High-end products, Japanese plants to boost PH manufacturing
MANILA, Philippines - Soon, more expensive clothes and handbags will have the tag: Made in the Philippines.
This is because manufacturers are realising that the Philippines has a competitive edge in manufacturing high-end products such as those made by Coach and Ralph Lauren.
In the press conference after the Philippine Yearend Economic Briefing on Wednesday, February 13, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo told reporters that the Philippines is now earning a reputation as an ideal manufacturing hub for high-end value-added products.
Domingo said that, apart from value-adding, the Philippines is now becoming a cheaper destination for manufacturing firms abroad because of rising wages in countries like China.
"Even though Philippines is not the cheapest in terms of operating cost, we are now focusing on higher value-added products in the garments as well as in the leather bags. So we manufacture clothes or Coach, Ralph Lauren, and other very expensive brands, we seem to have established that value-added thing here in the Philippines and the brand owners see that," Domingo said.
More factories, jobs
Due to this, Domingo said many of these firms are looking at expanding their operations in the Philippines. He said in terms of employment, many firms, particularly in the garments sector, are targeting to double their workforce in the country.
This has given the impetus for more Japanese firms to locate their plants in the Philippines. Domingo said Japan is now the country's largest source of investors and is the country's largest trading partner to date.
Domingo said these new plants will boost the growth of the manufacturing sector and help support economic growth in the next 2 to 3 years.
"We're seeing now a huge interest from Japanese companies in putting up plants here in fact we've been doing that since the start of 2011 and the reason why, the big surge in manufacturing is because some of these plants that have been put in place have been operating," Domingo said.
Last year, FCF Manufacturing, the local subsidiary of Fashion Focus of China that manufactures bags for the luxury bag brand, set up a $10 million-worth factory in Bataan, according to Deogracias Custodio, chairman and administrator of the Authority of the Freeport of Bataan (AFAB).
China-based Fashion Focus and affiliate Merit Focus are major suppliers of Coach bags with 30-year history of experience in high-end bags, Custodio explained. This is their first venture in the Philippines. - Rappler.com