fibres, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors 3.5%
Diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor devices; photosensitive semiconductor devices, incl. photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made-up into panels (excl. photovotaic generators); light emitting diodes; mounted piezo-electric crystals; parts thereof 2.7%
Cruise ships, excursion boats, ferry-boats, cargo ships, barges and similar vessels for the transport of persons or goods 2.6%
Electrical transformers, static converters, e.g. rectifiers, and inductors; parts thereof 2.5%
Coconut copra, palm kernel or babassu oil and fractions thereof, whether or not refined, but not chemically modified 2.5%
Parts and accessories (other than covers, carrying cases and the like) suitable for use solely or principally with machines of heading 8469 to 8472, n.e.s. 2.0%
Copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought (excl. copper alloys of heading 7405) 2.0%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 1.9%
98.5 bn USD of products imported in 2017
Electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 12.5%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 5.6%
Parts and accessories (other than covers, carrying cases and the like) suitable for use solely or principally with machines of heading 8469 to 8472, n.e.s. 4.9%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 4.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 3.5%
Copper ores and concentrates 1.9%
Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels manufactured from coal 1.5%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 1.5%
Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 1.4%
Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras and other video camera recorders; digital cameras 1.3%

Source: Comtrade, 2017


Main Services

48.7 bn USD of services exported in 2014
Other business services
Computer and information services
Cultural and recreational services
Insurance services
Financial services
Construction services
Government services
Royalties and license fees
38.5 bn USD of services imported in 2014
Other business services
Insurance services
Royalties and license fees
Government services
Computer and information services
Financial services
Construction services
Cultural and recreational services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data


Exchange Rate System

Local Currency
Philippine Peso (PHP)
Exchange Rate Regime
There is no currency exchange control in the Philippines. Foreign investments must be registered with the CB (Central Bank) in order to repatriate capital and dividends.
Level of Currency Instability
There are no particular regulations concerning currency exchange.
Monetary Indicators 20132014201520162017
Philippine Peso (PHP) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 42.4544.4045.5047.4950.40

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Trade Compliance

Main International Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Council (APEC), Asia Free Trade Agreement (AFTA, free trade zone of the ASEAN), Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM)), Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement; and the ASEAN - China Free Trade Area.
Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Look Up the Other Member Countries And Read the Web Pages of the World Customs Organization Devoted to the ATA Carnet.
Party of the TIR Convention

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
The UNCTAD Website Allows You to Read the TIR Convention, See the List of Member Countries And to Find Further Information.
Accompanying Documents For Imports
Goods dispatched to the Philippines must be accompanied by the following documents:

> the single administrative document (SAD)

> the commercial invoice.
It must be drawn up in triplicate, in English

> a phytosantitary certificate
It is necessary for fruit, vegetables, seeds and other plants and is issued by the regional department for the protection of plants.

> a health certificate
It is necessary for meat and is issued by the departmental directorate of veterinary services.

> a certificate of free sale for cosmetics
It is drawn up by the Federation of Perfume industries

> transport documents and packing list

Free Zones
There are special economic zones called "ecozones". Some of them are under the authority of the PEZA (Philippines Economic Zone Authority). For further details, see the Philippine Chamber of Industrial Estates & Ecozone
For Further Information
Customs office
Department of Trade and Industry
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)
Non Tariff Barriers
Imports generally enjoy a liberalized regime. However, imports of certain products are regulated and sometimes forbidden in accordance with the current laws, for reasons of health, national security, or international requirements or in order to protect the development of local industry. Imports are currently classified into three categories according to the degree of restriction they are subject to: freely imported products, regulated and forbidden products. For regulated products, an import license is necessary which can be obtained by applying to the authorities concerned (for example, certain foodstuffs or pharmaceutical products require the authorization of the Food and Drug Authority). The third category comprises products which it is forbidden to import such as: explosives, firearms and war weapons, precious metals, narcotics, drugs, and coffee.
Sectors or Products For Which Commercial Disagreements Have Been Registered With the WTO
Products concerned are: pork and poultry, motor vehicles, polypropylene resin. For further details, see the website of the WTO.
Assessment of Commercial Policy
WTO, Philippines

Learn more about How to Export to the Philippines on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.



National Standards Organisations
Bureau of Product Standards
Integration in the International Standards Network
The Philippines are members of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality (ACCSQ).
Classification of Standards
PNS (Philippine National Standard) is the mark of the national standard.
Assessment of the System of Standardization
The Bureau of Product Standards, BPS is an organization depending on the Administration which is in charge of the promotion, coordination and introduction of activities relative to the approval and standardization of products on the Philippine market. Its main objective is to support the various economic agents in promotion, supervision and quality assurance through the development of technical standards, and the carrying out of trials and product certification.
The certification system of the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) authorizes the use of the PS mark (Philippine Standards) for companies which, when manufacturing their products, observe permanently the corresponding national and international standards. The BPS is a member of the ISO.
Online Consultation of Standards
A list can be consulted on the Philippines National Standards Catalog on the Bureau of Product Standards website.
Associations of Standards Users
A list of organizations cooperating with the BPS is available under "Standards Organizations" in the Country Commercial Guide.


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Last Updates: May 2018