Garment sales in the Northern Marianas have dropped by 43 percent or about 16.7 million US dollars in April compared to the same period last year.
14 garment factories in Saipan have closed becuase they cannot compete with the low wages paid by developing countries that are now allowed to export their cheaper garments to the U.S.
The Marianas Variety newspaper says the user fees collected by the government from in sales for April did not even reach the 1 million dollar mark.
The special assistant for trade relations to the Governor, Richard Pierce, said this was the first time that the monthly user fees did not reach 1 million dollars since about 1994.
The user fees are the taxes paid by businesses on locally manufactured and finished garment products.
The garment industry does not pay the business gross revenue tax.