By Jens Kastner | 20 February 2014
The Philippines continues to seeks US trade benefits following typhoon Haiyan (Photo credit: Save the Children)
The Philippine garment industry says it will relaunch its lobbying efforts to push a law through the US Congress giving it privileged access to American markets, after the shelving of the long-anticipated Save Our Industries Act (SAVE Act).
SAVE would have given a range of Philippines-made apparel duty-free access to the US. However, the Filipinos have been forced to think outside the box since news broke that the bill now has to wait until the next US Congress, which takes office in January 2015.
“The original SAVE Act bill no longer exists – it’s dead in Congress. We have to refile and give the drive a new name,” said Robert Young, president of the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP).
“We will tie it to Yolanda [2013’s monster typhoon Haiyan], naming it something like ‘Help the Philippine Textile Industry.'” Young elaborated that this should be modelled on the US’s Help HAITI Act of 2010, implemented after the Caribbean country’s devastating earthquake.
Private sector advocacy groups have been urging the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry to quickly craft such a new initiative. They claim Philippines government officials have indicated the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) could promote such a bill.
“This will have to go through process, but we hope our new drive might somehow facilitate a sympathy switch in Washington,” Young said.