PH urged to fill in garment orders seen leaving Vietnam
A local trade association said the Philippines should take advantage of the anticipated flight of foreign orders of garments and other apparel from Vietnam due to counterfeiting issues, citing that local producers can fill a portion of the demand estimated to be worth P500 million a year.
The Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (Fobap) told the Inquirer on Friday that buyers from the United States have approached them, asking if the local garments sector can meet the demand that is normally filled by Vietnamese producers.
“Three principal apparel buyers gave indication to redirect some portion of their production orders, which can generate approximately $100 million in the near term,” said Robert Young, president of Fobap, whose trade group are buyers and exporters of garments and hard goods.
“If the infringement challenge in Vietnam does not stop, if it continues, that [figure] can easily go up to half a billion dollars per year easily,” he added, citing that foreign buyers are turned off by the rampant counterfeiting of apparel and other wearables in Vietnam.
Young said they were told that at least 41 big brand names had filed cases with the Vietnam government to act on widespread counterfeiting problems in the southeast Asian country.
“They feel that the Vietnam government is not doing enough. It’s like what happened in China some 10 or 15 years ago,” Young said.
Young also cited a recent big-time raid in Ho Chi Minh City, where authorities raided stores in Saigon square—a popular shopping district that is a hot spot for copycat goods —seizing thousands of counterfeit luxury fashion items.
Vietnamese authorities confiscated thousands of items including, among others, clothes, bags, purses, wallets, eyewear, watches and other fashion accessories, according to the story cited by the Fobap official.
These fake branded products bear the names of popular foreign brands ranging from high-end one such as Hermes, Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton to more affordable household names like Nike and Adidas.
Young said this would be an opportune time for the local garments sector if the Philippines can show that counterfeiting is not a major problem in the country.
“They are asking us how the situation is here in the Philippines [when it comes to counterfeiting]. But from what I know, it is not as rampant here,” Young said.
Last week, the Philippines’ intellectual property (IP) rights body said that piracy and counterfeiting complaints and reports declined year-on-year by 40 percent from January to November.
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) attributed it to government and private sector efforts to quash these IP-related crimes.
The IP-rights said it received 92 such reports and complaints during the 11-month period, lower than the full-year figure of 153 in 2021 and 104 in 2020.
The two biggest e-commerce platforms in the Philippines—Shopee and Lazada—along with several big brand names like Unilever, Golden ABC Inc., Procter and Gamble also signed in 2021 a memorandum of understanding to combat the sale of fake products online.
Earlier in September, Young said that orders for clothing apparel from foreign clients were down by 5 percent, with fears of a looming recession in the United States dampening consumer spending.
Young said they were exporting $1 billion worth of garments and other wearable goods each year, with major destination countries including the United States, Australia, Canada and Japan, as well as many European countries.
The Fobap official said that the waning consumer spending in the western country has spilled over to other non-US markets, affecting orders from those countries as well.
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