The Philippine government is sparing no efforts to harness support for the passage of the “Save our Industries Act” (Save Act) being deliberated in the United States Congress, a bill expected to give the languishing Philippine garments industry a much needed boost.
According to Trade Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio, the bill is a landmark legislation that will redound to the benefit of both the Filipino and American peoples. “It will revive the Philippine garments industry, which has been in the doldrums ever since the end of the quota regime. At the same time, it will increase exports of US textiles in the Philippines and other Asean countries.”
The Save Act is expected to provide enough incentives for garment exporters in the Philippines to expand their operations through a grant of preferential treatment from the United States.
The bill supports the country’s inclusion in the “809 Program” which gives various benefits to US trading partners that produce garments out of US-made fabric or yarn.
Garment manufacturers from Mexico, the Carribean, and Andean countries already enjoy preferential treatment, with benefits ranging from lower duties to quota-free and duty-free entry into the United States.
Under the 809 component of the bill, US-made fabric and yarns cut and wholly assembled in the Philippines would qualify to re-enter the US duty-free.
Garments made of US-spun yarn or extruded yarn formed in the Philippines, on the other hand, would be allowed to re-enter the US at just half of the most-favored nation duty.
In a recent dinner with visiting US legislators, Undersecretary Panlilio appealed for support, citing the rich historical and cultural ties between the two counties.
Fil-Ams in the United States have also been urged to lobby for support for the bill with their respective congressmen.
From Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 15,2011, page B1