Catherine Talavera – The Filipino Star

October 17, 2022 | 00:00

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is expected to receive an additional $20 million in apparel export orders for American apparel brands, according to the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP).

In an interview with The Star, FOBAP chairman Robert Young said they recently had a meeting with the chief operating officer of Newtimes Development Ltd. for Hong Kong, Phil Williams, regarding orders, especially for the Ralph Lauren and J. Jill International brands.

Newtimes is the official sourcing office for Ralph Lauren and J.Jill.

“This is undoubtedly a positive development in the garment industry, which translates into job creation and increased dollar revenue for the Philippine government,” Young said.

He said the main agenda of the meeting was to expand Newtimes clothing and apparel procurement in the Philippines, while tackling the challenges and its solutions.

According to Newtimes general manager for the Philippines, Ding Buendia, the meeting hopes to improve the logistics of shipping garments from the Philippines to the United States.

“Currently, we are experiencing a seven to 10 day delay in ship departures, due to port usage management,” Buendia said.

“As noted, there is no port congestion and utilization is around 80%, providing ample berthing space for supply vessels,” he added.

The company expressed the hope that managing the berthing of feeder ships will be given priority for exports, so that no export containers are delayed for connection to mother ships.

Meanwhile, Newtimes also expressed hope that a free trade agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the United States could make the country more competitive despite high energy and labor costs. ‘work.

“The Philippines is struggling with high electricity costs and high labor costs. The main attraction for the country today is that we produce good quality clothes. Our workforce is highly skilled and skilled. The ability to converse well with customers is a real plus,” Buendia said.

“We hope an FTA will be pushed, so that despite high energy and labor costs, we can be more competitive,” he said.

In August, Commerce Secretary Alfredo Pascual said the Philippines was considering entering into an FTA with the United States to expand trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.

“We now wish to pursue a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States, which will be a more binding and permanent mechanism to lock in market access preferences and other binding commitments to expand trade opportunities and investment between our two countries,” said Pascual. earlier at the general meeting of members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (Amcham).

That same month, however, AmCham executive director Ebb Hinchliffe said an FTA between the two countries might not take place under the Biden administration’s first term, given the U.S. midterm elections. scheduled for November.

“Right now everyone is concerned about China and trade with China, more than trade with the Philippines,” Hinchcliffe told reporters when asked about the implications of the US midterm elections on trade with China. the Philippines.