Philippines-China Trade Shows Impressive Growth

Despite weaknesses in the global economy, a recent report has revealed that bilateral trade between China and the Philippines has grown by 32 percent for the period of January to October 2011. The General Administration of Customs (GAC) recently released a report confirming that total trade between China and the Philippines for the period under review was US$26 billion. Currently China is the third largest trading partner of the Philippines, and the Philippine embassy in Beijing described the growth in trade as an indication of the strength of current trading ties between the two countries, as well as an indication of potential growth in the future.

Detailed statistics showed that Chinese products imported by the Philippines had grown by US$11.4 billion, being an increase of more than 50 percent. Philippines exports to China for the same period had increased by US$14.6 billion, or 21 percent. While the figures are considered to be encouraging, they nevertheless fall short of the total trade between the two countries back in 2007, which reached US$30.6 billion before the global financial crisis resulted in a downturn.

Alex G. Chua of the Philippine Embassy in Beijing noted that the recovery of bilateral trade, which began in 2010, and the trade figures for the first ten months of 2011 bodes well for future trade and expansion in key sectors such as investments, tourism and assistance in development. Trade has no doubt been boosted by the visit to Beijing by Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino II in September last year, during which both countries committed to reaching a goal of US$60 billion in annual trade by the year 2016.

Trade growth was further encouraged by the free trade agreement between ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member countries. Cooperation between China and ASEAN, including the implementation of a zero-tariff policy, has been beneficial to all parties, which expectations high for the future. Currently the main bilateral trading sectors include electronic and electrical products, fertilizer, ceramics, industrial components, nickel, copper and petroleum. Moreover, growth is being experienced in agricultural products, furniture, and logistics services. With China’s rapidly expanding urbanization, Philippine authorities are encouraging the pursuit of trade and the tapping of potential markets in China with a view to reaching the goal of US$60 billion by 2016.