In 2017, the UAE became the Philippines’ largest trading partner in the Middle East, strengthening ties that were set up in 1980. At $1.49 billion (Dh5.47 billion), the UAE-Philippine trade amounted for 31% of the regional trade valued at $4.81 billion. This trend has continued till now. Hjayceelyn Quintana, the Philippine Ambassador to the UAE stated that since 2016, bilateral trade has steadily risen.
In 2016, bilateral trade was $893.11 million. It rose to $1.95 billion by 2018.
According to the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre (PTIC) based in Dubai, today, bilateral trade constitutes 31.9% of the Philippines’ total trade with the Middle East, which comes to $6.12 billion, but the UAE is also the Philippines’ 15th-largest import supplier, 16th-largest trading partner in the world, and 20th-largest export market.
Bilateral trade grew as a result of a leap in imports from the UAE to the Philippines, from $831.2 million in 2017 to $1.6 billion last year.
Charmaine S. Yalong, Commercial Attaché at PTIC-Dubai, stated that bilateral trade has been in favor of the UAE due to huge imports of petroleum and petroleum products, which are important requirements for the nation’s economic activities. In the meantime, exports to the UAE plunged from $658.03 million in 2017 to $396.24 million in 2018. Regardless of the plunge, it still amounts over half of the Philippines’ total exports to the Middle East ($699.36 million).
It’s not only trade that has noticed increased engagement in the last few years. The two countries have continued collaboration in the fields of agriculture, counter terrorism, food security, culture and sports, and labour.