The Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP) is seeking financial help from the Government to fund three projects aimed at revival of the domestic garment industry.
According to FOBAP President Robert M. Young, through the three projects involving cost of around five million pesos, the association looks to reinstate at least one-fourth of about 300,000-500,000 jobs lost in the garment sector over the past six-seven years.
Recalling the peak times of the Philippine garment sector from mid-80s to 90s, Mr. Young said the downturn of the industry begun with the lifting of garment quota by the US, China opening its doors to international trade, and growing competition from countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China and Vietnam.
The three projects include a proposed industry mapping for garments and other goods, compliance programs for factories, and an “invite the CEO” project, Phillipine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT) said in a statement.
The projects would involve mapping which factories manufacture which materials, ensuring compliance of labour and environmental norms and inviting the CEOs and buyers of leading global departmental stores to Philippines.
Highlighting the importance of the projects, he said these would help producers get orders from big buyer firms with huge quantities and buying programs, otherwise they may have to settle with small quantity buyers, who usually offer low prices.
The domestic garment industry also looks forward to inclusion of the country in the Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) program of the European Union, which will earn duty-free entry of Philippine-made garments to the EU, and help producers and exporters to boost their revenues, he said.
According to the National Statistics Office data, garment exports from Philippines totalled US$ 1.57 billion last year, a 17.03 percent less than 2011.
Again in first half of the current year, exports dipped 14.76 percent from US$ 921.05 million in January-June 2012 to US$ 785.07 million.
However, the Government is eyeing a 10 percent growth in exports by 2013 year-end.