The Philippines shipped US$56.3 billion worth of products around the globe in 2016. That figure represents roughly 0.3% of overall global exports estimated at $16.236 trillion for the prior year 2015.
From a continental perspective, over two-thirds (67.7%) of Filipino exports by value are delivered to other Asian countries while 17.3% are sold to North American importers. The Philippines ships another 12.9% worth of goods to European clients with 0.5% going to Africa.
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 2016. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Filipino exports.
- Japan: US$11.7 billion (20.7% of total Filipino exports)
- United States: $8.7 billion (15.4%)
- Hong Kong: $6.6 billion (11.7%)
- China: $6.2 billion (11%)
- Singapore: $3.7 billion (6.6%)
- Germany: $2.3 billion (4.1%)
- Thailand: $2.1 billion (3.8%)
- South Korea: $2.1 billion (3.7%)
- Taiwan: $2.1 billion (3.7%)
- Netherlands: $1.7 billion (3%)
- Malaysia: $1.2 billion (2.1%)
- Vietnam: $746.5 million (1.3%)
- France: $726.8 million (1.3%)
- Indonesia: $592.2 million (1.1%)
- Mexico: $543.4 million (1%)
Leading the purchase increases for Filipino imports were Mexico (up 307.1%), France (up 172.7%), China (up 111.1%), Hong Kong (up 104.9%) and Vietnam (up 104.3%).
Three countries cut back on their imports from the Philippines: Netherlands (down -54.2%), Malaysia (down -12.5%) and Germany (down -8.5%).
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.
Overall, the Philippines incurred a -$29.6 billion trade deficit in 2016 almost tripling from the -$7.4 billion negative trade balance during 2009.
The Philippines incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries during 2016:
- China: -US$9.7 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2016)
- Thailand: -$4.6 billion
- Indonesia: -$4.1 billion
- South Korea: -$3.5 billion
- Taiwan: -$3.3 billion
- Malaysia: -$2.2 billion
- Singapore: -$1.9 billion
- Vietnam: -$1.2 billion
- India: -$1.2 billion
- Saudi Arabia: -$996 million
Among Philippines’ trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Filipino deficits with China (up 763.2%), Malaysia (up 421.5%) and India (up 263.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2009 to 2016.
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.
In 2016, the Philippines incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:
- Hong Kong: US$4 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2016)
- Japan: $1.5 billion
- Netherlands: $1.2 billion
- United States: $974.9 million
- Mexico: $448.2 million
- Germany: $282.1 million
- Malta: $153.7 million
- Hungary: $132.5 million
- Canada: $97.4 million
- Liberia: $81.8 million
Among Philippines’ trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Filipino deficits with Malta (up 2,507%), Mexico (up 434%) and Japan (up 233.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2009 to 2016.
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 for 2015. Below is a sample of the major companies headquartered in the Philippines that Forbes included:
- San Miguel (industrial conglomerates)
- PLDT (telecommunications services)
- Ayala (industrial conglomerates)
- Aboitiz Equity Ventures (industrial conglomerates)
- Alliance Global Group (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)
- Calfurn Mfg Philippines (bamboo/wood furniture, kitchenware, tableware)
- Yuenthai Philippines (shirts, blouses)
- Pacific Paint Boysen Philippines (polymers, oils)
- Aruze G A Philippines Branch (machine tools, printers, copiers, operated games)
See also Highest Value Filipino Import Products and Philippines Top 10 Imports
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 23, 2017
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 23, 2017
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on February 23, 2017
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 23, 2017
Wikipedia, List of Companies of the Philippines. Accessed on February 23, 2017
Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 11, 2016
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on April 11, 2016