The textile, garments and other wearable industries predicted a combined export growth of 20 percent this year to $1.22 billion from $1.02 billion in 2017.
The Confederation of Wearables Exporters of the Philippines said it was anticipating a surge in wearable exports, currently dominated by China, as the trade war between the US and China would likely escalate.
“We’re hoping there will be a surge, even just for a little bit [in exports] from the tariff imposed by America in the ongoing trade war,” said CONWEP executive director Maritess Agoncillo.
She said the difficulty of China penetrating the US market at this point might prove to be an advantage for other trading partners of the US such as the Philippines.
A number of garment manufacturers are preparing to close shop in China with their sights set on the Philippines as an alternative manufacturing site in Asia, said Agoncillo.
“If this happens, exports from the Philippines will increase with expectations of a surge in the US demand for more wearables as it closes its doors from imports direct from China,” she said.
Chinese manufacturers are still assessing the current labor situation and the taxation policies in the Philippines. These are two major points the Chinese companies consider when locating out of China, she said.
She said Philippine labor was just as competitive. The Philippines moved on from producing cheap, colorless shirts to more meticulous products, mostly for top-of-the-line and expensive brands.
Wearable exports from the Philippines hit $2.9 to $3 billion in 2005, before it gradually declined to a third of its value over the succeeding years.
Agoncillo said other industry groups were proactively promoting the Philippines as a safe and secure destination for manufacturing industries.
Among these groups as the Textile Producers Association of the Philippines, Marikina Shoe Industry Development Office and the Garment Manufacturers Association of the Philippines.
These groups are supporting an upcoming promotional event called the 1st Philippine Garment, Leather Goods Industries and Fabric Expo on Aug. 23 to 26 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
Participating countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Korea, India, Pakistan and Malaysia are seen to contribute to boosting the potential of the local garments, leather, goods and fabric for export.