Netherlands Embassy in Manila, Philippines

Doing Business

The Philippine economy withstood the global economic downturn better than any other ASEAN country. Besides being limitedly affected by the plagued international securities, the Philippines enjoyed buoyant domestic consumption, low dependence on exports and large amounts of remittances flowing into the country from the millions of Filipinos working abroad, further cushioning the impact of the world-wide economic crisis. With a current account balance surplus, a stable banking system, a well performing stock market, a constantly expanding business outsourcing industry and record-high levels of international reserves, prospects for the Philippine economy are good. HSBC has even projected that the Philippines will become the 16th largest economy in the world by 2050 — larger than neighboring Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand or even oil-producing Saudi Arabia or the Netherlands.

The country’s sound macroeconomic fundamentals are perceived to be strong and the Philippine Government is making significant efforts to improve the business environment in order to increase the country’s competitiveness and its ability to attract foreign investments. In fact, the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) noted that the Philippines global competitiveness rank improved its position from 75th five years ago to 47th in 2015. A persistent matter of concern is the unequitable distribution of wealth and the low level of social economic development of large parts of the population. Furthermore, the regularity of natural devastations as a result of a combination of natural disasters and a vulnerable natural environment is another matter of concern.

The Embassy promotes Dutch economic and trade interests in the Philippines while also assisting and encouraging Dutch companies in doing business with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The embassy staff reports to headquarters about the investment climate, trade and economic policies, and trends in markets of potential interest to Dutch product and service exporters. Additionally, the embassy conducts information meetings about Dutch commercial grant programs aimed at promoting mutually beneficial joint venture partnerships between Dutch and Filipino companies. The Embassy also promotes the interests of individual Dutch companies doing business in the Philippines by linking them with relevant Philippine government offices and private industry associations.

The economic department of the embassy in Manila consists of a head of department, two senior commercial officers and two interns.

The economic mandate of the Embassy in Manila is twofold:

  1. Promote economic diplomacy and sustainable and inclusive business in the Philippines, whereby Embassy activities are mostly demand-driven, and
  2. Liaise with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in order to promote business opportunities resulting from ADB projects in the whole of Asia.

For any inquiries or assistance, feel free to contact the economic department through


Economic-Related Services and Activities

Netherlands Enterprise Agency ( encourages entrepreneurs in sustainable, innovative and international business. It helps with grants, finding business partners, know-how and compliance with laws and regulations.

The aim is to improve opportunities for entrepreneurs and strengthen their position. The Agency works at the instigation of ministries and the European Union.

Netherlands Enterprise Agency is part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The organisation has been in existence since 2014 and is the result of a merger between NL Agency and the Dienst Regelingen. Some activities of the Commodities Boards are also included.

Netherlands Enterprise Agency focuses on providing services to entrepreneurs. It aims to make it easier to do business using smart organisation and digital communication. The Agency works in The Netherlands and abroad with governments, knowledge centres, international organisations and countless other partners.

See also: Entrepreneurship and innovation is an English website, hosted by the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs (EVD), providing useful information classified into categories such as the Netherlands Economy, Market information and Business information.

  • Market Information: sector analyses, “made in Holland/sector publications”, market entry, distribution, new products, etc.
  • Business information: company directories, Dutch representatives abroad, match making facilities, rules and regulations, trade enquiries, events, etc.

Philippine Netherlands Business Council (PNBC)

PNBC was founded by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PCCI) and The Netherlands Embassy in 2005 to promote economic and social relations, enhance business linkages with potential trading partners abroad, establish a strong channel of communication, and strengthen business networks. The PNBC establishes an official gateway to a platform for the voice of the PH-NL business community with the objectives of promoting PH-NL ties, establishing connections, identifying opportunities, fostering friendship and assisting in growth. For more information about membership or the PNBC’s activities please contact the PNBC at


Private Sector Development Instruments available for the Philippines:

For further promotion and strengthening of economic relations, the following Dutch trade instruments are offered in the Philippines:

Development Related Infrastructure Investment Vehicle (DRIVE) – DRIVE facilitates investments in infrastructural projects that contribute towards a good business climate and entrepreneurship in the area of water, climate, food security and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Projects must be supportive of, and build on the Dutch agenda for aid, trade and investment, for instance by joining initiatives that have already been developed as part of Dutch development policy.

Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) - the DGGF provides for the conditions to development related trade and investment in 68 countries through financial assistance.

Partner for Water Scheme - set up by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the scheme encourages the use of innovative, water-related Dutch solutions to urban deltas, and their supply systems, in other countries. In this way, the scheme will increase water security and water safety, as well as boosting the added value of the Dutch water sector. It is expected to close August 2016.

Starters International Business (SIB) – This program aims to support companies likely to be successful with their first steps in a foreign market. Companies can apply for a voucher worth € 2,400 that can be used for individual coaching support supplied by various agencies, such as chamber of commerce, various trade associations and consulting companies.

Dutch Risk Reduction (DRR) team - The Dutch water expertise is widely known and Dutch experts are involved in water related projects all over the world. The Dutch government together with the Dutch water sector founded the Dutch Risk Reduction Team (DRR-Team).

With the DRR instrument the Netherlands is able to cover the entire disaster management cycle from mitigation, preparedness and response to recovery.

Sustainable Water Fund (FDW) - The Sustainable Water Fund (FDW) is a Public-Private Partnership facility in the field of water and sanitation, which aims to contribute to water safety and water reliability in developing countries. In real terms this means collective initiatives between governmental bodies, industry and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) or knowledge institutions that focus on the following subthemes and which may be eligible for subsidies from FDW:

  • Improved access to drinking water and sanitation
  • Efficient and sustainable water use, particularly within agriculture
  • Safe deltas and improved basin management.

The following Private Sector Development Apps:

Government to Government Cooperation (G2G) – G2G handles cooperation projects with which Dutch governmental institutions help foreign governments to tackle various bottlenecks in the field of private sector development. The projects provide technical assistance and focus on institutional strengthening and capacity / inside (government) organizations.

Knowledge to Knowledge cooperation (K2K) – The purpose of K2K is to strengthen knowledge institutions in order to improve the business climate in targeted areas that are relevant to the bilateral economic relations. The main objective for a K2K is filling a knowledge gap abroad, in order to remove specific bottlenecks in the business climate that are of relevance to the Dutch aid, trade and investment agenda.

Training of managers and entrepreneurs (NMTP) – NMTP is a practical training and traineeship program for managers and entrepreneurs with as main goal strengthening of economic relations between Dutch companies and local companies (B2B).

Incoming and outgoing (trade) missions – Outgoing and incoming missions are fully organised missions in which multiple companies participate, mostly companies that already have a clear picture of the investment and trade opportunities in a country. A proven concept is organising a trade missions after an initial market research (also possible via PSD Apps).

Matchmaking Facility (MMF) - The MMF assists local businesses particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries to establish joint business relations (investment, trade or knowledge transfer) with Dutch companies. Application for MMF should be made and submitted by the local company to the Netherlands Embassy for initial evaluation.

Dutch Resource Facility (DRF) – Helping countries strengthen their capacity to govern natural resources and energy stocks.


The Philippines also benefits from the services and expertise of the following Dutch trade support organizations:

Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) – CBI assists local companies in exploring export opportunities in the Netherlands and Europe. CBI sends technical consultants to the Philippines to provide training to small and medium business enterprises. The Philippines Exporters Confederation Inc. or Philexport is the local partner of CBI in the Philippines.

Senior Experts Programme (PUM) - sends experienced Dutch senior managers to the Philippines to provide on-site advice on sales and marketing, administration, capacity building among others to entrepreneurs in developing countries. PUM representative offices are located in Cagayan de Oro, Cebu and Davao.