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The Philippines

Your Philippines cheat sheet that covers customs clearance and import duties for your eCommerce international shipping needs, eCommerce insights, and more

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The Philippines' B2C Customs Clearance Info and eCommerce Insights

Philippines flag
ID PH
Capital Manila
Official Language Tagalog
Currency Philippine peso (PHP)
Population Size 109 million

The Philippines’ eCommerce Market

Philippine’s eCommerce market value is US$1 billion at 2020 and is expected to grow to US$1.4 billion by 2024.

The growth of this industry has been driven by the continuous increase in the number of consumers as well as the average revenue earned per consumer for eCommerce. Furthermore, consumers are also spending more – an opportunity for online businesses to consider when expanding to the Southeast Asia region.

Customs & regulations

Import Duty and Taxes

Philippines maintains a de minimis value threshold of PHP10,000 on inbound B2C eCommerce goods.

Shipment value below PHP 10,000
Tax 0%
Shipment value above PHP 10,000
Goods & Services Tax (GST) 12%
Import Duties 0-20%
Restricted and Forbidden Goods

Restricted items that must meet certain conditions before going through customs clearance:

  • Firearms and explosives
  • Devices used in gambling or the distribution of money, cigars, cigarettes or other goods when such distribution is dependent on chance

  • Narcotic drugs
  • Opium pipes, and more

Prohibited items that cannot be imported into the market:

  • Written or printed goods that incite treason, rebellion, insurrection, or sedition against the Philippine government
  • Goods and materials that are designed for producing unlawful abortion

  • Goods that represents an obscene or immoral character

  • Goods manufactured in whole or in part of gold, silver or other precious metals/alloys, and the brand does not indicate the actual fineness of quality of the material, and more

  • Adulterated or misbranded food, drugs or goods for human consumption

This list may change depending on government regulations. Visit official customs page for the latest version.

Documentation

Documents required by the Philippines’ customs clearance include:

1. Packing List

This gives product details, shipment volume in kilogram or cubic meter, and serves as a checklist to ensure shipment has been packed correctly or not.

2. Commercial Invoice

This gives total shipment value usually in US dollar. Helps to determine the import duties and taxes, and eligibility of shipment.

If you are shipping without a logistics partner that can clear customs on your behalf, you may need to include the following shipping documentation as well:

  • Certificate of origin
  • Bill of lading or airway bill
  • Insurance policy
  • Other relevant permits, licenses, and certificates

Additional information

Payment preferences

Cash remains the preferred mode of payment for the majority of Filipino online shoppers at 47%. Considering that the Philippines still remains largely unbanked, with only 35% of its population having a bank account, digital payment methods are still in its nascent stage. The Philippine Central Bank (BSP) aims to have 70% of the Philippine population banked by 2023.

ECommerce sellers who wish to enter this market may want to consider offering multiple payment methods to attract more customers.

Non-working days in 2020

Saturday, Sunday and public holidays are non-working days. Please expect shipment delays on these days.

List of public holidays:

Date Holiday
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Jan 2 New Year’s Holiday
Jan 25 Chinese New Year
Feb 25 People Power Revolution
Mar 16 Davao City Day
Apr 9 The Day of Valor
Apr 9 Maundy Thursday
Apr 10 Good Friday
Apr 11 Black Saturday
May 1 Labor Day
May 24 Eid’l Fitr
Jun 12 Independence Day
Jun 24 Manila Day
Jul 31 Eid’l Adha
Aug 21 Ninoy Aquino Day
Aug 26 National Heroes Day
Nov 1 All Saints’ Day
Nov 2 All Souls’ Day
Nov 30 Bonifacio Day
Dec 8

Immaculate Conception Day

Dec 24 Christmas Eve
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 30 Jose Rizal Day
Dec 31 New Year’s Eve

 

Market Opportunities

Popular eCommerce Item Categories

 

  1. Footwear
  2. Fashion Apparel
  3. Beauty such as cosmetics
  4. Sports
Popular Shopping Seasons

 

Event Name Event Period
Lazada Birthday Sale Mar/Apr
Shopee’s 9.9 mobile shopping day Sep 9
11.11 Single’s Day Nov 11
Pinoy Cyber Sale Nov 27-30
12.12 Dec 12

Learn more about these events here.

Popular Shipping Destinations

 

EXPORTS
Rank Market
1 Japan
2 United States
3 Hong Kong
4 China
5 Singapore
IMPORTS
Rank Market
1 China
2 Japan
3 United States
4 Thailand
5 South Korea
Sources:

Worldometers (2020) | Statista (2020) | Philippines Customs (2020) | Asean Up (2019) | Philstar (2019)Office Holidays (2020)Tech in Asia (2018) | Frost & Sullivan “South East Asia Transportation and Logistics Market Forecast to 2018” (2017)

Updated as of 30 Jan 2020.

                               
Table of content
                                       

Table of content

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