When the recession hit five years ago, the US stopped buying apparel from the Philippines. But as the global economy now slowly recovers, and the American economy follows suit, the US has stepped up buying garments from that country again.
Buy orders from the US have doubled over the last two to three months, according to Robert Young, president of the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP).
“We got a consensus that all of our members are really receiving more purchase orders now from their principals,” he said in a statement issued by the Philippines Exporters Confederation (Philexport), a non-profit group of the nation’s exporters.
Most of the new US orders were for knitted child wear and women’s woven sportswear.
The spike in purchase orders is due, said Mr. Young, to the comeback of the US economy and the increased cost of Chinese labor.
Young recently visited the US and reported an increase in Philippines-made apparel in American retail outlets, reflecting the upsurge in orders.
“Every year, we have to observe the market,” Mr. Young’s statement said.
“For the first time in five years, this year is really different in the sense that there is really an increase in the market activities. You can see that shops are really full with the likes of Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Target and Wal-Mart which are our members in FOBAP.”
Young also talked informally with US retail sales managers.
“They said they have to get part-time sales people to accommodate increased shoppers. This somehow indicates that the US economy has definitely improved,” Mr. Young said.
Looking to the future, Mr.Young forecast additional US and foreign buying of Philippines-made goods as wages continue rising in China, and other sourcing problems persist throughout Asia.