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Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands

Import regulations and customs duties

Imports generally benefit from a liberalised regime. However, the imports of certain products are regulated and sometimes forbidden in accordance with the current laws, for health, national safety, or international requirements reasons or in order to protect the development of local industry.
Imports are currently classified into three categories according to the degree of restriction they are submitted to: freely imported products, regulated and forbidden products.
For regulated products, an import license is necessary. It is obtained by applying to the concerned authorities (for example, certain foodstuffs or pharmaceutical products require the authorisation of the Food and Drug Authority).
The third category consists in products forbidden on import, in accordance with the laws in application, such as, explosives, firearms and war weapons, precious metals, narcotics, drugs, coffee, etc.


Customs duties
The Filipino customs system is based on the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) of the United Nations (Revision 2). Duties are usually calculated ad valorem, and specified in the Philippines Customs Code. There is a programme of reduction and simplification of the duties in conformity with the liberalisation policy of the Philippine Government. In that perspective, the planned a customs system that will classify imported products only into two categories: raw materials and finished products. For these categories, fixed rates of respectively 3% and 10% duty will be applied. The objective of this programme should be achieved by January 1, 2003.




With 68 million inhabitants, Philippines are the third market in the region after Indonesia and Vietnam. Moreover, with its current growth rates the country is enlarging every year with one million inhabitants. The general distribution scheme in Philippines is not different from the traditional system: it is based on the manufacturer - distributor - retailer - final consumer chain. For big national or foreign companies, it is usual for them to possess representatives or subsidiaries in different areas of the country, in order to be more efficient in its distribution networks or its services.
Despite Philippines' geographic and demographic dimension, the relative importance of its economy in the region remains modest. The circumstances the country experienced during the last decade, political as well as economic, have strangled its growth pace, above all during the 1984_1993 period.


Transportation of goods

By road
The Philippines have a 160,000 km road network consisting in national highways interconnected by more than 11,000 bridges.

By rail
The Philippines have a very poor rail network in spite of the existence of a programme of expansion and modernisation of the Philippine government. A modernisation of the Luzon's network as well as the construction of a new network are planned.

By sea
The main ports are Manilla, Cebu, Lloilo, Zamboanga and General Santos.

By air
The NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) is the main airport of the country. It is located in the municipality of Paranaque at Metro Manille. The other international airports are Cebu and Davao.


The Bureau of Product Standards (BPS), is responsible for the promotion, co-ordination and institution of the activities relating to the approval and standardisation of products on the Philippine market. The main objective consists in supporting the various economic agenda for the promotion and control and to ensure the quality through the development of the technical standards, and the certification of products.
The system of certification of the BPS authorisers the use of the PS mark( Philippine Standards) for the companies which during the manufacture of their products, observe the relevant national and international standards. The BPS is a member of the ISO.

Patents and brands

The organisation responsible for the protection of intellectual property in the Philippines is the Office of Patents, Trademarks and Transfer of technology (BPTT) of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The country signed the Agreement of Bern for the Protection of Literary and artistic Works, the Agreement of Paris on Industrial Property and the agreement establishing the World Intellectual property Organisation (WIPO).

Texts currently applying to patents/brands

  Text Date entered into law Period of validity Comment
Trademark Law on Trademarks Initial period of 10 years


Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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