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4 April 2010

Philippine garment bill reaches US Senate

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The Philippine-proposed bill “Save Our Industries Act of 2010” was finally introduced last week in the US Senate sending encouraging support from the US Congress to help revive not just the Philippine garment and textile industry via preferential tariff treatment on the country’s exports to the US market but also the American industry, as well, reported the Manila Bulletin.

Trade and Industry Undersecretary Elmer C. Hernandez said the Senate version was authored by Senators Christopher Samuel “Kit” Bond from Missouri and Daniel K. Inouye from Hawaii.

“We can now have a parallel approach both in the House and the Senate. Once this bill is passed we can export our garments at zero or preferential tariff rates and this would give investors further insurance of their exports from the Philippines,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez expects the bill to get passed within the year.

Hernandez said that there are good indications for the passage of the bill noting that the technical staff of the House Ways and Means Committee who are working on the bill has shown great interest in the proposal.

“They are seriously considering this measure,” he added.

The Senate bill is different from the House version as it contains a provision on enforcement mechanism under the US Customs and Border Protection to guard against opportunities for transshipment.

To facilitate this, the Philippines must re-establish the Electronic Visa Information System (ELVIS) to assist with prevention of transshipment of apparel articles and the use of counterfeit documents relating to the importation of apparel articles into the US market.

“The US is happy because we agree to adopt their proposal to avoid transshipment,” he said.

Once the bill is passed, there shall be appropriate penalties and blacklisting of perpetrators.


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