The Philippines is a densely populated island home to 108.3 million residents located in Southeast Asia. The country’s official name is the Republic of the Philippines.
The Philippines exported US$70.3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 19.9% acceleration since 2015 and a 4.2% increase from 2018 to 2019.
Applying a continental lens, 67.7% of Philippines’ exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 18.1% were sold to importers in North America. Philippines shipped another 12.5% worth of goods to Europe.
Tinier percentages went to Oceania led by Australia (0.7%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.7%) then Africa (0.3%).
Philippines Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing Philippines top 15 trading partners, countries that imported the most Filipino shipments by dollar value during 2019. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Filipino exports.
- United States: US$11.5 billion (16.3% of total Filipino exports)
- Japan: $10.6 billion (15.1%)
- China: $9.6 billion (13.7%)
- Hong Kong: $9.6 billion (13.7%)
- Singapore: $3.8 billion (5.4%)
- South Korea: $3.2 billion (4.6%)
- Thailand: $3 billion (4.2%)
- Germany: $2.7 billion (3.9%)
- Netherlands: $2.3 billion (3.2%)
- Taiwan: $2.2 billion (3.2%)
- Malaysia: $1.8 billion (2.6%)
- Vietnam: $1.3 billion (1.8%)
- Indonesia: $821.6 million (1.2%)
- France: $798.3 million (1.1%)
- Mexico: $670.8 million (1%)
Fastest-growing from 2018 to 2019 among the top trading partners were Vietnam (up 33.5%), South Korea (up 26.2%), Japan (up 12.2%), China (up 10.7%) then Mexico (up 10.7%).
Leading the reductions for export sales from the Philippines was South Korea via its -28.6% retreat.
The Philippines racked up a -$42.6 billion trade deficit for 2019, down -10.6% from -$47.6 billion in red ink one year earlier.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit. It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
In 2019, the Philippines incurred the highest trade deficits at the expense of the following countries.
- China: US-$16.1 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2019)
- Indonesia: -$6.2 billion
- South Korea: -$5.3 billion
- Thailand: -$4.1 billion
- Singapore: -$2.93 billion
- Malaysia: -$2.91 billion
- Taiwan: -$2.6 billion
- Vietnam: -$2.4 billion
- India: -$1.3 billion
- Australia: -$1.1 billion
Among Philippines’ trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Filipino deficits with Singapore (up 41.2%), Malaysia (up 23.3%) and China (up 16.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for the Philippines to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Based on Investopedia definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
The Philippines incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:
- Hong Kong: US$5.9 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2019)
- United States: $3.2 billion
- Netherlands: $1.6 billion
- Mexico: $491 million
- Czech Republic: $223.2 million
- Hungary: $164.9 million
- Poland: $86.5 million
- Iran: $67.1 million
- Canada: $63.3 million
- Switzerland: $54.9 million
Among Philippines’ trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Filipino surpluses with Czech Republic (up 56.2%), United States (up 45.4%) and Iran (up 19.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
In addition, the Philippines transitioned from a -$48 million deficit trading with Switzerland in 2018 to generate a $54.9 million surplus for 2019. Similarly, Filipino trade with Canada went from -$237 million in red ink in 2018 to $63.3 million in black ink during the latest reporting period.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for the Philippines to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Filipino Trading Partners
Ten Filipino corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major companies headquartered in the Philippines that Forbes included.
- Aboitiz Equity Ventures (industrial conglomerates)
- Alliance Global Group (industrial conglomerates)
- Ayala (industrial conglomerates)
- PLDT (telecommunications services)
- San Miguel (industrial conglomerates)
According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following companies are also examples of Filipino export companies.
- Acbel Polytech Philippines (electric static converters, primary batteries)
- Aruze G A Philippines Branch (machine tools, printers, copiers, operated games)
- Calfurn Mfg Philippines (bamboo/wood furniture, kitchenware, tableware)
- Pacific Paint Boysen Philippines (polymers, oils)
- Yuenthai Philippines (shirts, blouses)
See also Philippines Top 10 Exports, Philippines Top 10 Imports and Top Filipino Trade Balances
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 17, 2020.
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 17, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 17, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 17, 2020
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on April 17, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of the Philippines. Accessed on April 17, 2020
Wikipedia, Philippines. Accessed on April 17, 2020
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on April 17, 2020