MANILA, Philippines—A bill in the United States Congress that is “mutually beneficial for both the Philippines and the US” has gained the support of three US senators after meeting with Philippines’ Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario who has been campaigning for the bill.
The bill, known as Save Our Industries Act or SAVE Act, would allow “apparel products manufactured in the Philippines using US made fabrics to enter the United States duty free,” a statement by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday.
Del Rosario has “successfully secured the commitment of three members of the United States Congress to support the SAVE Act” after meeting with members from both houses of the US Congress on April 17 and 18, the DFA said.
The senators who committed to supporting the SAVE act were Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Representative Don Manzullo.
Del Rosario said that “the apparel industry remains a very significant sector economically and politically.”
“SAVE Act is mutually beneficial for both the Philippines and the United States because it also provides a significant new export opportunity for the US textile industry,” he said.
The SAVE act was described by Del Rosario as “a major step that would immediately contribute positively to Philippine-US bilateral trade and over-all relationship.”
“This opportunity could account for hundreds of millions in new US textile exports in a short period of time that would translate into thousands of additional jobs for the US textile sector,” he added.
Del Rosario campaigned for the bill by telling US senators and congressmen that “by helping strengthen the Philippine economy through such arrangements as the SAVE Act, the US is also making itself stronger.”
The bill will also serve to prepare the Philippines for its eventual membership in the Trans Pacific Partnership, the DFA said.
Senator Wyden is the chairman of the Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Competitiveness, while Senator Roberts is a senior member of the said Subcommittee. Representative Manzullo is the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific under the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the DFA said.
Del Rosario met with Senators Max Baucus, Chuck Grassley, John Rockefeller, Mike Enzi, Chuck Schumer, Robert Menendez, Debbie Ann Stabenow, Marco Rubio, and with Representatives Hal Rogers, Wally Herger, SAVE Act principal sponsor Jim McDemott, Ed Royce, Ander Crenshaw, Geoff Davis, Mazie Hirono, Steve Austria, and Kilili Sablan.
“The other Members of Congress met by the Secretary gave assurances that they understand both the strategic and economic importance of the bill, and that they will have to examine it more closely,” he said.