Bilateral trade between Philippines and Germany substantially dropped in the first half of 2020 mainly due to the impact of the COVID-19 quarantines that disrupted global supply chains.
Martin Henkelmann, executive director of the German Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI), who presented the “Philippine-German Business Relations in Times of Covid-19 and EU-PH FTA Negotiations” during the inaugural meeting of the Joint Economic Commission of the two countries highlighted that the enhanced economic cooperation between the Philippines and Germany creates great business opportunities for the mutual benefit of the two countries and for the businesses involved.
Henkelmann showed that German exports to the Philippines dropped by 8.1 percent value at 1 billion euros in the first semester this year. But Philippine exports to Germany declined by 26.5 percent, more than triple the decrease in Germany’s imports from the Philippines, valued at 1.5 billion euros.
Bilateral trade in 2019 stood at 6.5 billion euros with the balance of trade heavily in favor of the Philippines, which exported 4 billion euros, and Germany exported 2.5 billion euros worth only. Two-way trade also improved in the past years from 5.6 billion euros in 2017 and 6.3 billion in 2018.
German business confidence in the Philippine economy had been improving from 60 percent in 2017 to 66 percent in 2018 and 71 percent in 2019.
The inaugural meeting of the JEC that took place on 15 September 2020 in a virtual format was chaired by Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo from the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Parliamentary State Secretary Marco Wanderwitz from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).
As the JEC emphasizes the role of the private sector in the bilateral relations, it featured several companies and associations from both the Philippines and Germany such as IMI, Lufthansa Technik, DMCI Holdings, BAUER Spezialtiefbau, Continental, SEIPI and EBS.
GPCCI President Stefan Schmitz also pointed out: “GPCCI stays committed to promote the bilateral business relations despite these trying times.”
The Joint Declaration of Intent to establish the JEC was signed in August 2019. The inaugural JEC
meeting was now organized by DTI, BMWi, the Philippine Embassy in Berlin, the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA) together with the German Asia-Pacific Business Association (OAV) and the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.