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24/08/2010: Filipino-American Leaders in Maryland pledged to urge legislators to co-sponsor/support RP-US textiles and garments trade bill

August 24, 2010, Oxon Hill, MD – Philippine Embassy officials  led by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa briefed Filipino-American leaders in Maryland on the Save Our Industries (SAVE) Act, which is now pending in the U.S. Congress and is expected to generate thousands of jobs in the US textile industry and the Philippine garments sector.  Leaders from Northern Virginia were also present in the meeting.

Introduced by Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) and co-sponsored by Representative Brian Bilbray (R-CA) in June 2009, SAVE Act essentially grants duty-free entry to the U.S. of certain Philippine-made apparel products which used U.S. fabrics. Ambassador Gaa explained that through SAVE Act, Philippine apparel products can once more become competitive in the U.S. market and at the same time, promote the sale of U.S. yarn and fabrics to the Philippines.

The increased trade in textiles and garment is expected to enhance the commercial well-being of the U.S. textile industry, which is also in dire straits. This can lead to more jobs for U.S. textile workers.

In his remarks, Ambassador Gaa also said that the dwindling trade in textile and apparel has led to a significant loss of jobs in the Philippine garment sector. In the last five years, the 600,000-strong garments workers declined to 180,000. SAVE Act would result in creating and restoring jobs in this labor-intensive industry.

Commercial Counselor Romulo Manlapig of the Philippine Embassy added that SAVE Act is supported by U.S. textile mills and apparel retailers such as the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AFAA), the National Retail Federation (NRF), and the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel. Through the SAVE Act, US textile exports to the Philippines is expected to grow from $13.5 million in 2009 to $500 million in five years.

After realizing how SAVE Act will result in direct benefits to American and Filipino families and how it will revitalize the strong and historical trade and economic relations between the Philippines and the United States, Filipino-American leaders pledged to help ensure SAVE Act’s passage by reaching out and urging their legislators to support the bill.

Including Representative Bilbray, twelve congressmen co-sponsored the bill in the House namely, Representatives Bob Filner (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), David Dreier (R-CA), Judy Biggert (R-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-LA), Joseph Pitts (R-PA), Charles Djou (R-HI) and Filipino-American Steve Austria (R-OH).

In the Senate, the bill was introduced by Senator Christopher Bond (R-MO) and co-sponsored by the second most senior member of the U.S. Senate and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI). Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) has also signed up as a co-sponsor. – END

Commercial Counselor Romulo Manlapig of the Philippine Embassy briefs the Filipino-American community in Maryland  on the Save Our Industries Act, a Philippine-US trade bill that will result in thousands of jobs in the US textile industry and Philippine garments sector. The briefing was held on August 24, 2010 at the National Philippine multicultural Center in Oxon Hill, MD.