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Last updated : Nov 2009
Philippines Business
Philippines Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com
Philippines Economy

The main crops in the Philippines agricultural sector are corn, rice, coconuts, copra, bananas and sugar cane. The production of timber, once a main export earner, has been suspended owing to severe deforestation.

A moderately sized mining industry produces copper, gold, silver, nickel and coal. Another source of revenue is offshore oil production which is in its initial stages. The country's current economic development has come from the industrial sector, with food processing, oil refining, and the production of chemicals, electrical machinery, metal goods and textiles.

Economic stimulants intended to lure foreign investment capital and the creation of 5 export processing zones (EPZ), with concessionary tax rates and tariffs, produced strong expansion from the early to mid-1990s. Growth came to a crashing halt in late 1997 when the sudden decrease of the region’s currencies brought stock-markets crashing, high inflation, the cessation of foreign investment and a large budget deficit. El Niño, the weather system which brings periodic havoc upon the Philippines, then exacerbated the situation further.

As one of the countries most affected by the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the Philippines has since picked up fairly well. Yearly expansion is 4.5%, while industrial production is up by six per cent after several years of decrease. Foreign aid, which include a US$100 million injection from the USA in 2002, helped the country’s bottomline. The weak spot though is unemployment that has increased gradually during the last few years and now stands at 11%. The long term economic prospects for the Philippines depends on the Government’s strength in pursuing particular and overdue reforms to the tax and banking systems as well as improvements to the country’s shaky infrastructure. The Philippines is a member of the Association of South East Asian Nations and the Asian Development Bank. It enjoys a trade surplus with most of its main trading partners, including USA, the UK and the Netherlands.

Doing Business in the Philippines

The weather condition is almost always warm and humid so short-sleeved shirts with a tie should be worn for business trips. Although many offices are air-conditioned, it is recommended to wear safari suits or a long-sleeved Filipino barong tagalog when meeting top business officials and executives. Appointments are necessary and it is customary to exchange business cards. English is widely spoken and the Filipinos have a US business style. The ideal time to visit the Philippines for business is from October to November and January to May. It is not recommended to visit around Christmas and Easter as delays tend to be inescapable.

Office hours: Normally Monday to Friday from 8.00 am to 12 noon and 1.00 pm to 5.00 pm, but this varies. Some personal offices are open on Saturday from 8.00 am to 12 noon.

Commercial Information

The following organisation's and groups can provide advice:

In London:

Philippine Trade and Investment Promotion Centre, 1a Cumberland House, Kensington Court, London W8 5NX, UK (telephone : (020) 7937 1898; fax: (020) 7937 2747

In Manila:

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 14th Floor Multinational Bancorporation Centre, 6805 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Philippines (tel: (2) 844 5713; fax: (2) 843 4102

Conferences and Conventions

Plenty of establishments belong to the Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation (PCVC) with offices in New York, Tokyo and Sydney. Contact the PCVC for more information.