Major trading partners include the U.S., Japan, EU, A.S.E.A.N., Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia.
With their tropical climate, heavy rainfall, and naturally fertile volcanic soil, the Philippines
are predominantly agricultural.
Manufacturing is concentrated in metropolitan Manila, near the nation's prime port, but there has
been considerable industrial growth on Cebu, Negros, and Mindanao in recent years.
Asian Development Bank says the Philippines' financial sector is among the most resilient in the
Civil law system heavily influenced by Spanish and Anglo-American law.
A considerable number of Filipinos speak English, the nation's second language; Spanish is spoken
by a very small percentage of the population.
Chief agricultural exports are coconut products, lumber and plywood, and sugar.
Philippine top economic planners are sticking to the original economic targets such as GNP growth
rates of 4.5% to 5.5% for 2000. But the government will limit borrowings to keep the budget deficit
within or below the set ceiling. Preference is for tapping the domestic capital market instead of
overseas loan sources because of higher forecast interest rates following the U.S. Federal Board's
decision to adjust upward the cost of credit and curb inflation.
Implementation of the new Retail Trade Act and the Energy Reform Act is expected to improve the
business environment and spur a fresh inflow of foreign direct investment in medium-scale retail establishments
as well as large chain stores and big mall operators.
Filipinos have a deep regard for education, which they view as a primary avenue for upward social
and economic mobility.
Inflation rates increasing in recent months in the commodities sector.
Although foreign direct investment inflow has been slower than earlier expected, some significant
amount of capital is somehow generated by domestic sources in joint venture with strategic multinational
partners in promising areas of industry.
Joint ventures between local conglomerates like the Ayala Group, the Lopez, Gokongwei and Yuchengco
groups with foreign strategic partners have been formed, are being set up or negotiated in the IT
(information technology) sector; on the food, chemical and other major manufacturing areas; and even
in the development of natural resources.
Philippine society is characterized by many positive traits. Among these are strong religious faith,
respect for authority, and high regard for amor proprio (self-esteem) and smooth interpersonal relationships.
Women have always enjoyed greater equality in Philippine society than was common in other parts
of Southeast Asia.
The Philippines has traditionally had a private enterprise economy both in policy and in practice.
The government intervened primarily through fiscal and monetary policy and in the exercise of its
Economists have argued that tariff protection and investment protection favorably affected import-substitution
industries to the detriment of export industries.
Respect your elders
Be familiar with local customs
Be mindful of human rights issues
Discriminate based on race or gender
Criticize your elders