Urge US lawmakers to revive textile trade with RP

MANILA, Philippines—A labor group has urged apparent President-apparent Benigno Aquino III to persuade American lawmakers to pass a bill that seeks to revive the textile and apparel trade between the United States and the Philippines, and create thousands of new jobs in both countries.

"Mr. Aquino's powerful fresh mandate puts him in a superb position to influence key US legislators to approve the bill," said former Senator Ernesto Herrera, secretary-general of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).

Herrera was referring to the bill that would allow Philippine-made garments using American fabrics greater access to the US market for men's, women's, and children's apparel, worth some $200 billion annually.

In the process, the proposed Save Our Industries Act would rescue the moribund US textile industry. However, if the US Congress fails to act on the bill, it will expire this December.

"The bill is mutually beneficial to the Philippines and the US. It will spur thousands of new jobs, both in our labor-intensive garments industry and in America's textile sector," said Herrera, former chairman of the Senate committee on labor, employment, and human resources development.

"At present, garments are already our second-largest export to the US, after semiconductors," he said in a news release.

Once Capitol Hill enacts the measure, Herrera said he is counting on a greater number of American garment makers to build new or additional factories in Manila, or to expand their existing contract-manufacturing activities here.

"They will bring in American textiles, provide gainful employment to thousands of Filipino workers who will design, cut, and sew the garments, and then export the ready-to-wear clothes back to the US," he said.

"They will be driven to do this because once their Philippine-made garments are shipped to America, they will enjoy higher margins not just because of the low cost of production here, but also owing to the reduced if not zero US tariffs," Herrera added.

The American firms likely to be drawn to the Philippines include Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., Levi-Strauss & Co., Guess? Inc., Urban Outfitters Inc., Aeropostale Inc., American Eagle Outfitters Inc., Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., Hot Topic Inc., Abercrombie & Fitch Co., True Religion Apparel Inc., The Gap Inc.;
Limited Brands Inc.; Buckle Inc.; The Wet Seal Inc., Zumiez Inc., J. C. Penney Co. Inc., Sears Holdings Corp., Ann Taylor Stores Corp., Cache Inc., The Cato Corp., Charming Shoppes Inc., Chico's FAS Inc., Christopher and Banks Corp., J. Crew Group Inc., Bebe Stores Inc., The Talbots Inc., New York & Co. Inc., and Coldwater Creek Inc.

Herrera said many of the American firms are specialty apparel retailers or department stores that produce their own lines of clothing for men, women, and children, and some of them already have existing Philippine facilities.

Source: Inquirer


Post a Comment

Blog Archive