Foreign buyers of garments and textile expect to source from the Philippines as much as $1.2 billion this year from $900 million in 2020, barring further crippling quarantine restrictions.
“If there will be no further crippling quarantine, we are trying our best effort for $1 billion to $1.2 billion this year,” said Robert Young, president and chairman of the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP).
Aside from the easing of quarantine restrictions, Young said orders for the Philippines are being boosted from additional purchases due for Vietnam, which is undergoing total lockdown.
There are also shift of orders from Myanmar, whose difficulties due to the country’s political situation are affecting the country’s garment and textile industry performance. Myanmar’s local currency has also been devalued by 40 percent against the US dollar.
Young, however, said that the Philippine garment and textile industry is still being threatened by the unprecedented supply chain disruptions in the US that hamper the US economic recovery plan.
“It continues to suffer as a result of factory closures and quarantine rules around Asia and Europe plus the monstrous shipping delivery delays linked to Covid 19 due to the legendary price gouging from freight carriers resulting in huge backlogs at the ports,” Young said.
He said the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) has been issuing appeal letters to the Biden administration. FOBAP is one of the signatories in the appeal letters regarding these trade problems emanating from Covid-19. The AAFA also urged the US government to look at using other tools beyond the tariff as trade leverage. The group also welcomed the introduction of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021.
Meantime, Young said the major headwinds faced by the industry include empty clothing shelves, price increases of the products, lesser number of shoppers, outdated fashion items, aside from store closures and workers being terminated.
“Philippines being a moderate-sized garment business player in the field will be one of the least able to withstand these challenges that we are actually experiencing now,” he said.
As such, he said, it is imperative that the Philippine government extend all the necessary urgent assistance and intervention to the sector.