Philippines - Country Commercial Guide
Prohibited & Restricted Imports

Includes a list of goods that are prohibited from being exported to the country or are otherwise restricted.

Last published date: 2020-07-22

Philippine law restricts the importation of certain goods for reasons of national security, environmental and public health protection, and order and morality, in addition to complying with international treaties and obligations.  Prohibited goods include:

  • Used clothing and rags;
  • Toy guns;
  • Right-hand drive vehicles;
  • Hazardous waste, even in transit into Philippine territory;
  • Laundry and industrial detergents containing hard surfactants; 
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs);
  • Used motorcycle parts, except engine; and
  • Live piranha, shrimp, and prawns.

The Philippine Tariff and Customs Code also prohibit the importation of the following goods:

  • Dynamite, gunpowder, ammunition, and other explosives, firearms, weapons of war, and parts thereof, except when authorized by law;
  • Written or printed articles containing information that advocates or incites: treason, rebellion, insurrection, sedition, subversion against the government, forcible resistance to laws, threats to life, or inflicting bodily harm upon any person in the Philippines;
  • Written or printed articles, negatives or cinematographic film, photographs, engravings, lithographs, objects, paintings, drawings, or other representation of an obscene or immoral character;
  • Articles, instruments, drugs, and substances designed, intended or adapted for producing unlawful abortion;
  • Roulette wheels, gambling outfits, loaded dice, marked cards, machines, apparatus or mechanical devices used in gambling or the distribution of money, cigars, cigarettes, or other when such distribution is dependent on chance, including jackpot and pinball machines or similar contrivances, or parts thereof;
  • Lottery and sweepstakes tickets except those authorized by  Philippine government, advertisements thereof, and list of drawings therein;
  • Any article manufactured in whole or in part of gold, silver or other precious metals or alloys thereof, the stamps, brands or marks of which do not indicate the actual fineness of quality of metals or alloys;
  • Weapons of mass destruction and goods included in the National Strategic Goods List (NSGL) as provided under the Strategic Trade Management Act;
  • Any adulterated or misbranded articles of food or any adulterated or misbranded drug in violation of the provisions of the Food and Drugs Act;
  • Marijuana, opium, poppies, coca leaves, heroin or any other narcotics or synthetic drugs, which are or may hereafter be declared habit forming by the President of the Philippines, or any compound, manufactured salt, derivative, or preparation thereof, except when imported by the government or any person duly authorized by the Dangerous Drugs Board, for medical purposes only;
  • Opium pipes and parts thereof, or whatever material; and,
  • All other articles and parts thereof, the importation of which is prohibited by law or rules and regulations issued by competent Philippine authority.

Regulated/Restricted Commodities

A broad range of commodities require import clearance/licenses from appropriate government agencies prior to importation into the Philippines.  Discretionary licensing arrangements are in place for rice imports.  The National Food Authority (NFA) is the sole importer of rice and continues to be involved in the importation of corn.  Private grain dealers with import clearance are allowed to import rice.

Furniture manufacturers and agents, as well as log and lumber contractors and lumber dealers, may import wood materials under several different licensing regimes.  Importers must submit a Phytosanitary Certificate issued by the country of origin to the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI).  The Department of Agriculture also issues biosafety permits for the use of genetically modified (GM) plant and plant products for field trials, commercial propagation, and/or direct use as food, feed, or processing. 

The table below lists other commodities with required import clearances issued by concerned Philippine government agencies:




Commodity Description/Commodity Group


Government Agencies Issuing Permits/Clearance

Essential Chemicals & Controlled Precursors; and Dangerous Drugs (Ketamine, Pseudoephedrine, Oripavine, Ameneptine, etc.)

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB)

Chemicals under the Philippine Priority Chemical List (PCL)


Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Energy Resource Development Bureau (DENR-ERDB)

Cyanide, Mercury, Asbestos, Polychlorinated Biphenyl, Chlorofluorocarbon and other ozone

depleting substances


Recyclable materials containing hazardous substances, i.e. scrap metals, solid plastic materials, electronic assemblies and scrap, used oil, fly ash, and used lead acid batteries

Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB)

Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Energy Resource Development Bureau (DENR-ERDB)


Coal, Anthracite

Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Energy Resource Development Bureau (DENR-ERDB)



Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB)

Live animals

Animal products and byproducts

Department of Agriculture (DA) – Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI)

Fishery and aquatic products

Department of Agriculture (DA) – Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)

Plants, planting materials, and plant products


Department of Agriculture (DA) – Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI)

Cane or beet sugar, and other artificial sweeteners

Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA)


Wood products

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) - Forest Management Bureau (FMB)

Semi-synthetic antibiotics (all form and salts of ampicillin, amoxicillin, and cloxacillin)

wheat flour; iodized salt; and all health products

Department of Health (DOH) - Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Color reproduction machines with 2,400 dots per inch (dpi) or higher

National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Central Bank

Explosives, blasting agents, and detonators

Chemicals used as ingredients in the manufacture of explosives (e.g. chlorates, nitrates and nitric acid, etc.)

Philippine National Police (PNP) - Firearms and Explosive Office

All fertilizers, pesticides and other such chemical products intended for agricultural use

Department of Agriculture (DA)-Fertilizer and

Pesticide Authority (FPA)

Used motor vehicles, trucks, and buses – including used parts and components

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) - Bureau of Import Services (BIS)

Used vehicles for the use of foreign diplomatic corps and accredited international organizations

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)

Aircrafts, engines, propellers

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)

All types of ships not wooden hulled, including fishing vessels/boats

Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA)

All commodities originating from the following socialist and centrally-planned economy countries: Albania, Angola, Ethiopia, Laos, Libya, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, and North Korea

Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC)


Nuclear and radioactive materials; Nuclear-related dual-use equipment and materials

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI)

Household appliances and lamp/lighting products; Wiring devices, wires and cables, mechanical/construction materials

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Bureau of Product Standards (BPS)

Selected medical devices; toys; water and medical waste treatment devices

Department of Health (DOH) - Food and Drugs Administration (FDA)

Radio transmitters/transceivers

National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)

Optical and magnetic media products

Optical Media Board

Electronic gaming machines and products

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR)

Legal tender Philippine notes and coins, checks, money order, and other bills of exchange drawn in pesos against banks operating in the Philippines in amount exceeding  PhP50,000

Central Bank





























































































For a comprehensive list of import commodities and details of regulating agencies, visit the DTI website at and Philippine National Trade Repository at  


Atty. Luis M. Catibayan
Bureau of Import Services
Department of Trade and Industry
3F Tara Building, 389 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City
Telephone No.: (+632) 8896-4431