The Philippines exported US$63.9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 13.4% increase since 2016 but a -9.2% slowdown from 2019 to 2020.
Applying a continental lens, 70.1% of Philippines’ exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 16.7% were sold to importers in North America. Philippines shipped another 11.6% worth of goods to Europe.
Tinier percentages went to Oceania led by Australia (0.7%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.6%) and Africa (0.2%).
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 2020. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Filipino exports.
- Japan: US$9.9 billion (15.5% of total Filipino exports)
- United States: $9.7 billion (15.2%)
- China: $9.6 billion (15.1%)
- Hong Kong: $9.1 billion (14.2%)
- Singapore: $3.8 billion (5.9%)
- Thailand: $2.9 billion (4.5%)
- South Korea: $2.5 billion (4%)
- Germany: $2.4 billion (3.7%)
- Taiwan: $2.1 billion (3.2%)
- Netherlands: $1.9 billion (3%)
- Malaysia: $1.8 billion (2.7%)
- Vietnam: $1.3 billion (2%)
- India: $551.3 million (0.9%)
- Mexico: $545.6 million (0.9%)
- France: $472.7 million (0.7%)
Sole increases from 2019 to 2020 among the top trading partners belong to India (up 3.3%) and Vietnam (up 1.1%).
Leading the reductions for import purchases from the Philippines was France via its -40.8% retreat year over year. In second place was South Korea (down -21%), Mexico (down -18.7%), Netherlands (down -15.8%) and the United States (down -15.2%).
The Philippines incurred an overall -$26.9 billion trade deficit in 2020, down -36.9% from -$42.6 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 2020, the Philippines incurred the highest trade deficits at the expense of the following countries.
- China: -US$11.3 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2019)
- Indonesia: -$5.4 billion
- South Korea: -$4.5 billion
- Taiwan: -$2.8 billion
- Malaysia: -$2.3 billion
- Thailand: -$2.1 billion
- Singapore: -$1.9 billion
- Vietnam: -$1.8 billion
- India: -$1 billion
- Russia: -$743.5 million
Among the Philippines’ trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, the Philippine deficit with Taiwan (up 4.7%) was the sole gainer from 2019 to 2020.
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$6.3 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2019)
- United States: $2.6 billion
- Netherlands: $1.3 billion
- Japan: $1.2 billion
- Mexico: $439.3 million
- Germany: $415.5 million
- Czech Republic: $133.7 million
- Switzerland: $125.3 million
- Hungary: $92 million
- Poland: $70 million
Among the Philippines’ trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Filipino surpluses with Switzerland (up 128.4%) and Hong Kong (up 5.9%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
In addition, the Philippines transitioned from a -$48 million deficit trading with Switzerland in 2019 to generate a $54.9 million surplus for 2020. Similarly, Filipino trade with Japan went from -$115.8 million in red ink in 2019 to $1.2 billion in black ink during the latest reporting period. The Philippines also transitioned from a -$135.5 million deficit for 2019 to a $415.5 million surplus one year later.
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 March 13, 2021.
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 13, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 13, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 13, 2021
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 13, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of the Philippines. Accessed on March 13, 2021
Wikipedia, Philippines. Accessed on March 13, 2021
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 13, 2021