Bilateral Economic and Commercial Relations

Embassy of India Manila
Bilateral Trade and Economic Relations


India and Philippines signed a Trade Agreement in 1979. Bilateral trade was slow between the two countries till the late nineties and then posted a positive growth after the deepening relations between India and ASEAN in the context of Indias Look East Policy. The Agreement on Trade in Goods, which was signed on 13 August 2009 between India and ASEAN; and was fully implemented in 2011, helped in increase in bilateral trade. India is part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Negotiations (RCEP) which will also support and contribute to economic integration. Bilateral trade presently stands at US $ 1738.99 mln (Exports from India-USD 1287.07mln, Indias imports USD 451.92mln). [Source: MOC for CFY 2019-20 Apr-Jan]. Existing full potential has not been realized and there is need to further facilitate trade between the two countries especially since both economies are growing and are complementary to each other.

Philippines-India Exports and Imports (in million US$) FY

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2017-18 2019-20*
Indias Import from Philippines 423.04 494.62 764.36 581.10 451.92
Indias Export to Philippines 1353.34 1,482.52 1,693.83 1,743.64 1287.07
Total Trade 1776.38 1977.14 2458.19 2324.74 1738.99

Source: MOC India *Apr-Jan

2. Major items of Indian exports are Vehicles, and parts and accessories, Pharmaceutical products, Reactors, Boilers, Machinery and Mechanical Appliances; parts thereof, Iron and Steel, Frozen Buffalo Meat & Edible Meat offal, Rubber and Articles thereof,Electrical Machinery and Equipment and parts thereof, TV image and Sound recorders and Reproducers and parts, Rubber and Articles thereof, Oil Seeds and Olea, Fruits, Misc grains, Seeds, Organic Chemicals, Articles of Iron and Steel.

Sl No HS Code Commodity 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 (Apr-Jan)
1 87 Vehicles other than Railway or Tramway Rolling stocks, and part and accessories thereof. 231.31 249.97 254.24 285.59 238.57
2 30 Pharmaceutical Products 175.00 209.15 197.32 220.98 201.80
3 84 Reactors, Boilers, Machinery and Mechanical Appliances; parts thereof. 184.68 168.8 120.52 136.71 135.08
4 72 Iron and Steel 14.03 33.54 176.42 101.84 68.79
5 2 Meat & Edible Meat offal 116.44 100.51 117.59 119.73 64.03
6 85 Electrical Machinery and Equipment and parts thereof; TV image and Sound recorders and Reproducers and parts. 78.77 63.28 56.08 65.40 60.48
7 40 Rubber and Articles thereof 73.8 78.07 23.19 69.79 56.72
8 12 Oil Seeds and Olea, Misc grains, Seeds and Fruit; Industrial or Medicinal Plants; Straw and Fodder. 67.59 66.83 55.03 55.15 52.91
9 29 Organic Chemicals 37.44 37.45 37.52 45.97 39.33
10 73 Articles of Iron and Steel 26.37 23.94 28.52 77.39 27.30

3.         Major imports from Philippines areReactors, Boilers, Machinery and Mechanical Appliances; parts thereof; Electrical Machinery and Equipment and parts thereof; Sound Recorders and Reproducers, TV image and Sound recorders and Reproducers and parts; Ores, slags and ashes;, Natural or Cultured pearls, precious or semiprecious stones, Clad with Pre metal and artcls thereof, Imit. Jewelry; Residues and waste from the Food Industries, prepared animal folder;Optical, Photographic Cinematographic measuring, checking precision, medical, or surgical Inst. and apparatus parts and accessories thereof; Iron and Steel;Lead and articles thereof, Organic chemicals; Plastic and articles.

Top IMPORT products of Trade from Philippines  (Source: MoC) (In US $ Millions)

Sl No HS Code Commodity 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20(Apr-Jan)
1 84 Nuclear Reactors, Boilers, Machinery and Mechanical Appliances; parts thereof 96.9 98.88 129.85 139.18 114.11
2 85 Electrical Machinery and Equipment and parts thereof; Sound Recorders and Reproducers, TV image and Sound recorders 145.48 140.71 282.89 120.16 98.52
3 26 Ores, Slags and Ashes 15.92 1.59 1.59 29.13 28.77
4 71 Natural or Cultured pearls, precious or semiprecious stones, Pre metals, Clad with Pre metal and artcls thereof; Imit. jewelry; 74.82 20.56 48.26 68.47 28.46
5 23 Residues and waste from the Food Industries; prepared animal fodder 13.23 13.01 22.06 19.41 25.57
6 90 Optical, Photographic Cinematographic measuring, checking precision, medical, or surgical Inst. thereof. 20.42 25.12 26.59 22.26 17.63
7 72 Iron and Steel 5.01 7.68 14.23 25.66 14.30
8 78 Lead and articles thereof 0 0 0.25 2.76 13.19
9   29   Organic Chemicals 6.88 9.94 11.37 12.39 5.13
10 76 Plastic  and articles 0.50 1.01 4.97 14.23 4.50
a) Indian Investments in the Philippines
4.         India and Philippines signed an Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion in 1990, and an Agreement for Promotion and Protection of Investments (BIPPA) in 2000, which is now being revised. (Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) signed between the two countries on 28 January 2000 which had an initial tenure of 10 years and  came into force on 29 January 2001 expired on 28 January 2011 in accordance with Article 14 of the said Agreement. The Government of India has now proposed to terminate the Agreement and has proposed instead to enter into a new Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) based on the Model text for the Indian Bilateral Investment Treaty). 
5.         Indian investment in the Philippines is mainly in the areas of textiles, garments, IT&ITes, steel, Airports, chemicals, Automobiles and pharmaceuticals. Some of the major Indian investments in Philippines are the Aditya Birla Group in textiles & Chemicals (Indo Phil Group), Ispat Group in Steel. A recent major entrant has been the  GMR group Ltd, who in collaboration with Megawide, won the bid in April 2014 for upgrading and running the Cebu-Mactan airport project for the next 25 years and have commenced operations in November 2014.  In addition, GMR also won the contract for expansion of the Clark International Airport. Tata Motors and Mahindra have made their presence felt in the Automobile sector. Mahindra Motors is an active player to the Jeepney Modernization Program of the Department of Transportation (DOTR) of the Philippine Government through the supply of modern jeeps in the local market as the common mode of transportation for Filipinos.

6.         Collaboration in the BPO sector has grown exponentially in the last few years. Several Indian IT companies have already set up BPO operations in the Philippines and these include companies like WIPRO, TCS, L&T Infotech, Innodata, IL&FS Genpact, Infosys, HIGS (Hindujas), Tech Mahindra etc. This close partnership in IT & BPO has become a win-win situation for both countries. 
7.         Similarly India has a strong presence in Pharma (Generics) where Pharma major firms like Dabur Pharma, Lupin, Torrent, ZydusCadilla, Claris Life sciences have set up liaison office to promote their products. Lupin has also acquired a stake in a local company. 
8.         Estimated Indian investments in the Philippines are valued at more than US $ 900 mln. During the last few years, Indian companies have successfully executed some small and medium sized projects in the Philippines. Kalpataru and Kamani Engineering Corporation are presently engaged in executing transmission line projects in the Mindanao regions of the Philippines. Other engineering firms have been repairing and setting up sugar plants for Philippine companies.

Recent Indian investments in the Philippines
9.         The WIPRO Enterprises Pvt. Ltd has acquired a Filipino line of personal care products called Splash Corp, valued at about US$ 200 million. Larson & Toubro (L&T) India won the bidding conducted by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for the Marilao 230 KV EHV Sub-Station Power Transmission Project. OYO, India’s largest chain of budget hotels, has expanded into the Philippines with an initial outlay of at least $ 50 million over the next few years. OYO’s investment programme may generate more than 1000 direct and indirect job opportunities for those in the hospitality industry. Currently, OYO is present in Metro Manila, Tagaytay City and  Cebu City and its plan is to spread out to more than 10 cities and locations in the Philippines by 2020, including Palawan, Boracay and Davao.

10.       Indian automotive technology company CarDekho Group has acquired local automotive website Carmudi Philippines, Inc. With this acquisition, CarDekho’s technologies are expected to upgrade the buying and selling website experience for Carmudi Philippines in web marketing of second-hand cars in the Philippines which has grown at 14.4% compounded annual growth rate from 2014-2018. Prasaad Seeds Phils. Inc. has invested Peso 175 million in Pangsasinan, Philippines.

11.       Potential sectors for Indian companies in Philippines:

  • IT-non voice sectors, particularly in medical, financial and legal services, game development, engineering design in manufacturing, software development
  • Pharma: Generics, medical equipment, vaccine, OTC, oncology and high end medicines, herbal medicines etc
  • Infrastructure- Airports, Ports, Railways, Roads etc - through the PPP route
  • Manufacturing: Electronics, Ship building, tools and dyes, furniture, garments, Power and Transport
  • Automobiles
  • Renewable Energy (RE) Sector
  • Agribusiness: Cacao, Coffee, mangoes, bananas, coconuts, rubber, bamboo, fruits and nuts, palm oil and other high value crops.
  • Tourism: Hotels, Services, management etc
  • Services and logistics.

II. (b) Philippine Investments in India
12.       Philippine investments in India are modest and in telecommunications, IT, real estate and reprocessing of waste and human resource development (management education).  Some of the companies operating in India are: V. Merida (processing of waste), Ayala (Construction & ITES); Philippine Wireless (Paging service), SPI Technologies (ITES); Del Monte &Liwayway (Food processing), Lloyd Lab (Pharma) etc. The biggest investment for the Philippines to India is the LNG plant being set up in Kokinada (AP) by AG&P, Philippines. AG&P plans to invest up to US $ 1.4 billion in LNG plants in the East Coast of India as well as in the 12 city gas grids in India that they have won in open bidding in 2019.


13.       JWG:  The India-Philippine Joint Working Group (JWG) on Trade and Investment has been meeting fairly regularly under the joint Chairmanship of our Commerce Secretary and Philippines Undersecretary for Trade and Industry.  The 12th Joint Working Group on Trade and Investments was held in New Delhi on 31 March 2016. Both sides noted with satisfaction that the bilateral trade has been increasing on a sustained basis but acknowledged that there was more scope.

14.       The 3rd JWG on Health and 2nd JWG on Agriculture took place in April and May, 2018 respectively.  Also the India-Philippines ‘Air-Consultation Talks’ were held on 11-12 July, 2018. During this meeting, MoU on Air Services Agreement was initialedpaving the way for direct flights between both the countries, which may increase the flow of trade and tourism into higher level in the near future.

15.       JBC: The India-Philippine Joint Business Council (JBC) was set up in 1994 and it has met seven times starting in 1995.  The nodal agencies are the Philippine-India Business Council under PCCI on the Philippine side and the FICCI on the Indian side.   FICCI led a delegation of 12 businessmen to Manila from March 3-6, 2014 and again in November 2017 for the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit. The delegation met the Secretary of Trade & Industry, various local chambers of commerce and businessmen during their visit.


16.       Trade delegations have been encouraged to Philippines to facilitate direct interaction with Filipino businessmen. In 18 January 2019, an event entitled Pharma Biz Connect 2019 was participated by an Indian Delegation comprising of 23 pharmaceutical companies while more than 50 Philippine companies and government agencies attended jointly the business forum in the morning and buyer-seller meeting (BSM) in the afternoon. Industry associations such as the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), Drugstores Association of the Philippines (DSAP) and Philippine Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry (PCPI) were also in attendance during the event. The B2B activity generated lot of inquiries and around US$ 3.5 millionsbook orders were placed by Philippine companies.

17.       The Philippines-India Business Conclave and the ASEAN-India Business Summit were organized on 19 October 2019 to coincide with the visit of the President of India to the Philippines which was the first of its kind and the biggest such business event ever held in the Philippines covering Digital Technologies, Innovation, Health & Pharmaceuticals and Agriculture. Furthermore, the Embassy together with Indian delegation, participated in similar business summit and trade events in the Philippines such as PHILCONSTRUCT 2019, Rice Conference 2019, and ASEAN-India Innovation Technology Summit and Grassroots Forum.   


18Indian as well as Filipino nationals do need a visa to visit each other’s country. However, India offers e-Tourist visa also to Filipino nationals. The flow of tourism is expected to grow with the MOU on Air Services Agreement (ASA) signed by both countries. Presently the overall yearly tourism figures totals about 1,25,000 (around 1,00,000 Indians visited Philippines and 25,000 Filipinos to India). India is among the top ten sources of tourism to the Philippines and is one of the fastest growing market. 


Updated as of 30 April  2020