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Garment exports gain duty-free access to US
Apr '10
In order to uplift the Philippines textile industry, Jesli Lapus, Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry, informed that, the Arroyo administration has inked a duty-free trade agreement with the United States of America.

Explaining the terms of the agreement, Lapus, during a press meet in Malacañang, said that, while the Philippine-made garments using American-made fabric will be permitted a duty-free entry into US, clothing made using US yarn will be permitted entry at lower tariffs.

The proposed agreement also permits duty-free entry in to the US of few Philippine-made garments, regardless of the fabric used. These terms were decided upon during Philippine President, Gloria Arroyo's visit to the US.

Tackling the common needs of global economies, still reviving from the economic meltdown, so as to increase trade and create more jobs, was the key aim of the President's trip to the US and space. Owing to this, the US and Philippines inked a deal so as to raise the textile trade, said Lapus

Free trade boosts both investment opportunities and market access and a duty-free trade agreement between the two countries will aid in promoting conditions for free competition for the domestic textile industry, informed Lapus

According to Lapus, from the earlier figures of 600,000, employment in the clothing and textile industry, the number fell drastically to 100,000.

This drop in employment, led the government to lobby for preferential treatment of Philippine-made textiles in the US Senate under its 'Save Our Industries Act' or 'Save Act' 2010. Last year, another similar measure was filed in the US House of Representatives.

With the expectation of the passage of the aforementioned bill this year, Lapus said that, “We are very sure towards passage of the bill. It is win-win legislation, for both Philippines and the US.”

Post the passage of bill and the first year of its implementation, an additional $1.1 billion worth Philippine clothing exports will be allowed in to the US and about $480 million worth of new investments will be made in Philippine thereby, generating more than 200,000 jobs, said Lapus.

Since Philippine-made garments have entered the high-end consumer market and are displayed in high-end retail and department stores across the globe, the duty-free agreement will make it easier for the country to trade products in to the US markets.

Lapus further informed that, the customers of the industry have already moved from being 'importers and mass retailers' to 'brand holders' such as GAP, Old Navy, Anne Taylor and Liz Claiborne.

“Philippines has an expert workforce in their embroidery sector. The Filipino labourers are able to produce clothing with complicated styles and minute embroideries and designs at par with world's best embroidery designers”, said Lapus.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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