PHILIPPINES: Garment industry sees US, EU buyers return

For Just Style

Garment exporters in the Philippines are expecting to profit from a comeback of American and European buyers, who have started increasing their outsourcing activities in the country.

Robert Young, president of the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP), told just-style that an increase in orders from major US and European department stores has been felt since the beginning of the year, after having been stagnant for three to four years because of the global economic crisis.

“FOBAP member buying offices in Manila representing those foreign clients are focusing on garments, apparel and handcrafted housewares, with the housewares now turning more toward the mid to high end,” Young said.

Still, the US economic recovery and rising consumer confidence in Germany may not be the only reasons for the upbeat news.

According to Young, the buyers’ return to the Philippines is also facilitated by a mix of rising labour costs in China and Bangladesh’s substandard labour conditions, which recently grabbed global headlines.

“And things will turn even better once the Philippines has been awarded the EU GSP+ status,” he said, referring to the European Union’s Generalised System of Preferences Scheme of additional trade preferences rewarding sustainable development and good governance.

The Philippine government has recently announced its intention to apply for membership of the GSP+ scheme, which will take effect from 1 January 2014.

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