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One of the fastest-growing emerging markets in Asia, the Philippines is the 12th largest economy in Asia and the third largest in ASEAN. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), as of 2022, international trade in the Philippines grew at an annual rate of 20.1%, with total trade amounting to US$16.78 billion; with the country’s exports making up 36% of the trade amount.
The following sections will discuss insights gleaned from the aforementioned report and other sources, including the top five products to export from the Philippines and which trade markets are in demand for such products, as well as how small businesses (MSMEs) can start their exporting operations as they plan to expand overseas.
As of 2022, these are the top five products for export from the Philippines.
Topping the list are electronic products, which made up 58% of the country’s total exports (worth US$3.51 billion). The popular electronic goods that were exported, along with their total export value, drawn from Statista, are as listed:
Semiconductors — US$2756 million
Electronic data processing — US$568 million
Telecommunications — US$89 million
Consumer electronics — US$75 million
Office equipment — US$57 million
The Philippines exported electronic products to the United States, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan.
Second on the list are manufactured goods. The export value of manufactured goods was US$450 million, making up 7.5% of the total exports. The list of products made in the Philippines that are manufactured goods includes steel, chemicals, paper, textile, aircraft, machinery, clothing, vehicles, refined petroleum products, and others. Countries that import these goods include the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Cathodes and sections of cathodes of refined copper come in third on the list of products the Philippines has exported abroad, making up 3.8% of the total export value (US$ 231.7 million), according to Statista. The country exported cathodes and sections of cathodes of refined copper that amounted to an approximate of PH₱93 billion in 2021. The main export destinations for these goods with their total export value for the year 2020, reported by the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), are as listed:
China — US$ 1.81 million
Chinese Taipei — US$1.54 million
Germany — US$1.18 million
Japan — US$1.16 million
Brazil — US$265k
Fourth on the list would be coconut oil, one of the popular food products exported from the Philippines. As of January 2022, the PSA recorded a total export value of coconut oil at US$178 million. From 2021 to 2022, coconut oil exports showed a record annual increase of 110.1%, proving that this is a product in high demand. In August 2021, the leading destinations for coconut oil, OEC numbers indicate, are:
The Netherlands — US$41.6 million
The United States — US$34.3 million
Indonesia — US$15.5 million
Italy — US$8.97 million
Malaysia — US$8.23 million
Ignition wiring and other wiring components complete the top five list of export products made in the Philippines. This commodity group has a total export value of US$175.9 million. The United States, Japan, Germany, Spain, and Korea are the leading importers of this commodity.
The Philippines’ export industry offers excellent opportunities for local small businesses (MSMEs) to generate revenue and for established companies to extend their reach globally. A local supplier or manufacturer can analyze which countries are in demand for these products made from the Philippines for export and see how they can supply these goods to trading companies who can then export them abroad.
The following tips can help them build their business and leverage the advantage of exporting products from the Philippines:
Research: Identify the top products in the Philippines for export and select the ones you can export.
Narrow down markets: Use the information in the above sections to see which countries import such products from the Philippines and familiarize yourself with the various countries’ import rules and regulations. Find out what products they import from other countries too – this way, you can ascertain the competition you are potentially facing, and perhaps consider more lucrative product sectors out there for you to start your venture in.
Develop your business plan: This will include your financial details, target market, demographics, and other operational aspects.
Register your business: You will need to get in touch with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and other relevant authorities to register your business.
Network: Connect with other local entrepreneurs and startups and learn about the challenges and opportunities so you can plan your strategies accordingly.
Work with a reliable shipping partner who can help you ship your items from the Philippines to the location you desire. DHL Express offers a range of logistical services that can support your international expansion. To find out more about each of these services, open a business account with DHL Express today.