The Philippine garment and textile industry has rebounded strongly from a dramatic decline over the past five years by recording a 12.17 per cent increase in exports, reaching a value of $3.2bn during 2000.

Realising an upward potential, the Garment and Textile Export Board has set a $3.384bn (or 5.4 per cent increase), export target for this year.

According to officials at the Garment and Textile Export Board the upturn in the export trade has been attributed to the industry focussing more on quality rather than quantity and placing more emphasis on higher value added garments, which have lead to better prices.

The EU and Canada have also been attributed with turning around the decline, with exports to the EU totalling $373m, an increase of 16.21 per cent, and exports to Canada reaching $70m, an increase of 30.79.

Despite the increased exports to the EU and Canada, the US still remains the highest receiver of exports from the Philippines, taking in 74.68 per cent of total exports from the country.

The Garment and Textile Export Board will now focus on developing and promoting various programmes within the country to improve the industry's competitiveness in the world market.