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Officials warned on trade of second-hand clothing
Aug '11
Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) Chairman Jesus L Arranza has warned local government officials against allowing ukay-ukay business to flourish in their areas of jurisdiction.

Ukay-ukay means 'to dig through' and the term is generally used across the Philippines to describe how people choose garments from the imported second hand clothing.

The FPI Chairman said it is illegal to allow ukay-ukay trade in the Philippines and the government officials who allow the business are liable to be held under Republic Act 4653.

Mr. Arranza cited Quezon and Baguio cities as hot ukay-ukay centres and held their mayors liable, particularly for such establishments that possess valid business licenses. He said that he may be forced to file charges against the mayors of these two cities if ukay-ukay is allowed to continue.

The ukay-ukay business is not only unlawful, but it also takes a pie of the market share of the local garments industry. Used clothing from abroad is banned in Philippines as it may lead to the spread of various illness and viruses.

Mr. Arranza said that even donating second-hand clothing is illegal in the country. He pointed out that there is only one loophole through which second-hand clothing can enter the country and that is through the special economic zones which can accept merchandise of used clothing in their ports if it is meant for re-export.

He said that even if the destination is a special ecozone, second-hand clothing is still prohibited as ecozones are part of Philippines that are only designated as non-customs territory. Hence, he said, most of the clothes sold in ukay-ukay market are brought illegally into the country.

Earlier, a customs official had advocated legalization of ukay-ukay to generate more tax revenues, which alarmed the local garment manufacturers.

The FPI said such statements while emboldening those in ukay-ukay trade, will further deter investments in the country's textile and garments sector that is now going through a crisis period.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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