The Philippines exported US$74.6 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2021, up by 18% since 2017 and increasing by 16.8% from 2020 to 2021.
To give global perspective, the Philippines is a relatively small player in international trade. The value of Filipino exports represents a tiny 0.3% of total world exports of $21.513 trillion for 2021.
In contrast, the Philippines’ population of 110.2 million amounts to 1.4% of the head count for everyone on the planet.
Applying a continental lens, more than two-thirds (68.3%) of Philippines’ exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 17.5% were sold to importers in North America. Philippines shipped another 12.3% worth of goods to Europe.
Tinier percentages went to Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (0.8%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.6%), and Africa (0.3%).
Philippines Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing Philippines top 25 trading partners, countries that imported the most Filipino shipments by dollar value during 2021. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Filipino exports.
- United States: US$11.9 billion (15.9% of total Filipino exports)
- Mainland China: $11.5 billion (15.5%)
- Japan: $10.7 billion (14.4%)
- Hong Kong: $9.9 billion (13.3%)
- Singapore: $4.2 billion (5.6%)
- Thailand: $3.5 billion (4.6%)
- Germany: $2.9 billion (3.9%)
- South Korea: $2.6 billion (3.4%)
- Taiwan: $2.5 billion (3.4%)
- Netherlands: $2.3 billion (3%)
- Malaysia: $1.9 billion (2.5%)
- Vietnam: $1.6 billion (2.2%)
- Indonesia: $864.9 million (1.2%)
- India: $735.4 million (1%)
- Mexico: $709.7 million (1%)
- Switzerland: $532.4 million (0.7%)
- Australia: $531.1 million (0.7%)
- France: $514.3 million (0.7%)
- Canada: $490.9 million (0.7%)
- United Kingdom: $474 million (0.6%)
- Spain: $292.7 million (0.4%)
- Belgium: $292.3 million (0.4%)
- United Arab Emirates: $267 million (0.4%)
- Ireland: $262.9 million (0.4%)
- Czech Republic: $262.5 million (0.4%)
By value, the above 25 countries bought 96.1% of all exports from the Philippines during 2021.
Leading gainers from 2020 to 2021 among the above top trading partners were Indonesia (up 90.6%), Spain (up 80.1%), Australia (up 48.5%), Belgium (up 37.2%), Ireland (up 33.9%), India (up 33.4%) then Mexico (up 30.1%).
Thanks to its -2.6% reduction year over year, the United Arab Emirates was the sole decliner among top importers of products exported from the Philippines.
Countries Causing Greatest Trade Deficits for the Philippines
The Philippines incurred an overall -$49.8 billion trade deficit in 2021, swelling by 85.2% from -$26.9 billion in red ink one year earlier during 2020.
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 2021, the Philippines incurred the highest trade deficits at the expense of the following countries.
- China: -US$16.7 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- Indonesia: -$8.2 billion
- South Korea: -$7.1 billion
- Thailand: -$3.8 billion
- Malaysia: -$3.7 billion
- Taiwan: -$3.5 billion
- Singapore: -$3.1 billion
- Vietnam: -$2.8 billion
- Saudi Arabia: -$2.1 billion
- India: -$1.7 billion
Among the Philippines’ trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Filipino deficits with Saudi Arabia (up 337.6%), Thailand (up 80.2%) and Malaysia (up 62.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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.
Countries Generating Highest Trade Surpluses for the Philippines
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$6.5 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2021)
- United States: $3.6 billion
- Netherlands: $1.6 billion
- Germany: $780.5 million
- Mexico: $479.6 million
- Switzerland: $197.3 million
- Hungary: $130.5 million
- Czech Republic: $122.3 million
- Curaçao: $53.3 million
- South Africa: $51.1 million
Among the Philippines’ trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Filipino surpluses with Curaçao (up 184.4%), Germany (up 87.8%) and Switzerland (up 57.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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.
Major 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 and Philippines Top 10 Imports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 16, 2022.
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 16, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 16, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 16, 2022
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 16, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of the Philippines. Accessed on May 16, 2022
Wikipedia, Philippines. Accessed on May 16, 2022
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on May 16, 2022