Last updated in November 2016
The Philippines has a population of over 100 million, making it one of the world’s most populous countries. With its democratic constitution, the Philippines is part of the Western community of shared values.
The visit to Germany by Philippine President Aquino in September 2014 gave new impetus to bilateral political relations. During his two-day visit, President Aquino met for talks with Federal Chancellor Merkel and Federal President Gauck.
There is regular political exchange between the two countries at government and parliamentary level.
In bilateral relations, the trustful multilateral cooperation between Germany and the Philippines, e.g. on climate policy and fighting poverty, is mirrored by a corresponding agenda in economic cooperation. Developments in the human rights situation there are monitored as a part of a critical dialogue on human rights. Official relations between the two countries are complemented by the activities of Germany’s political foundations and broad engagement on the part of German civil society.
In 2015, the volume of trade between Germany and the Philippines reached EUR 5.24 billion, compared with EUR 4.8 billion in 2014. German imports from the Philippines increased to EUR 3.09 billion from EUR 2.73 billion in 2014, and German exports to the Philippines rose to EUR 2.15 billion from EUR 2.04 billion in 2014. 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, transport and insurance sectors also 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, was admitted to the German Chamber Network in 2015. Germany is one of the biggest foreign investors in the country.
With a per capita GDP of USD 2,900 (2015), the Philippines is among Southeast Asia’s weakest economies. More than 20 million people in the Philippines live below the poverty line.
Germany is a principal partner of the Philippines in development cooperation.
One priority of German-Philippine development cooperation is peace-building and conflict transformation. The Philippines is also a priority country for projects of the Federal Government’s International Climate Initiative. Other areas of bilateral development cooperation are developing climate protection strategies, the sustainable management of natural resources, protecting biodiversity and promoting the use of renewable energy. In addition, significant official development assistance contributions are made by Germany through private German sponsors, the churches and political foundations.
Besides bilateral development cooperation, Germany is also of importance to the Philippines as a donor to multilateral organisations including the United Nations and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
For the Philippines, where regularly occurring natural disasters such as tropical storms and earthquakes repeatedly give rise to humanitarian disasters, Germany is also an important partner in terms of humanitarian aid. In the wake of the Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013, Germany provided EUR 176 million in aid, including EUR 144 million in private donations to aid organisations and EUR 32 million in government funding for humanitarian aid and reconstruction.
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 Language Certificate Level I has been awarded since 2014.
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.