Garment manufacturers and exporters in Cebu City fed up with the proliferation of imported used clothing, known locally as "ukay-ukay", have been urged to lodge a formal complaint.

Trade undersecretary, Thomas G Aquino, told garments manufacturer Mayette Lastimoso during a consultation on World Trade Organisation rules: "You write a letter. Tell us exactly where these are and how these have affected your business."

He also revealed that some garments makers have sounded off their concerns over the proliferation of cheap imported used clothing, especially in Baguio City.

"But for government to be able to do something, there has to be a formal notice or a formal complaint," he added. "We can't just act on something without any basis." However, he said he was not aware if such a complaint has been filed before the Bureau of Import Services (BIS).

Ms. Lastimoso, vice-president for the Garments Business Association of the Philippines-Cebu chapter, said they might file such a complaint within the month as many garments manufacturers have stopped catering to the domestic market because of the proliferation of imported used clothing that are sold at very low prices.

"This is affecting our garment industry - we can no longer sell our locally manufactured garments," she said. "We have stopped making shorts and other low-end clothes for the domestic market because we can not compete with the low-priced imported used clothing.

Ms Lastimoso also asked whether sanitary measures have been undertaken to ensure that imported used clothing did not affect the health of Filipinos.

Mr. Aquino said that before a complaint is filed, garments manufacturers should determine whether they are invoking the provisions of the Anti-Dumping Act of 1999 and the Safeguards Law or questioning the sanitary aspect.

The Anti-Dumping Act is among trade defence measures intended to neutralise the injurious effects caused by imports dumped here. Since 1995, there have been 28 distinct final anti-dumping determinations against industrial products.

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

The 2000-2005 World Outlook for Clothing

The 2000 World Forecasts of Apparel and Clothing Accessories Export Supplies

The 2000 World Forecasts of Old Clothing, Old Textiles and Rags Export Suppliers