PSA lists PHL’s top trade partners in 1st semester 

China, Japan and the United States were the Philippines’s top trade partners in the first semester of 2017, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Data showed total trade with China reached $11.355 billion, or 15 percent of the total trade; followed by Japan with $10.768 billion, or 14.2 percent;  and the US with $8.021 billion, or 10.6 percent.

The PSA, however, said the Philippines had the widest trade; deficit with China, indicating Manila’s imports to Beijing are higher than its exports.

“Export receipts from China stood at $3.308 billion, while payment for imports was valued at $8.048 billion, resulting to a $4.74- billion trade deficit,” the PSA said.

Data showed the country’s main exports to China are electronic products at $1.993 billion, or 60.3 percent, of the country’s exports to China. Other manufactured goods followed with total receipt of $291.22 million, or 8.8 percent of the total.

In terms of imports, data showed electronic products was also the Philippines’s top import from China worth $1.651 billion, or 20.5 percent, of the country’s total imports.

The country also imported iron and steel, which reached $1.25 billion, or a share of 15.5 percent, of total imports.

“I believe that the trade deficit with China was brought about by the importation of many capital goods and raw materials from China for the infra program of the government,” University of Asia and the Pacific School of Economics Dean Cid Terosa told the BusinessMirror.

“While the short-run effect isn’t favorable, in the long run the Philippines will benefit in the form of better infrastructure and related facilities,” he added.

Meanwhile, PSA data showed exports to Japan reached $5.378 billion, while imports amounted to $5.391 billion. This resulted in a trade deficit of $13.33 million.

Data showed 27.2 percent, or $1.460 billion of the Philippines’s total exports to Japan consisted of electronic products; while $886.11 million, or 16.5 percent of the total, was accounted for by woodcrafts and furniture.

The PSA said the majority of the imported products from Japan were also electronic products billed at $2.004 billion, or 37.2 percent; followed by transport equipment with $759.57 million, or 14.1 percent.

In addition, exports to the US were valued at $4.571 billion, while payment for imports totaled to $3.45 billion, reflecting a trade surplus of $1.12 billion.

The majority of the country’s exports consisted of electronic products worth $1.956 billion, or 42.8 percent of the total exports to the US, and articles of apparel and clothing accessories with $428.62 million, or 9.4 percent, share of the total.

Data showed imports from the US were electronic products with payment worth $1.165 billion, or 33.8 percent of the total. Imports of animal feeds ranked second and was valued at $383.17 million, or 11.1 percent of the total.

“The country’s top 10 trading partners contributed a total trade worth $58.434 billion, which was 77.3 percent of the total external trade in January to June 2017,” the PSA said.

This was composed of a total export receipt of $23.976 billion, or 76.6 percent of the total exports, and a total import bill of $34.458 billion, or 77.8 percent of the total imports.

The PSA added this translated to an unfavorable balance of trade-in goods, which amounted to $10.483 billion.

In terms of economic blocs, the Philippines’s top trade partners are Asean members with a total trade of $16.379 billion, or 21.7 percent of the country’s total trade.

Exports to Asean member-countries were valued at $4.704 billion, while imports were worth $11.675 billion. This, however, generated a trade deficit of $6.971 billion.

The PSA said that among Asean countries, Singapore was the country’s top trade with a total trade accounting for $4.64 billion, or a 28.3-percent share of the Asean total trade.

Exports to Singapore amounted to $1.930 billion, while imports payment was valued at $2.709 billion. This, however, reflected a trade deficit of $779.25 million.

Another top economic bloc that the country traded with is the European Union which accounted for $7.78 billion or 10.3 percent share of the country’s total trade in the first semester of 2017.

Exports to the EU reached $4.623 billion or 14.8 percent of the total export receipts, while imports reached $3.157 billion or a 7.1 percent of total. This resulted in a trade surplus of $1.466 billion.

Among EU countries, the top trade partner of the country was Germany which accounted for $2.184 billion or 28.1 percent of EU’s total trade with the Philippines.

Revenue from exports to Germany amounted to $1.27 billion while payments for imports were worth $914.41 million giving a trade surplus of $355.56 million.


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A professional journalist for over a decade, Cai U. Ordinario currently writes macroeconomic and urban development stories for BusinessMirror. She has received awards for excellence in reporting on the macroeconomy and statistics. She was also cited for her contribution to statics reporting by the National Statistical Coordination Board (now the Philippine Statistics Authority). She is a recipient of journalism fellowships including the Jefferson Fellowship from the Honolulu-based East West Center. She is currently completing her Masters degree in Communication at the University of the Philippines. She graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Arts Major in Journalism from the University of Santo Tomas.