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Doing business in the Philippines

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Doing business in the Philippines

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Philippines trade and export guide

Philippines Export Overview

The Philippines is one of the largest markets in south east Asia with an estimated 103 million people.

HSBC has forecasted that the Philippines could become the world’s 16th largest economy by 2050. The Philippines is now ranked 52nd in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report. It has improved by 32 places in the last 4 years.

About 200 British companies are now doing business in the Philippines. They include well known brands such as Unilever, Shell, HSBC, Standard Chartered, AstraZeneca, Diageo, Arup, JCB, Marks and Spencer, River Island and Halcrow.

Benefits for UK companies exporting to the Philippines include:

  • One of the largest English speaking countries
  • Western goods and services are popular
  • Expanding consumer base
  • Gateway to other Asian markets as all within 4 hours flying time

Strengths of the Philippines market include:

  • 12th largest country in the world in terms of population
  • Economy boosted by over USD 21 billion in overseas remittances
  • Strong services sector
  • Skilled workforce and competitive wages
  • Liberalised economy


The Philippine market can present challenges for UK companies. The risks can be overcome, but they do require a commitment in time and resources.

Challenges include:

  • bureaucracy, as paperwork requires many signatures before final approval
  • corruption, which is improving, but remains a significant problem
  • restrictions on foreign ownership of companies, land and investment in certain sectors
  • restricted participation in public procurement
  • restrictions on ability of foreign individuals to practise in some professions

You should hire a broker or local lawyer to help you deal with the necessary formalities.

A local partner or distributor may also be necessary.

You should ensure you take the necessary steps to comply with the requirements of the UK Bribery Act

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