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Apparels sector needs to be revitalized for growth in exports
Aug '08
According to export statistics released for the first six months of 2008, the Philippines textile and garment industry seems to be in the same stupor it has been in the last five years.

The exports represent a see-saw, where exports grow in one month, to once again fall in the following month. Garment shipments in particular have maintained stagnancy. In comparison to January'08, exports of garments in June'08 depicted a miniscule growth of just 0.37 percent. In the interim months, shipments of garments have actually fallen.

If total exports of garments were US $171.65 million in January'08, it rose to a marginal $177.23 million in February, slid to $166.69 million in March, way below Jan'08 to once more slip to $153.69 million in April.

The month of May was more disastrous then the preceding months as shipments plunged to just $150.04 million way. If compared with January'08, a negative growth rate of 12.58 percent was recorded in May'08.

The saving grace for the garment industry was the month of June, which saw exports rise back to January levels to touch $172.31 million. The total exports of garments in the first six months of 2008 amounted to $991.61 million dollars and accounted for nearly 90 percent of all textile and garment exports from the country.

The picture is no different in the case of exports of textiles from the country. Though there is a semblance of growth visible in 3 of the six months under preview, the value of shipments have just moved up and down in those months and managed to close the first six months of 2008 with a growth of 25.32 percent in .

Exports of textiles which stood at $15.44 million in January grew to $17.69 million in February, to fall back to $15.97 million in March. The month of April saw a completely different trend, which saw shipments totaling to $20.31 million to post a growth of 27.18 percent when compared with figures of March'08.

May'08 once more witnessed a plunge to wipe out the gains of April'08. Shipments slipped by 21.27 percent in May'08 to touch $15.99 million. Once again in a dramatic reversal of fortunes, exports in June'08 totaled $19.35 million to register a gain of 21.0 percent over the preceding month.

Over all share of textiles in the export basket from the sector is an average 10 percent and amounted to $104.75 million for the first six months of the current year.

The Philippines textile and garment industry will need to do a lot more if it has to gain a decent global market share of the industry. The government will have to come out with policies favourable to the sector.

The government should encourage manufacture of the indigenous developed pina cloth, which is made from a fibre obtained from pineapple and promote it globally. The fabric has the potential to develop in to an international best seller if proper manufacturing capacities are created and appropriate support is provided to market the same.

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