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22/06/2011: U.S. Sen. Inouye Files Bill to Revive PH Garments Industry

Shown in the photo above are Secretary Albert del Rosario (left) and Senator Daniel Inouye (right)

22 JUNE 2011, WASHINGTON DC. At a meeting today, Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) told visiting Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario that the SAVE Our Industries Act (S. 1244) or the SAVE Act has been reintroduced in the 112th Congress.  The refilling of the bill coincided with the visit to Washington, D.C. of Secretary del Rosario.

During his recent visit to the Philippines in April this year, Senator Inouye was enjoined by President Benigno Aquino III to sustain his strong support for the SAVE Act by introducing the bill soon. President Aquino is confident that the bill will revive the Philippine garments industry and provide jobs for Filipino workers. The principal sponsors of the bill are Senator Inouye and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and the co-sponsors are Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI).

Secretary del Rosario thanked Senator Inouye for the great news and said “this is a very important milestone in the relationship between our two countries.”  Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., who accompanied Secretary del Rosario at the meeting, added “the measure is a recognition of the deep historic ties between our two countries.  It is critical to the survival of the Philippine apparel industry, and will result in a significant increase in U.S. textile exports to our country.  It is a genuine win-win for both countries.”

Secretary Del Rosario expressed his deep appreciation to Senator Inouye and Senator Blunt for their leadership in introducing this very important legislation. Ambassador Cuisia added “we are deeply honored that the Majority Leader of the United States Senator Reid is an original co-sponsor, along with Senator Akaka.” Secretary del Rosario further stated that “with the leadership of Senators Inouye and Blunt, we are hopeful that Congress will enact the SAVE Act in the near future.”

The SAVE Act advances the Philippines-United States commercial relationship by expanding trade in the textile and apparel sectors. The SAVE Act would allow for duty-free entry into the United States of certain garments made in the Philippines using U.S. textiles. The legislation also allows duty-free entrance for some non-import sensitive apparel items. Through this arrangement, mutual benefits are derived as the U.S. textile and Philippine apparel industries increase exports and create jobs.

The SAVE Act would open the door to the Asian market for the U.S. textile industry allowing for expansion in exports and strengthening the industry. U.S. apparel companies would also be provided a competitive sourcing alternative for their high-end garments currently sourced elsewhere in the Asian region. The Philippines in turn would see increased demand in their struggling apparel industry and would be able to return thousands of jobs to a sector that once comprised 15% of total Philippine exports. This is win-win legislation for the Philippines and the United States and represents the first trade initiative between the two countries in nearly forty years.

The House version of the SAVE Act has a significant number of co-sponsors and is expected to be refiled soon. END