Philippines aims to be among top 10 garments exporters by 2026

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is aiming to be among the top 10 exporters of garments in the world by 2026 to 2029 under the newly rolled out industry roadmap to revive the textile and garment industry.

Speaking at the roadmap’s launch at the Philippine Garment, Leather Industries and Textile Expo held yesterday, Myrna Austria, co-author of the roadmap and professor at the De La Salle University School of Economics, said to get to the top 10, garment exports would have to grow 45.8 percent per year in the three-year period.

In the medium-term or from 2023 to 2025, she said the goal is for the Philippines to be part of the top 15 garment exporters.

To be in the top 15 would require an annual increase of 21.7 percent in garment exports.

Within the short-term or starting next year until 2022, Austria said the target is for the country to be among the top 20 garment exporters.

She said this would mean achieving a 12.3 percent growth in garments exports per year.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed garment exports dropped 15.6 percent to $927.92 million last year from $1.099 billion in 2017.

Austria said among the top three strategies to achieve the targets in the short term is to address smuggling and ukay-ukay or second-hand apparel being sold at a low price by implementing pre-shipment inspections and cancelling business permits related to ukay-ukay.

She said there is also a need to provide access to capital and land.

This can be done by providing financial assistance for the purchase of raw materials, new machinery and equipment and by increasing hectarage of land for cotton production.

Austria said the third top strategy is to provide incentives to the sector.

In particular, there is a need to incentivize adoption of innovative production processes that promote sustainability and green environment, use of solar energy, as well as waste disposal and upcyling or the use of transforming materials into a product of better quality.

 “We hope to see a reduction in the 12 percent VAT (value-added tax),” Austria said.

Other short-term strategies cover enhancing market access by entering into free trade agreements (FTA) particularly with the US, utilizing existing FTAs and Generalized System of Preferences; promoting innovation and automation; importing raw materials for textiles; establishing regional or localized ecosystems by mapping regional resources or indigenous fiber; strengthening support by streamlining administrative processes and building a database for the textile-garments industry; as well as pushing for manpower development.

In the medium-term, the approach is to address infrastructure gaps and logistical bottlenecks; establish clustering and agglomeration; diversify export markets; promote fashion design training centers; and increase investments for research and development.

For the long-term, the strategies include focusing on manpower training programs to equip workers with highly specialized skills and to increase supply of natural fiber textile raw materials.

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