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TRADING PARTNERS: The Philippines is one of the India’s main trading partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). India and the Philippines formally established diplomatic relations on November 26, 1949, shortly after both countries gained independence (Philippines in 1946 and India in 1947). The two countries marked 70 years of diplomatic relations in 2019.
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MAJOR EXPORTS: The Philippines imported $1.6 billion worth of goods from India in 2020, according to the United Nations Comtrade database on international trade. In November 2021, India exported Rs11.11 billion ($148 million) worth of goods to the Philippines, down from Rs18.41 billion in the previous month. The Philippines was India’s 29th biggest that month. Major items of Indian exports to the Philippines are pharmaceutical products, mineral fuels, and vehicles, parts and accessories.
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‘LOOK EAST POLICY’: India and Philippines signed a Trade Agreement in 1979. Bilateral trade was slow between the two countries till the late 1990s — before it posted a positive growth after the relations between India and ASEAN deepened in the context of India’s “Look East Policy’’. In the 2019-2020 period, bilateral trade stood at $1,738.99 million — with exports from India to the Philippines at $1,287.07 million, while India’s imports from the Philippines was recorded at $451.92 million in 2019-2020, according to data from India’s Ministry of Commerce.
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GAINING MOMENTUM: The bilateral relations gained momentum in 2019 when President Shri Ram Nath Kovind visited the Philippines in October 17-21, 2019 for a State Visit on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic relations between the two countries. Four agreements were exchanged during the visit — MoU on sharing of White Shipping information, MoU on Tourism Cooperation, Programme of Cooperation in the fields of Science and Technology for 2019-2022 and Cultural Exchange Programme for 2019-2023.
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TRADE AGREEMENT: The Agreement on Trade in Goods was signed on August 13, 2009 between India and ASEAN. It was fully implemented in 2011, which helped in boost India-Philippine bilateral trade. India is part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Negotiations (RCEP) which is expected to support and contribute to economic integration. Bajaj-brand auto rickshaws made in India are becoming a common sight in the Philippines, now competing with the “tricycle” popular for last-mile transport.
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TOP EXPORT EARNERS: Drugs and pharmaceutical products are India’s top exports to the Philippines, according to data from MOC data. In 2020, India’s pharmaceutical industry exported $267.84 million worth of products to the Philippines. Overall, Indian pharmaceutical industry exported $3.76 billion worth of goods between April 2021 and May 2021 to the rest of the world.
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BIGGEST EXPORT EARNERS: The second-leading Indian exports to the Philippines are mineral fuels, oils, distillation products at $254.13 million in 2020. Vehicles (other than railway and tramway) accounted for $153.66 million; followed by iron and steel at $139.29 million; Machinery, boilers at $107.23 million.
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OTHER KEY EXPORTS: Organic chemicals ($96.41 million), meat and edible meat offal ($82.97 million); electrical and electronic equipment ($74.67 million), cereals ($50 million); Articles of Iron or Steel ($39.08 million) rounded up the top 10 Indian exports to the east Asian country in 2020, according to Trading Economics Data. India has been the largest supplier of beef to the Philippines for decades.
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POTENTIAL: Trade and diplomatic officials said “existing full potential has not been realised and there is need to further facilitate trade between the two countries especially since both economies are growing and are complementary to each other.” An online listing of Basmati rice being sold in the Philippines under various brands.
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FROM MEAT AND MASALA TO MISSILES: On Friday (January 28, 2021) the Philippines has accepted Indian BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd's proposal worth $374.96 million to supply a shore-based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project. The Brahmas order is the first major military export by India. The BrahMos has range of 290 km, is a shore based anti-ship supersonic cruise missile. The Philippines signed a pact with Brahmos Aerospace Pvt ltd for the supply of three batteries of its missile system for the Philippine Navy. The BrahMos was developed by India jointly with Russia.
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