Trade, Investment and Financial Links
Trade and Economic picture
With bilateral trade in goods amounting to €12.9 billion in 2015, the EU ranked as the Philippines' fourth largest trading partner, while the Philippines was EU's sixth largest trading partner in the region. The EU became the 3rd largest exporting partner of the Philippines (from 4th). Philippines' exports to the EU grew by 19% according to Eurostat – an effect mostly due to an uptake in GSP+-related exports (growing by 27% during the first half of 2015).
In 2015, EU share in the total trade of the Philippines was 11% but the relationship changed from the EU being a stronger import partner to a stronger export partner of the Philippines. The Philippines moved from a trade deficit to a surplus of €641 million. Overall, the trend of increasing trade and investment continued in 2015, a consequence of more demand (economic growth, middle class), GSP+ preferential treatment and slightly more positive appreciation of the PH business climate resulting in more business missions from the EU to the country.
Top products (goods) traded between the EU and the PH remain transport, office/telecoms equipment; machinery; and food. Electronics remains the strongest export product of the Philippines to the EU but growth (food and manufacture products) in other sectors can be noted thanks to the GSP+-preferencs (processed food, food/agri, some footwear and textiles).
PH total trade in services with world according to the World Bank in 2014 is 16% of GDP at market prices (around US$ 46 billion (€38 billion). Bilateral trade in services between EU and the Philippines in 2014 (most recent available data) was €3.3 billion , 5% growth from 2013. Import (from Philippines) and export (to the Philippines) of services grew by 6% and 3% respectively. Aside from BPOs, the Philippines also had a steady export of services in the tourism and transport sector.
In 2015, Overseas Filipino Workers' remittances from the EU were US$3.37 billion (€2.81 billion) from US$3.41 billion (€2.85 billion) – representing 13% of total
The Philippines and ASEAN
The Philippines is one of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the fifth largest economy in the region and, with a population of over 100 million, the second biggest market in ASEAN.
Taken as a whole, ASEAN would rank as the eighth economy in the world and the EU's third largest trading partner outside Europe, after the United States and China. In 2013, bilateral trade in goods and services between the EU and ASEAN reached over €235 billion.
When completed, the ASEAN Economic Community will constitute the third largest market in the world, with over 600 million potential consumers. Ensuring better access for EU exporters to the dynamic ASEAN market is a priority for the EU.
Since identifying ASEAN as a priority region in the 2006 Global Europe Communication, the EU has been actively engaged with the region. Negotiations for a region-to-region FTA with ASEAN were launched in 2007 and paused in 2009 to give way to a bilateral format of negotiations. These bilateral FTAs were conceived as building blocks towards a future region-to-region agreement.
Bilateral negotiations were launched with Singapore and Malaysia in 2010, with Vietnam in 2012, with Thailand in 2013 and now also with the Philippines. The talks with Singapore and Vietnam were successfully concluded in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
updated May 2016