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SAVE to boost textile & apparel trade with Philippines, Rep. McDermott

Jul '09
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), a Member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, introduced the Save Our Industries Act of 2009 (SAVE) that encourages increased textile and apparel trade between the United States and the Philippines.

The legislation, HR 3039, would provide for duty-free treatment of apparel products generally not produced in the U.S., but links this benefit for the Philippines to a requirement that they use American-produced yarn and fabric. “My legislation will protect and sustain thousands of existing jobs in the United States and in the Philippines, and its provisions will promote the creation of new apparel industry jobs in both countries,” Rep. McDermott said.

While the United States and the Philippines have mutually benefitted from strong economic and cultural ties that date back decades, recent years have brought significant challenges to the American textile industry and the Philippine apparel industry in particular, and McDermott's legislation will strengthen these industries.

Annual apparel imports from the Philippines have declined by almost a billion dollars since 2000, and U.S. textile exports to the Philippines are quite small at only about $20 million in 2008. “This bill will provide a direct path for American textile producers to gain a foothold in the Asian market and, at the same time, enables Philippine garment producers a chance to compete against much larger East Asian countries,” McDermott said.

Reaction to the introduction of the legislation came from a representative of the Philippine government as well as the apparel industry.

“The United States and the Philippines share a long and rich history,” said American Apparel & Footwear Association President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “Our efforts to tear down barriers to trade will strengthen the relationship we share with our 30th largest trading partner while working to benefit our textile and apparel industries.”

"I want to express the sincere appreciation of the Philippine Government for the leadership of Congressman Jim McDermott on the introduction of this important legislation. I believe his proposal can provide crucial and much needed support to the textile and apparel industries of both the Philippines and the United States, helping to expand business opportunities and to sustain much needed jobs in both countries at a time of great economic stress."

"This is a win-win proposal in the finest tradition of the close and long-standing relationship of our two countries. We are hopeful that the U.S. Congress will act on Congressman McDermott's initiative bill as soon as possible." Statement by Secretary Peter B. Favila Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry, Republic of the Philippines.

A copy of the legislation is attached.

United States House of Representatives

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