An integrated textile-garment industry, strong linkages between industry, government and private sector, and a dedicated trade office are among the initiatives to be set in motion under the newly launched Textile-Garment Industry Roadmap 2020-2029.
The Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Bureau of Investments (BOI) launched last December 5 the Textile-Garment Industry Roadmap 2020-2029 that envisions a “Competitive, Integrated & Sustainable Philippine textile-garment industry that generates Inclusive Growth” or CISIG.
To achieve this vision, the 10-year industry blueprint outlines a slew of short-term (2020-2022), medium (2023-2025) and long-term (2026-2029) strategies, which were presented during the roadmap launch by Myrna S. Austria and Mitzie Irene P. Conchada of the School of Economics, De La Salle University.
For the short term, the roadmap seeks to integrate the textile and garment industries, with the two “acting as conduit for each other’s growth and development.”
Austria and Conchada explained that through integration, the textile industry will be more able to “supply the fabric needed by the garments industry to be competitive in CMT [cut, make, and trim] and OEM [original equipment manufacturing] segments of the value chain.”
To push for the growth of the integrated industry, the roadmap unveiled a three-pronged overall strategyaddress smuggling and ukay-ukay operations which compete with local suppliers, provide capital and land to increase production and encourage purchase of new equipment, and provide fiscal incentives through reduced value-added tax and reduced power rates.
Among the specific actions recommended for the short term is the creation of an organization to be called Federation of the Philippine Textile and Garments Industry, which will serve as a link between the textile and garment industry and the private sector and the government.
For the textile sector, other strategies to be undertaken in the near future include investing in R&D for product development and marketing, incorporating loom weaving in the curriculum to create awareness, and establishing regional/localized ecosystems.
The roadmap also presses for the strict enforcement of Republic Act No. 9242, or the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law, that mandates localizing suppliers for the uniform of civil servants.
Medium-term strategies for textiles, meanwhile, call for addressing infrastructure gaps and logistical bottlenecks, such as by streamlining upstream and downstream connections.
Another is to improve the textile value chain by requiring the registration of chemicals and substances used, establishing a regulatory framework for the use of biocidal products, and establishing environmental and social standards.
On the long-term strategies for the textile sector, focus shall be on pushing the Philippines to be “a global player in Filipino branding” and to increase its supply of natural fiber raw materials, according to the roadmap.
For the garment industry, on the other hand, short-term strategies under CISIG include enhancing access to export markets by taking advantage of free trade agreements (FTAs) and the Philippines’ GSP status, establishing bilateral FTAs, particularly with the U.S., and negotiating for more liberal rules of origin requirements.
Also, efforts will be aimed at enhancing coordination between agencies in “jointly implementing laws and programs beneficial to the industry.”
A database for garments manufacturers will also be developed to “provide the government with insights on how to best support the industry” and monitor the industry’s performance and the effectiveness of DTI’s programs, said Austria and Conchada.
For this purpose, a dedicated DTI office will be created to build and maintain the database, as well as to strengthen industry associations, promote and implement the laws, regulations, and policies, and operationalize the roadmap.
Other short-term strategies will center on innovation and automation; manpower development; sustainable production; and product development, promotion and marketing.
And for the medium term, the roadmap will target infrastructure gaps and bottlenecks through streamlining upstream and downstream connections and supporting better quality infrastructure and services.
Likewise, a medium-term proposal is the establishment of agglomerations, or the clustering of the textile and garments industries with other allied and support industries.
“Agglomeration allows allied and support industries to be in one location, thus achieving economies of scale and minimizing costs,” said the two economists.
Market diversification is being eyed as well in order to reduce dependence on major garment export markets and establish channels to emerging export markets.
Another proposal targets establishing fashion design training centers and increasing R&D investment in in-house design teams.
Finally, the long-term strategies for garments seek to further minimize infrastructure gaps and logistical bottlenecks and focus manpower training program on highly specialized skills for OBM or original brand manufacturing.