Foreign buyers association seeks government assistance to revive garments industry

The Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP) is seeking government assistance to support the implementation of three projects worth P5 million in a bid to revive the garments  and hardgoods industries in the country. 

FOBAP president Robert Young said the funding would be used for mapping of garments and hardgoods sectors, the compliance program and “invite the CEO ” project.

Young explained that factories need to be compliant in implementing the requirements and regulations such of child labor, clean and safe environment and minimum wage.

He also cited the need for the revival of so-called “invite the CEO” project which proved effective in regaining foreign buyers.

Young recalled that such project was implemented during the 1970s when the country experienced crisis and foreign markets stopped buying.

With the implementation of these three projects, Young is optimistic that the garments sector can regain at least a fourth of all the jobs lost.

“We lost about 300,000 to 500,000 jobs in the past six to seven years in the garments sector alone. We just hope to get one-fourth of that or 150,000 to 200,000 jobs,” he said.

Young recalled that the Philippine garments industry reached peak revenues in mid ’80s to ’90s.

“The decline started when the US garments quota was lifted. China opened their international trade and other countries like Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Bangladesh followed. All of them quoted lower prices than the Philippines,” he added.