The Philippines and the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries in the Twenty-First Century

Alvin Camba and Asma Alkaabi

Our report analyzes the Philippines’ relations with the GCC countries in three key dimensions. First, we look at economic relations, including foreign direct investment (FDI), trade, and development finance. Second, we analyze the political importance of the Philippines to specific GCC states and how GCC countries have responded to international issues prioritized by the Philippines. And finally, we examine the political economy of Philippine labor exports, an economic strategy that inexorably binds the Philippines and the GCC. While the policy paper is organized according to these three themes, we also, where relevant, discuss them in relation to the most recent Philippine administrations—namely, those of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2001–2010), Benigno Aquino III (2010–2016), and Rodrigo Duterte (2016–2022). In the final section, we look at the likely direction of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who came into office on July 1, 2022.