The US Congress is likely to consider the provisions of the proposed Save Our Industries Act (SAVE Act) bill this week, Philippines Department of Trade and Industry has said.
Under an arrangement known as 809 program, the said bill would earn duty-free or preferential access in the US market for Philippine garments made using US textiles.
Philippines Trade Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio said it was unfortunate that the proposed trade bill was not taken up for discussion during December, as the fiscal cliff situation concerns kept the US Congress occupied.
However, it is expected that this week the US Congress would discuss the proposal, along with some other multilateral trade bill proposals, GMA News reported.
Supported by Daniel Inouye, Democratic Senator from Hawaii, the bill is looked upon as a mutually beneficial proposition for both the nations, as while Philippines would win duty-free or preferential access for some of its garment items to the US, the US would also benefit from increased textile exports to Philippines.
The bill, if passed, is expected to help the Philippines’ apparel industry to generate exports worth US$ 3 billion, and also rekindle thousands of jobs gone since 2003, when the industry employed around 600,000 workers.
Philippines’ garment and textile industry exports have been falling steadily since 2005, following phasing out of the quota allocated to it under the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing.
Following the phasing out of the quota, Philippines garment and textile exports fell to US$ 1.2 million in 2010, which is a minute fraction of the pre-phasing out levels of US$ 2 billion.
Passage of the bill is also expected to push US’s textile exports to Philippines and other ASEAN nations to about US$ 500 million, giving rise to around 2,000 employment opportunities in the US fabric mill sector.