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Philippines

Philippines

Last updated in November 2015

Political relations

Germany plays a prominent political role among the European partners of the Philippines. 2014 marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Recent years have seen an increase in the number of mutual high-level political visits compared with previous years.

In September 2014, President Aquino travelled to Germany on what was the first visit by a Philippine head of state in 20 years. During his two-day visit, President Aquino met for talks with Federal Chancellor Merkel and Federal President Gauck. There followed visits to Germany by Philippine Finance Secretary Purisima, Environment Secretary Paje, Energy Secretary Petilla and Trade and Industry Secretary Domingo in March, April, May and June 2014, respectively. Philippine Foreign Minister del Rosario paid a visit to Germany in December 2011.

Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Maria Böhmer travelled to Manila in March 2014 in the wake of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan and Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs von der Leyen visited the Philippines in March 2013. Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle visited the Philippines in February 2013, holding talks with President Aquino. The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid Christoph Strässer visited the Philippines in September 2014. Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Brigitte Zypries travelled to the Philippines in October 2015.

Economic relations

In 2014, the volume of trade between Germany and the Philippines reached EUR 4.8 billion, compared with EUR 4.08 billion in 2013. German imports from the Philippines increased to EUR 2.73 billion and German exports to the Philippines rose to EUR 2.04 billion. Electronic goods and electronic construction machinery are the principal exports, followed by other machinery. Aircraft, chemical and pharmaceutical products also play a major role.

Goods made in Germany enjoy an excellent reputation in the Philippines, but many types of goods are only available in the upper price bracket. As a broader middle class emerges in the country’s big cities, long-term market opportunities in the consumer goods sector will improve. With a population of over 100 million, the Philippines is one of the world’s most populous countries.

Given the Philippines’ stable macroeconomic environment and high growth rates, there are clear signs of positive developments in economic relations between the two countries. In recent years, German companies making new investments in the IT-based service sector have outsourced internal business processes to the Philippines or opened their own call centres there. German companies in the maritime and transport sectors, too, see the Philippines as a future market. In the industrial manufacturing sector as well, more and more German investors are showing interest in the Philippines.

The German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI), which was set up in 2008, has since firmly established itself  and was officially admitted to the German Chamber Network in 2015. This shows that German companies are attaching increasing importance to the Philippines as a place to do business. Germany is already one of the biggest foreign investors in the country.

In the so-called Fraport case, which has strained investment relations between the two countries for more than ten years, the Philippine government expropriated, in December 2004,  Manila Airport’s new international terminal, construction of which by a German-Philippine consortium was completed in December 2002, without any compensation being paid. In September 2015, the Supreme Court of the Philippines ruled that the Philippine government is obliged to pay compensation. The judgement is not yet final and absolute.

Development cooperation

In 2014, the volume of trade between Germany and the Philippines reached EUR 4.8 billion, compared with EUR 4.08 billion in 2013. German imports from the Philippines increased to EUR 2.73 billion and German exports to the Philippines rose to EUR 2.04 billion. Electronic goods and electronic construction machinery are the principal exports, followed by other machinery. Aircraft, chemical and pharmaceutical products also play a major role.

Goods made in Germany enjoy an excellent reputation in the Philippines, but many types of goods are only available in the upper price bracket. As a broader middle class emerges in the country’s big cities, long-term market opportunities in the consumer goods sector will improve. With a population of over 100 million, the Philippines is one of the world’s most populous countries.

Given the Philippines’ stable macroeconomic environment and high growth rates, there are clear signs of positive developments in economic relations between the two countries. In recent years, German companies making new investments in the IT-based service sector have outsourced internal business processes to the Philippines or opened their own call centres there. German companies in the maritime and transport sectors, too, see the Philippines as a future market. In the industrial manufacturing sector as well, more and more German investors are showing interest in the Philippines.

The German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI), which was set up in 2008, has since firmly established itself  and was officially admitted to the German Chamber Network in 2015. This shows that German companies are attaching increasing importance to the Philippines as a place to do business. Germany is already one of the biggest foreign investors in the country.

In the so-called Fraport case, which has strained investment relations between the two countries for more than ten years, the Philippine government expropriated, in December 2004,  Manila Airport’s new international terminal, construction of which by a German-Philippine consortium was completed in December 2002, without any compensation being paid. In September 2015, the Supreme Court of the Philippines ruled that the Philippine government is obliged to pay compensation. The judgement is not yet final and absolute.

Cultural cooperation

The cultural agreement concluded between Germany and the Philippines in 1983 forms the basis for wide-ranging and partner-like cooperation in the cultural sector.

Cooperation in higher education has been stepped up over the past few years through additional cooperation agreements, research projects and academic exchange. Since summer 2008, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has funded a long-term lectureship in German at the University of the Philippines. Altogether, more than 300 Filipino scientists have received assistance from the DAAD or the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

The activities of the Goethe Institute in Manila, which was established in 1961, focus on language work (German courses and language training for teachers in the Philippines) and programme work in the following areas: film, music, architecture and the fine arts/photography.  In addition, since the beginning of 2008 the Goethe Institute has been increasingly involved in the recruitment of partner schools under the Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH) and in building and expanding already existing German-language-teaching institutions into a nationwide network.

The German School in Manila (DESM), which was founded in 1980, is a recognised German School Abroad leading to the German secondary school-leaving certificate Sekundarschulabschluss II. Since 1992, it has shared the so-called Eurocampus with the French School. The DESM offers a bilingual German-English International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, which is recognised in Germany as a university-entrance qualification. In the 2008/2009 school year, the DESM introduced an English-language section, which is gradually being extended.

The German Embassy also organises its own events, such as chamber music concerts featuring Filipino and German musicians, as well as looking after former scholarship holders, who on their return from Germany form a valuable bridge between the two countries. Numerous German-Philippine friendship associations contribute to cultural exchange. Philippine choirs are always very well received when making guest appearances in Germany and garner the top places in competitions.

Development cooperation

Philippines is a partner country of German development cooperation. For more information please visit the website of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

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