The Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines asked for government support to address roadblocks to the growth of garments and hard goods sectors.
Fobap president Robert Young said his group’s export sales of garments were projected to hit $1 billion, while those of hard goods were seen to reach $200 million in 2016.
Hard goods include furniture, handicrafts, home decor and decorative items.
“The direction of the Philippine garments industry is towards the middle to high-end [markets]. The basic ones are not really any more attractive to the buyers because of our obstacles and roadblocks that we have in the garment and furniture or hard goods industry,” he said.
Fobap said among the major roadblocks to the growth of garment and hard goods industry were high power cost, wages and financing.
Other Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam partly subsidize power, wages and financing cost of their dollar-earning industries, he said.
Young also underscored the need for the country to invest massively in infrastructure development.
“The internet speed is really the slowest in Asean. We are hoping that the new government can do something… [We also need] improved and upgraded port facilities. The port congestion is also killing these exports of ours,” he said.
Fobap also pushed for the establishment of more factories to meet import orders. The group sees garments exports increasing 20 percent in the first half of 2017.
“The high jump of revenues of the garments sector is due to the fact that the buyers are now seeing the other players in the Asean countries a little bit facing some risks as far as political and social aspects are concerned. They are not putting all their eggs in one basket so they are placing some orders in the Philippines,” Young said.
He said companies and industries should upgrade the skills of their workers, as the machines being used by neighboring Asian countries were already modernized.
“We want to revive the golden years of export industry. Achievement of this goal nears once these problems are addressed,” he said.
Source: The Standard