Trade activities between the Philippines and Israel have not been significant in the past decade, but the figure has increased from 2015 to 2016, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Trade between the two countries was negligible in past years, as evidenced by the 0.08% CAGR from 2003 to 2016. However, the figure jumped 22.33% from 2015 to 2016 from USD 150.22 million to 183.77 million. Israel also ranked 37th among the Philippines’ 226 trading partners last year, up from 41st in 2015 (out of 223 partners).
Despite the seemingly minuscule trade volume between the Philippines and Israel, the business sector has confidence in the growth and stability of the two countries’ trade relations. The governments of the two countries are working out an investment protection pact to boost investor confidence and trade relations.
Out of the major economic relations, commodity trade holds the biggest share.
Philippine exports to Israel grew by 20.37% from USD 46.23 million in 2015 to USD 55.65 million in 2016. This was due to an increase in the shipment of digital monolithic integrated circuits (+13.11%), frozen fish fillet (+54.74%), polypropylene in various forms (+94.19%), and tunas, skipjacks, and bonito fish (+100.67%).
The Philippine Export Marketing Bureau is promoting electronic manufacturing services, fresh and processed foods (especially in fish and coconut), and IT-BPM for export to Israel.
At an increase, Philippine imports from Israel grew by 23.21% from USD 103.99 million in 2015 to 128.12 million in 2016. This is attributed to higher imports of materials, accessories, and supplies for the manufacture of dice (+47.74%), tanks and other armored fighting vehicles (+948.39%). The import of materials, accessories, and supplies for the manufacture of semiconductor devices (+17.12%), and agricultural or horticultural liquid sprayers (+83.45%) grew, as well.
Israeli investors are targeting the Philippines as a possible investment site. In 2014, a total of PHP 20.77 million worth of investments came in from Israel, putting the island nation on the 38th place in investment inflows among foreign countries. However, while total foreign direct investment in the Philippines increased by PHP125,694.30 million in the fourth quarter of 2016, Israel’s total API-approved investments fell almost 50%, from PHP26.56 million in 2015 to PHP10.45 million last year.
BUREAU OF TRADE AND INDUSTRIAL POLICY RESEARCH – DTI