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Textile & garment sector posts positive balance of trade
Aug '08
Irrespective of sluggish exports delivered by the textile and garment industry of Philippines, the one silver lining that is brought forth is the consistent positive trade balance the sector has managed to record over the last several years.

The sector posted a positive trade balance in 2002 amounting to US $1597.95 and also closed 2007 with a net $1,631.91 million.

Exports though have more or less seen a stagnant growth in the last six years. The figures either indicate a dip or growth for each of the six consecutive years from 2002-2007. Cumulative export figures for the industry as a whole touched just $2,866.01 million in 2007 compared to $2,746.31 million in 2002 to register a gain of just 4.36 percent in six years.

While garment exports stood at $2,526.23 million (FOB) in 2002, it slipped to $2,416.06 million in 2003 and further dipped to $2,312.93 million in 2004. The trend was reversed in the next two years when exports once again registered growth to reach $2,473.91 million in 2005 and $2,775.57 million in 2006.

2007, once again turned out to be a watershed year for exports of garments, which again witnessed a negative growth compared to 2006, and saw revenues from garment exports slide to $2,646.36 million and shed the gains made in 2006. In the period between 2002 and 2007 garment exports grew by a marginal 4.75 percent and fell by 4.9 percent in contrast to 2006.

Textile exports, compromising of yarns, fabrics and other products also did not fare better. Beginning from 2002 revenues from exports stood at $220.8 million; in 2003 it grew to $237.01 million, fell back to$228.40 million in 2004 and again rose to $247.04 million in 2005 to again slip back to nearly 2002 levels at $223.65 million in 2006. Textile shipments closed at an unbelievable $219.65 million in 2007 which is lower than the figures registered in 2002.

In short, exports of textiles and its allied products posted flat growth rates in six long years for the data under review.

Imports of garments, on the other hand, have shown a trend unlike exports while imports of textile products maintained the same dormant growth noticeable in exports. Total import figures for the sector reached $1,234.1 million in 2007 corresponding to $1,148.35 million in 2002 for a gain of 7.49 percent.

Imports of garments grew from US $34.56 million (CIF) in 2002 to $34.92 million in 2003. It slightly slipped back to $33.37 million in 2004 to rise again to $48.53 million in 2005. The import growth rate was maintained in 2006, though albeit marginally in 2007 which closed with figures of $66.44 million and $66.85 million respectively. Compared to 2002, imports of apparels grew by nearly 93.43 percent in 2007.

Shipments of textile products in to Philippines like yarns and fabrics which was US $1113.79 million in 2002, touched $1,167.25 million in 2007 to register a gain of just 4.85 percent. Comparative figures for 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 show $1,018 million, $999.53 million, $1,046.21 million, and $1,144.25 million respectively.

The textile and garment industry in other countries like China, India, Vietnam and Bangladesh is making rapid strides and registering double digit growth rates in the last few years. Compared to those countries, the Philippine textile and garment industry has displayed inertia in the last few years.

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