The main exports include electronic products, textiles, coconut products, copper and seafood, while the main imports are petrochemical products, industrial machinery and equipment and other capital goods.
In the industry, there are mainly companies in the clothing and textile, pharmaceutical and chemical, wood, food and beverage, electronics and fish processing sectors. Heavy industry focuses on the manufacture of cement, glass, industrial chemicals, fertilizers, iron and steel, and refined petroleum products. In agriculture, the focus is on growing rice, coconuts, corn, sugar cane, bananas, pineapples and mangoes. The main products from livestock are pork, beef and eggs.
According to payhelpcenter, the Philippines is a country blessed by nature and extremely rich in natural resources. The country’s most important mineral resources include copper, nickel, gold, silver, iron ores, chromium, coal, mercury, limestone, quartz, marble, phosphorus and asbestos. Larger oil and gas deposits are suspected in some regions – including on the Spratlys claimed by several neighboring countries and in the Sulu Sea – where test drillings are already underway or advised. Natural gas reserves lie in front of Palawan and are used alongside geothermal and water energy to generate electricity. In mining alone, the value of hitherto untouched deposits is estimated at the equivalent of approximately one trillion US dollars.
In 1995 the government passed the controversial Mining Act, which, among other things, allows 100 percent foreign-owned companies to explore, develop, and exploit Philippine mineral resources. Much to the chagrin of protesting indigenous peoples and numerous civil society organizations, who see this as an additional burden for people, the environment and nature and a major hurdle for sustainable (economic) development. The Philippines are considered the second most dangerous place in the world for environmentalists and activists. In addition, the working conditions in the mines are extremely poor; here the Philippines take third place internationally. Only in Venezuela and Kyrgyzstan are the corresponding conditions even more miserable.
In recent years, so-called provincial clusters have emerged on the initiative of the government, whereby several of the country’s 80 provinces have been divided into larger development regions in order to better plan infrastructure projects and provide greater incentives for foreign investors. For example, with CALABARZON south of the metropolitan city of Manila, a “super region” was created which includes the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon. A large part of the special economic zones (PEZA zones) managed by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority are also located there. In this metropolitan region, however, the transport system is increasingly proving to be an immense (environmental) problem. Critics are already talking about a slowly fading MolochManila, where permanent traffic jams are causing ever greater economic damage.
According to the PEZA map At the end of October 2016, there were already 358 such zones across the country (including so-called health parks). A huge leap, considering the humble beginnings of such zones, which first emerged around three decades ago in Bataan, Mactan, Baguio and Cavite. Foreign companies enjoy tax advantages in these special economic zones. This includes a four to eight year exemption from corporation tax, after which a flat tax rate of five percent of gross income is payable. Labor and training costs are deductible. Outside these zones, tax exemptions are also possible, provided investments are made in sectors that are particularly worthy of support (including IT and IT-supported services, vehicle parts, building materials and ecological agriculture).
At the beginning of 2019, the expansion of the transport infrastructure is showing little effect despite concerted measures, which means that the demand for decentralization is emerging again: In order to counter the worsening traffic situation in the metropolis of Manila and other cities in the Philippines, the former Senate Chairman Juan Ponce Enrile called for the government to take the pressure off the nation’s capital by giving tax incentives to the creation of economic centers in other areas.
Above all in the tertiary sector, in the service sector, the greatest growth rates have been recorded in recent years. While its share of the gross domestic product was 37 percent at the beginning of the 1980’s, today it is – according to various sources – between 53 and 57 percent. Particularly in the “community, social and personal services” segment, considerable development potential is anticipated. There are already clinics that are preparing to increasingly provide (dental) medical care to foreign customers in the future.