- Total two-way trade: $4.3 billion (2016)
- Trade in goods: $2.7 billion
- Trade in services: $1.5 billion
- Total two-way investment stock: $10.6 billion (2016)
- Australian investment in the Philippines: $9.3 billion (2016)
- The Philippines investment in Australia: $1.3 billion (2016)
- Population: 104.2 million
- GDP growth: 6.8% (2016)
- GDP: US$304.7 billion (2016)
- GDP per capita: US$2,924.30 (2016)
- Ease of doing business: 99 of 190 (2017)
The Philippines is one of Asia's fastest-growing economies and has a rapidly expanding middle class. The macro-economic fundamentals of the Philippine economy remain sound, based on strong domestic consumption, ambitious infrastructure plans and an educated bilingual workforce. Major Philippine conglomerates play an important role in the economy, supporting economic growth and investment across multiple sectors of the economy.
Domestic consumption contributes almost 75 per cent of GDP25 and is expanding at over 6 per cent per annum.26 A rise in disposable incomes across the country is underpinned by Overseas Filipino Worker remittances, which comprises around 10 per cent of the Philippines' GDP. In 2016, over 2.1 million Filipinos worked overseas. Filipinos are digitally connected, with around 87 per cent of the population owning a mobile device.27
The Philippine Government wants to carry out reforms to make the nation more globally competitive. These reforms aim to improve infrastructure and ease of doing business, revise foreign ownership restrictions, and invest in human capital development.
The Government has launched an unprecedented spending program on transport, railways, roads, airports, ports, energy and utilities development to ease infrastructure bottlenecks – the 'Build Build Build' program allocated 5.4 per cent of GDP ($193 billion) from 2016 to 2022.
Despite significant market opportunities, the Philippines can present challenges, including constitutional limits on foreign investment in various industries and public utilities, business registration and establishment.
Over 280 Australian companies are in the Philippines in a range of sectors including infrastructure, transport, financial services, mining, energy and shared services (business process outsourcing).
Premium agricultural, food commodities and services: The Philippines remains a net food importer. Rising incomes are fuelling growth in the retail, food service and processing industry as well as demand for Australian products such as grains and flour, temperate fruits and vegetables, beef and lamb, dairy, wine and healthy, nutritionally-boosted food and beverages.
The agricultural sector is seeking technologies and services to increase productivity and efficiency levels, including livestock genetics, feeds, production and supply chain management and irrigation solutions. Australian agtech, logistics and supply chain solutions are areas of commercial potential.
Education: Employment and productivity are top of the agenda for the Philippine government and private sector. Recent education reforms seek to align the Philippines with the rest of the region, to 'future-proof' jobs and address industry skills gaps.
There are solid opportunities in the higher and tertiary education sector, including vocational education and training (VET) and skills development. The Philippines is focused on developing globally competitive skills, including in healthcare, aged care, hospitality, business processing and retail. Australian education and VET providers have opportunities in VET and skills programs for delivery in Australia or in the Philippines.
Consultancy, engineering and technical advisory services: The Philippines is the headquarters of the Asian Development Bank and is an international aid recipient. Service providers have opportunities for involvement in multilateral aid projects, not only in the Philippines but also in Central and South Asia. Infrastructure, water, transport, energy, disaster management, health and education are areas of potential.
Resources and energy and services: The Philippines is the fifth most mineralised country in the world.28 Australia is considered a leader in achieving sustainable mining. There are opportunities in supply and supporting infrastructure and services for liquefied natural gas and renewable energy, particularly solar-related. Despite challenging commodity prices and regulatory constraints, opportunities for Australian mining equipment, technology and services companies include specialist consultancy, engineering services and mining equipment supply.
Healthcare: Opportunities in this sector include education and training, complementary health products, telemedicine and facilities design and management.