Last updated in August 2017
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. Under the Government of President Rodrigo Duterte, however, the country has been increasingly distancing itself from the United States and the European Union.
There are regular political exchanges between Germany and the Philippines at government and parliamentary level.
The multilateral cooperation between Germany and the Philippines in areas such as climate policy and poverty reduction finds continued expression in bilateral relations which focus economic cooperation on related issues. Developments in the Philippine human rights situation 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.
Bilateral trade between Germany and the Philippines totalled 4.9 billion euros in 2016, down from 5.1 billion euros in 2015. German imports from the Philippines fell to 2.8 billion euros from 3.0 billion euros in 2015, and German exports to the Philippines decreased to 2.06 billion euros from 2.15 billion euros in 2015. Germany’s largest exports to the Philippines are electronic goods and electronic construction machinery, followed by other machinery. Aircraft as well as chemical and pharmaceutical products are also important exports.
Goods made in Germany enjoy an excellent reputation in the Philippines, but many types of goods are only available in the upper price segment. As a broader middle class emerges in the country’s big cities, long-term market opportunities in the consumer goods sector will improve.
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 services 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 promising future market. In addition, German companies in the industrial manufacturing sector have recently made investments in the Philippines.
The German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI), set up in 2008, was admitted to the network of German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHKs) in 2015. Germany is one of the biggest foreign investors in the country.
With a per capita GDP of 2900 US dollars (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 major partner of the Philippines in development cooperation. Peacebuilding and conflict transformation is a key focus of German-Philippine development cooperation. The Philippines is also a priority country for projects under the German Government’s International Climate Initiative. Other areas of bilateral development cooperation are the formulation of climate protection strategies, sustainable natural resource management, biodiversity protection and renewable energy promotion. Significant official development assistance contributions are also made by Germany through private German sponsors, churches and political foundations.
In addition to bilateral development cooperation, Germany is also of importance to the Philippines as a donor to multilateral organisations such as the United Nations and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
For the Philippines, where regular natural disasters such as tropical storms and earthquakes repeatedly cause humanitarian crises, Germany is also an important partner in terms of humanitarian aid. In the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013, Germany provided more than 176 million euros in aid, including 144 million euros in private donations to aid organisations and 32 million euros 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 intensified over the past few years through additional cooperation agreements, research projects and academic exchanges. Since summer 2008, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has funded a long-term lectureship in German Studies at the University of the Philippines. Overall, more than 300 Philippine scientists and scholars have received assistance from the DAAD or the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
The activities of the Goethe-Institut 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 areas of film, music, architecture, fine arts and photography. In addition, the Goethe-Institut has since the beginning of 2008 been actively 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 European School Manila (GESM), which was founded in 1980, is a recognised German school abroad leading to an upper secondary level leaving certificate. Since 1992, it has shared the so-called Eurocampus with the Lycée Français de Manille (LFM). The GESM offers a bilingual German-English International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, which is recognised in Germany as a higher education entrance qualification. In the 2008-2009 school year, the GESM introduced an English-language section, which is gradually being expanded. Level 1 of the German Language Certificate (DSD) has been awarded since 2014.
The German Embassy also organises its own events, such as chamber music concerts featuring Philippine and German musicians and provides ongoing support to 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 giving guest performances in Germany and take the top places in competitions.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.