Governor’s Strategic Economic Development Council

The Office of the Governor’s Strategic Economic Development Council (SEDC) dedicated a majority of their April 11, 2005 meeting, at the Commonwealth Senate Chambers, to a Saipan garment industry update.
SEDC Co-Chairperson Marian Aldan-Pierce introduced Council Members to Saipan Garment Manufacturers Association (SGMA) Executive Director, Richard A. Pierce, who delivered a power point analysis of industry economics, trends and global developments affecting Saipan apparel factory operations and future prospects.
SEDC Co-Chairman Robert H. Jones reported on a recent trip to a Dong Guan, China, factory complex, where Jones, Pierce, Lt. Governor Diego Benevente, SGMA Chairman James C. Lin and Saipan Chamber of Commerce’s Alex Sablan visited a China factory complex, where factory officials, Onwel Manufacturing’s owner, Michael Leung and Liz Claiborne’s Chris Chan illustrated China’s overwhelming advantage in supply chain manufacturing.
Jones described the technological complex site, which defined for the touring government and business leaders how Saipan could utilize a pre-cut assembly process in the future to rejuvenate the ailing Saipan garment industry.
Pierce started his presentation with recent New York Times and International Herald Tribune stories on how surges of Chinese textile exports have lessened Saipan factory orders.
Also presented were industry economic contributions to the local community; $69 Million in taxes and fees, $50 Million in local spending, 15,000 jobs in the industry and 7,500 jobs as a result of the industry, and between $111 Million and $174 Million in combined taxes, fees and the economic multiplier effect.
SGMA also demonstrated how competing free trade agreements have eroded Saipan factory competitiveness, how China exports and pricing structure have played into lost orders in Saipan and how government leaders can best address retention of revenue from the industry.
SEDC demonstrated how the Council Members can combine with CNMI Government leaders to best address the U.S. Department of Interior’s recommendations. DOI recommended “that every effort be made to avoid an abrupt or disorderly phase-out of this industry and to retain the more productive segments of the industry as long as possible”.