The Philippines could not benefit from the US-China trade war, as investments and sourcing opportunities instead headed for Myanmar.

The expected boost in export orders in 2019 as a result of the US-China trade war did not happen for the Philippines apparel industry, despite the government’s plan to boost manufacturing. To make matters worse, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported in August that the performance of manufacturing production continued to decline, the eighth consecutive month during which the total manufacturing indices were on the decline.

However, as of the third quarter, consumer confidence in the country was reportedly the second highest in the world, just a shade behind India. Textiles was one of the 15 major sectors that accelerated the rise in value of production index, PSA reported in July.

Exports that never were

Export-oriented factories did not benefit from the trade war as companies looking for alternative manufacturing sites chose Myanmar over the Philippines, the Confederation of Wearable Exports of the Philippines (CONWEP) said in October. Its data showed the sector’s exports dropped by 4 per cent from January to July to $542 million compared to the same period a year ago.

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