Philippines - Country Commercial Guide
Prohibited & Restricted Imports
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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 and explosives,
  • 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 Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) prohibits the importation of the following goods:

  • Written or printed goods in any form containing any matter advocating or inciting treason, rebellion, insurrection, sedition against the government of the Philippines, or forcible resistance to any law of the Philippines, or written or printed goods containing any threat to take the life of, or inflict bodily harm upon any person in the Philippines,
  • Goods, instruments, drugs and substances designed, intended or adapted for producing unlawful abortion, or any printed matter which advertises, describes or gives direct or indirect information where, how or by whom unlawful abortion is committed,
  • Written or printed goods, negatives or cinematographic films, photographs, engravings, lithographs, objects, paintings, drawings, or other representation of an obscene or immoral character,
  • Any goods manufactured in whole or in part of gold, silver or other precious metals or alloys and the stamp, brand or mark does not indicate the actual fineness of quality of the metals or alloys,
  • Any adulterated or misbranded food or goods for human consumption or any adulterated or misbranded drug in violation of relevant laws and regulations,
  • Infringing goods as defined under the Intellectual Property Code and related laws, and
  • All other goods or parts thereof, which importation and exportation are explicitly prohibited by law or rules and regulations issued by the competent authority.

Unless authorized by law, the CMTA also prohibits the importation and transit of the following goods:

  • Dynamite, gunpowder, ammunitions and other explosives, firearms and weapons of war, or parts thereof,
  • 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 goods when such distribution is dependent on chance, including jackpot and pinball machines or similar contrivances, or parts thereof,
  • Lottery and sweepstakes tickets, except advertisements thereof and lists of drawings therein,
  • Marijuana, opium, poppies, coca leaves, heroin or 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 of the Philippines or any person duly authorized by the Dangerous Drugs Board, for medicinal purposes,
  • Opium pipes or parts thereof, of whatever material, and,
  • Any other goods whose importation are restricted.

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:

Table: 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, AnthraciteDepartment 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 productsDepartment 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 sweetenersSugar 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, excluding printersNational Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Central Bank

Explosives, blasting agents, and detonators

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

Philippine National Police (PNP) - Firearms and Explosive Office (FEO)
All fertilizers, pesticides and other 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 componentsDepartment of Trade and Industry (DTI) - Bureau of Import Services (BIS)
Used vehicles for the use of foreign diplomatic corps and accredited international organizationsDepartment of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
Aircrafts, engines, propellersCivil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)
All types of ships not wooden hulled, including fishing vessels/boatsMaritime 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)


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


Bureau of Import Services - Department of Trade and Industry

389 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City, Philippines