Sales for the garment industry in Northern Marianas have posted a 24.6 percent or $146 million US dollar drop in the first 10 months of the 2006 fiscal year compared to the same period last year.
The drop is primarily due to the closure of 10 factories since January 2005.
Sales reached $448.6 million US dollars between October 2005 and July 2006, compared to $595 million for the same period the previous year.
The Fitial administration says the downward trend is expected to continue unless the U.S. Congress amends the U.S. Tariff Code to allow Saipan garment factories to use more imported raw materials for their made in the USA garment products.
As a result of dismal garment industry sales, government collections from user's fees reached only $16.597 million during the first 10 months of this fiscal year, compared to $22 million the previous year.
User's fees are the taxes paid by garment businesses on locally manufactured and finished garment products.