Philippines – Country Profile

Philippines – Country Profile

General Information

Official Name The Philippine Islands
Capital Manila
Land Area 300,179sqkm
Population 100.7 million (2015)
Currency 1 $CAD =35.03Peso
National Holiday June 12th (Independence Day)
Language(s) Filipino (Tagalog), English and Spanish
Source: Economic Intelligence Unit, Bank of Canada (Currency Conversion 03/03/2016)

Political Information

Form of State Based on a separation of powers between the executive presidency, a bicameral legislature and an independent judiciary
Head of State President  Rodrigo Duterte
Elections Every 6 years (next election – 2022)
Source: Economic Intelligence Unit

Economic Information

Philippines Canada
GDP (PPP) $928 billion $2,338 billion
GDP per capita $3,841.76 $64,051
GDP annual growth rate IMF World Economic Outlook 2.03%
GDP – composition by sector Agriculture: 10.7% Industry: 31.6% Services: 57.6% Agriculture: 1.6% Industry: 28.9% Services: 70.5%
Inflation rate – average consumer prices 6.10% 1.96%
Main industries Electronics assembly, garments, footwear, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, wood products, food processing, petroleum refining, fishing. Transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, fish products, petroleum and natural gas.
Note: 2014 data in Canadian dollars ($CAD)
Source: IMF World Economic Outlook, World Bank Data, CIA World Factbook, Bank of Canada (Currency Conversion 03/03/2016).

Political and Economic Stability

The Philippines is one of the most dynamic economies in the East Asia region, with sound economic fundamentals and a globally recognized competitive workforce. Growth in the Philippines has been averaged above 5% in the past decade, significantly higher than in the previous decades. Following high growth of above 6% in the past three years, growth slowed down to 5.3% in the first half of 2015. Growth was limited by the slow pace of public spending and the contraction in net exports on the demand side, as well as stagnant agriculture on the supply side. With a solid macro-economy that has proven to be resilient to some major shocks, the country can now focus its attention on implementing crucial structural reforms that can sustain inclusive growth, create more and better jobs, and eradicate extreme poverty.

The Government of the Philippines has defined its development objectives as driving rapid but inclusive economic growth, accelerating employment on a massive scale, and reducing poverty. However they have an uphill battle to face. As of 2015, 25.2% of the population fell below the poverty line which is an improvement from previous years even though national literacy rates are 93.9% as of 2015. In addition deforestation which has been a large problem with a third of forest cover lost between 1990 and 2005 has slowly decreased in the past decade to 3.1% loss.

Although the Philippines has not been very politically stable in the past, President Benigno Aquino III who won the 2010 elections convincingly is widely credited with setting the country on the right path toward reducing endemic corruption and improving governance. The government has less than a year to implement further institutional reforms, as political players are thereafter likely to enter into campaign mode in anticipation of the 2016 elections. These elections will determine the extent to which the recent progress will be continued, as the constitution does not allow President Aquino to run for re-election. The improvement made so far has been visible in various surveys. On the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum, Philippines moved from the 85th place out of 139 countries in 2010/2011 to the 59th place out of 148 countries in 2013/2014, whereby it even moved from the 125th place to the 79thplace on the institutional pillar of this index. Likewise, the country moved from the place 134 out of 178 in 2010 to 94 out of 177 in 2015 on the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International. Better governance was also one of the factors that drove the three major ratings agencies to upgrade the Philippines to investment grade in 2013.


Global Affairs Canada recommends that Canadians exercise a high degree of caution when traveling to the Philippines due to an ongoing terrorist threat to Westerners and Western interests. For detailed and up-to-date information on travel security, please refer to the Global Affairs Canada Travel Report for Philippines.

Trade Information

Trade Partners & Direction 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Average Yearly Growth
Philippinesto the World ($CAD Million) 53,034.708 47,474.514 51,964.783 58,365.425 68,212.374 7.04%
Philippinesto United States ($CAD Million) 7,795.962 7,022.777 7,402.087 8,582.620 9,637.278 5.93%
Philippinesto Canada ($CAD Million) 899.000 915.989 991.226 1,137.059 1,238.946 8.73%
Canadian Exports toPhilippines($ CAD Million) 683.484 554.810 527.922 602.810 569.684 -3.74%
Note: Data in millions of Canadian dollars ($CAD)
Source: Trade Data Online (Industry Canada), Trade Map (International Trade Centre), World Integrated Trade Solution (World Bank), United States Trade Representative

Business Climate

The World Bank’s annual Doing Business report ranks economies from 1 to 189 (with 1 being the best) on their ease of doing business. In the 2016 report, The Philippines ranked 103 overall and 95 for Trading Across Borders, which measures the ease with which a standardized shipment of goods can be imported or exported across its borders. In the 2014 report, the average time to ship goods out of The Philippines is approximately 15 days, with a low average estimated cost of $CAD 778.11 per 20-foot container. To complete the export process, only 6 forms of documentation are required: commercial invoice, bill of landing, dock receipt and warehouse receipt, insurance certificate, export packing list and destination control statement. Other documents may be required depending on certain factors including the importing nation. These documents include: consular invoice, certificate of origin, inspection certification, inspection certification and export licence.

Although there are many reputable exporters in The Philippines, Canadian importers should be aware that corruption could be an issue when doing business in the country. The Philippines ranked 35 out of 140 in Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index where 1st place indicates least corrupt. Canadian companies are advised to exercise strict due diligence before working with a company from Vietnam to ensure that it is a bona fide and reputable entity. It is suggested that Canadian importers commission a report by a credit information provider to verify the financial strength of the partner.

Sustainability Initiatives

The MaDe for Fair Trade collaborative project created by Advocate of Philippine Fair Trade, Inc aims to establish a vibrant domestic fair trade market. It aims to create country-wide change by setting up responsible market structures that benefit poor producers, their workers and family. In turn, the project will generate economic development in the wider community with focus on Micro and Small Enterprises trying to implement fair trade principles. In addition to economic benefits, MaDe for Fair Trade will all create environmental benefits and improve the health and well-being of consumers. The main activities that are being undertaken by this project are: consumer and market research, strengthen producers’ competitiveness, Fair Trade capacity building, Fair Trade zones and shops, consumer awareness and monitoring and evaluation.

Ever since the Philippine fashion accessory industry started, it has been using natural and indigenous materials. The Go Green Philippines project was set up to create sustainable environmental development to revitalize the Philippine ecosystem and sustain the fashion accessories industry. The Fashion Accessories Manufacturers and Exporters Foundation Philippines, Inc. and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region VII have partnered to promote eco-friendly fashion. The project focuses on three areas: forest management, coastal environmental program and livelihood projects. Currently it has just completed phase one which focused on forest management by supporting reforestation programs to replenish the number of trees heavily used by the fashion industry.

The Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP) was developed by the Department of Trade and Industry in order to achieve inclusive growth in the manufacturing industry. This program is set up to be completed in three phases. Phase one (which is the current phase of the program) is to rebuild the existing capacity of industries, strengthen new ones, and maintain the competitiveness of industries with comparative advantage. The program’s other two phases aim to shift to high value added activities and deepen participation in regional and global production. MRP also plans to create agricultural based employment and support small farms and cooperatives. At a general level, the goals of this program can be achieved by (1) addressing horizontal issues such as smuggling, high cost and lack of reliability for power, high cost of transport and logistics, and ensuring a competitive exchange rate; (2) resolving vertical issues such as supply chain gaps, market share expansion, human resource development, integration of small- and medium-scale enterprises, and innovation; and (3) providing a coordination mechanism for inter- agency collaboration.Page Break

Trade Opportunities

1. Insulated Wires and Cables

Due to the vast amount of copper sources and strong rubber and plastic industries, insulated wires and cables from the Philippines are exported around the world in large quantities. They make up 44% of exports to Canada in 2014 and totals $350 million CAD. The Philippines is the fourth largest exporter of insulated wires and cables to Canada after the United States, Mexico and China. Worldwide exports total $2.6 billion CAD in 2014 which accounts for 1% of the total global exports.

2. Electronic Integrated Circuits 

With $158.8 million CAD in imports, the Philippines is the 6th largest exporter of electronic integrated circuits (commonly known as chips or microchips) to Canada in 2014 and accounts for 20% of all exports to Canada. After a dip in exports in 2012, electronic integrated circuits exports have been growing steadily. It also accounts for $13 billion CAD in worldwide exports in 2014. These high value added products are integral to many of the electronic devices that are essential to our everyday lives and the industry is growing as we continue to find new ways to integrated them into everything from helmets to toilets.

3. Emerging Sector: Coconut Oil 

With its ever growing number of uses, coconut oil is getting a lot of attention in Canada and Worldwide. With the increase in demand for healthier food options as well as a push towards more natural beauty and wellness products, the demand for coconut oil had grown significantly in the past few years. 54% of Canada’s imports of coconut oil in 2014 were from the Philippines with $43.9 million CAD, and in 2015 imports grew by 32%. Even with the lingering impacts of extremely destructive typhoons over the past 5 years, coconut oil production have surpassed industry forecasts in 2015.

Upcoming Trade Shows

Manila Fame 
April 21-24 2016
World Trade Centre, Metro Manila, Philippines
Industry: Furniture (Indoor and Outdoor), Clothing (not including Footewar), Home Décor, Giftware and Crafts, Personal Care, Pharmaceuticals and Natural Health Products

Marine Philippines, Offshore Philippines and Ship Build Philippines 
June 6-8 2016
SMX Convention Center, Manila, Philippines
Industry: Shipbuilding, Work Boats & Marine; Offshore Infrastructure

May 31- June 2 2016
World Trade Center, Metro Manila, Philippines
Industry: Food Products and Beverages (including Seafood)

July 15-17 2016
SMX Convention Center, Manila, Philippines
Industry: Auto Parts, Accessories, Services & Repair Equipment

Manufacturing Technology World
Jun 30 – July 2 2016
Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino Labug, Cebu City, Philippines
August 18-20
SMX Convention Center Manila, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, Philippines
September 9-11
SMX Convention Center, SM Mal Lanang, Davao City
Industry: Manufacturing, Industrial Goods, Machinery, Parts and Raw Materials

Contact Information

Philippine Embassy  
130 Albert St. Suite 900, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Tel.: +1 613-233-1121

Department of Trade & Industry 
361 Senator Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 751-0384

Center for International Trade Exposition and Missions (CITEM) 
Golden Shell Pavilion, ITC Complex,
Roxas Boulevard corner Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue
1300 Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: +632 831 2201 to 09

Useful Links

Department of Trade and Industry
Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
Association of South East Asian Nations
Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific
BangkoSentralngPilipinas(Central Bank)
Philippine Coconut Authority
The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippinesinc.
Philippine Export-Import Credit Agency
Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundationinc.
United Coconut Association of the Philippines
Asia Development Bank

Links to Cited Documents

Bank of Canada – Daily Currency Convertor
CIA WorldFactbook
Industry Canada – Trade Data Online
International Trade Centre – Trade Map
Transparency International – Corruption Perception Index
World Bank – Doing Business Report
World Bank – Open Data
Global Affairs Canada Travel Advisories
EDC (Export Development Canada) – Country Profiles
Economic Intelligence Unit
IMF World Economic Outlook
World Bank
Asian Development Bank
Philippines Consulate General
Rainforest Country Profiles
Global Affairs Canada
Economic Rabobank
United States Trade Representative
MaDefor Fair Trade
Advocate of Philippine Fair Trade,Inc
Go Green Philippines
Department of Trade and Industry
Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP)
TFO Canada Supplier Database
Global Competitiveness Report
Global Affairs Canada – Philippines Market Access Plan