News: Garments exporters push for prompt start of talks on free-trade deal -
27 Apr 2008
LOCAL garment exporters appealed to the government to jump-start negotiations with US trade officials for a full-blown free-trade agreement (FTA) this early after their bid to get a preferential tariff deal exclusively for apparels was thumbed down by Washington. The Confederation of Garment Exporters of the Philippines (Congep) said in a statement that a 2008 kickoff for bilateral negotiations would enable investors in the industry to plan two to three years ahead for expansion.
“We need to jump-start now, even with the US presidential election, just so we are on the long waitlist line of US FTA partners,” the group said.
It said getting an FTA with the US, the industry’s top export market, is the “ultimate wish list” of local garment makers because it would enable them to access the US market without being assessed the 17-percent to 35-percent tariff.
Lawrence de los Santos, Congep president, said a full-blown FTA is now their only option after Washington said it is not keen on giving preferential treatment by individual sector.
Source: www. Business Mirror.com.ph, 25-26 April 2008