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Garments, hard goods exports to fall short of $2-billion target

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - April 13, 2021 - 12:00am

­­MANILA, Philippines  —  Exports of garments and hard goods facilitated by the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP) are expected to fall short of the $2-billion target for the year as shipments are delayed due to restrictions imposed to address the surge in COVID-19 cases.

FOBAP president Robert Young said  the projected exports volume of $2 billion for the year would not likely be achieved due to the huge backlog  in shipments.

“We are now looking at a 10 percent decrease from $2 billion, and it can be worse if these repeated lockdowns will continue,” he said.

While garment exporters operate at the Freeport Area of Bataan which is not covered by the enhanced community quarantine, he said local government units have imposed restrictions and these have affected operations and shipments.

He said the lack of transportation access to the factories has led to manpower shortage.

In addition, he said there has been slow movement in the processing of shipment documents and delays in delivery of production materials.

“The backlog is a big factor in the upcoming production schedules,” he said.

He added delays may lead to cancellation of orders.

While the country recently secured $500 million worth of orders from global fashion brands transferring purchases from troubled Myanmar to other Southeast Asian countries, these are at risk given the delays.

There have been mass protests in Myanmar since the military seized control in February.

With Myanmar in a crisis, orders made by fashion brands with the garments industry there have been redirected to countries including the Philippines.

“This is the more sensible move than lockdown to salvage or rescue the economy,” he said.

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