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NEWS UPDATES 13 July 2009

Philippine garment exporters look to new US bill

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Philippine garment exporters are hoping for the passage of a bill filed in the US Congress that they said will uplift the “distressed” industry, reported local newspaper the Manila Times.

In a briefing on Friday, officials of the Confederation of Garment Exporters of the Philippines (Congep) said the Save Our Industries Act, filed last month by Representative Jim McDermott before the US House Committee on Ways and Means, will not only boost the US textile sector but also increase business for Philippine garments manufacturers.

Under the 809 Apparel/Pilot Program, certain types of clothing made in the Philippines that used American-made fabric will enter the US duty-free, while those made of US yarns will enter at reduced tariff. A side component provides duty-free entry to the US of some Philippine-made apparel regardless of the source of fabric.

Congep said the Department of Trade and Industry’s Garments and Textile Industry Development Office has initiated the 809 Program during the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement meetings between the Philippines and the Office of the US Trade Representative held in October last year.

According to Congep, once the bill becomes a law, Philippine garments exports to the US are projected to post an incremental growth of $1.1 billion after the first full year of implementation. Another $480-million worth of investments are expected to be infused during the first two years by about 60 new companies that would set up shop here. The program is seen to generate 210,000 jobs in four years.

“The [809 Apparel/Pilot Program] is a positive development in our efforts to engage one of our major markets for garments exports. Local manufacturers can tell their US buyers to buy from the Philippines because of reduced or eliminated tariffs,” Lawrence delos Santos, Congep president, said.

He said they hope this bill becomes law by between March and June next year.


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