In studying the modern history of the Philippines, one may still be amazed to learn that this small island nation has only enjoyed a true contemporary democracy for less than thirty years. The deposing of Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whose nearly two-decade long reign of the country was marked by tyranny and numerous human rights violations, allowed for Corazon Aquino to assume the presidency and bring governmental reform. Despite these sweeping changes beginning in the mid-1980s, it is recently that the Philippines has emerged as a viable player in global trade.
Among nations, the Philippines is ranked low in the list of top fifty national economies. Their gross domestic product for the last year came close to $200 billion, the result of a gradual shift from a primarily agricultural economy to one showing growth in service and manufacturing industries. With more people taking work in the industrial sector, it is fair to predict that this growth will continue so long as the government remains stable.
In 2010, the Philippines exported approximately $52 billion worth of products to their trade partners. Japan accounts for the largest percentage of export trading from the island nation, followed by the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and China. Major exports from the Philippines include:
- Clothing – While not the largest of the manufacturing industries in the Philippines, the garment-making companies account for a modest percentage of the nation’s overall export profits. Familiarity with Western culture and fashions help keep this sector relevant.
- Electronics – The Philippines is known primarily for the export of semiconductors and computer processors. Intel and Texas Instruments operate plants in the country, and major cell phone companies rely on the Philippines for DSP chips.
- Copper – The nation has some of the largest copper deposits in the world, making the Philippines an important exporters of natural copper products.
- Fruits and Byproducts – With approximately a third of the overall economy rooted in agriculture, the Philippines is a major exporters of coconuts, coconut oil and other fruits.
The Philippines relies upon top import trader partners Japan, the United States, China and Singapore for items needed for daily use and production:
Machinery – In its quest to concentrate on manufacturing, the Philippines imports the necessary equipment and transportation to achieve their goals.
Mineral Fuels – Fossil fuels are imported to refine into petroleum, which is then exported to various trade partners.
Textiles and Fabrics – Textiles are imported to maintain the nation’s small but viable clothing manufacture sector.
Grains – With population growth taxing the nation’s domestic food resources, the Philippines relies on trade partners to acquire corn and rice, among other foodstuffs.
Economists are wise to keep an eye on the Philippines in the years to come. The nation is not only an important resource for call center employment – the nation is on par with India in this respect – but a growing Asian economy that could prove influential in various industries.