* Hunger threatens Asia amid rapid economic growth — ADB:
Asian and Pacific governments must find ways to reduce food waste and storage losses, encourage rural development, and provide well-targeted safety nets to protect the poor from hunger, says a new report presented today at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“The planet is now home to seven billion people and rising. One of the key challenges for developing Asia will be ensuring food security in the face of competing rural demands, poor agricultural management and climate change, while not compromising on equitable economic growth,” said Xianbin Yao, director general of ADB’s Pacific Department. read more.
16:32:19 local time CHINA
* 15% of world trade Chinese: commerce minister:
As the second-largest economy, and with a fifth of the world’s population, China should account for 15 percent of global trade volume, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming has said.
“China’s population accounts for 19 percent of the global population while its current trade volume is only 10.4 percent of that of the world, so it will be totally fine for China’s trade to be 15 percent of the world’s,” Chen said at an economic meeting held in east China’s Jiangsu province on Monday. read more.
* New markets propel Chinese textile & apparel exports:
China’s textile and garment exports reached US $50 billion in the first quarter of this year, up a marginal 3 percent from the same period of 2011.
The slowdown witnessed in China’s traditional markets like US, EU and Japan was compensated by marvelous growth rates posted in new markets like ASEAN, Africa, Latin America and Middle East last year. read more.
* Cotton imports near record high in March:
Imports of cotton into China have nearly doubled during the season which has just ended – with imports in March ranking as the second highest in record, according to official figures.
The China Cotton Association says imports rose 86.6% in the seven-months from September to the end of March, reaching 3.241m tons.
The surge is the result of government efforts to build national stockpiles in an effort to ensure domestic cotton supplies and help avoid future fluctuations in cotton prices.
In March, China imported 625,000 tons of cotton, a rise of 1.5% over February, and 126.1% higher year-on-year. The average import price was $2,330 per ton, which was 24.8% lower than in the same month last year.
China is the biggest user of Indian cotton, but a decision by the Indian government earlier this year to restrict its cotton exports meant India’s share of the total fell to below 50% in March. Earlier in the season China had taken around 85% of India’s total cotton exports.
In terms of other source countries, the US continued to recover and accounted for one-third of total imports, Australia saw a “slight increase”, while India, Brazil and Uzbekistan “declined a little.”
Inter-governmental group the International Cotton Advisory Council (ICAC) most recently forecast that a surge in cotton imports into China is set to boost global cotton trade this season, and is also likely to keep cotton prices low. to read .
* Record Chinese imports to boost cotton trade:
A surge in cotton imports into China is set to boost global cotton trade this season, and is also likely to keep cotton prices low, according to the latest forecast from an inter-governmental group.
The International Cotton Advisory Council (ICAC) estimates world cotton shipments will rise by 13% to 8.6m tons in the 2011/12 season – which runs until 31 July – driven by record imports from China.
While China will account for 52% of global imports this season, imports by the rest of the world are projected to fall by 18% to 4.2m tons as efforts to build China’s cotton stockpiles mean there is less cotton available for other countries.
US exports are dropping by 21% to 2.5m tons due to reduced supplies, the ICAC says, but shipments from India, Brazil and Australia could reach record levels.
As a result, while stocks in China are expected to more than double to 5m tons in 2011/12, stocks in the rest of the world will increase at a more moderate rate of 14% to 8.1m tons.
The forecast comes as cotton plantings get underway in the northern hemisphere for the 2012/13, which runs from 1 August to 31 July 2013.
World cotton area is expected to fall by 7% to 33.6m hectares in response to lower prices, rising agricultural production costs and the improving attractiveness of alternative crops like grains and soybeans.
Based on average yields, world production could decline by 7% to 25.2m tons, ICAC says. The decline in production will be driven by China, expected to produce a crop of 6.4m tons or 13% lower than in 2011/12.
Production is also expected to decline in India, Pakistan, Brazil and Turkey. But US production could rise by 11% to 3.8m tons despite reduced plantings, assuming improved weather and lower abandonment than in 2011/12.
After two seasons of decline, global cotton mill use is projected to increase by 4% to 24.1m tons in 2012/13, driven by improving economic growth and lower cotton prices. With global production exceeding global consumption again, global stocks are expected to continue increasing by 9% to 14.3m tons, or 59% of world mill use.
The projected accumulation of cotton stocks will weigh on international cotton prices in 2012/13 – but the extent of this downward pressure will largely depend on how the Chinese national reserve is handled. to read.
16:32:19 local time PHILIPPINES
* Fire in Philippine garment store kills 17 workers:
An inferno at a three-story clothing store in the southern Philippines early Wednesday killed 17 employees, most of whom were women who were asleep and trapped on the top floor, officials said. read more.
* Creating jobs for Filipinos:
Nearly 3 million Filipinos (2.922 million to be exact), or 7.2 per cent of our labour force, were unemployed as of last January, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO).
In contrast, Thailand has only 1 per cent unemployment; Vietnam and Brunei have 2.7 per cent; Singapore 2.8 per cent; and Malaysia 3.4 per cent. Even Cambodia, Laos and Burma (Myanmar), the most lagging countries in Asean, count only 1.4, 1.8 and 4 per cent of their labour force respectively as unemployed. read more.
* Tesda, DOLE offer training, employment to 7,000 poorest youth:
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) have converged two of their major programs to offer training and employment to some 7,000 out-of-school youth (OSY).
The participants will be selected from 300 to 400 poorest municipalities in the country that were identified by the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster composed of heads of various government departments and agencies.
The program involves the convergence of Tesda’s Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) and the DOLE’s Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) to boost technical vocational training by making it within reach of young students who could not continue their studies because of poverty. read more.
15:32:19 local time VIET NAM
* Textile JSC invests in new products:
The 10/10 Textile Joint Stock company has cooperated with its Denmark partner to invest VND300 billion (US$14.3 million) in installing a new production line equipped with German technology in Hung Yen Province.
The investment aims to raise its production capacity from the current 1,000 tonnes to 1,600 tonnes of mosquito nets per month to help the company reduce raw materials from China, Bangladesh and Thailand.
It is expected the new production line will be operational in September this year to create more than 150 jobs. The company’s main products include various types of tulle, net, curtains and mosquito nets. to read in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 9/5 .
* Russian firm offers deal to guest workers:
The Russian shoe company at the centre of claims of mistreatment of Vietnamese labourers wants to keep employing the workers and has offered to draw up new contracts to address their complaints.
The Vietnamese labourers went on strike last week and complained to their families on the phone from Ekaterinburg – the city situated in the central part of Russia, that they were being forced to work up to 13 hours a day in poor conditions without being paid.
* Garment exports rise 14% in first four months:
Garments and textiles remained amongst the 10 biggest Vietnamese exports, reaching more than US$3.7 billion in the first four months, a year-on-year increase of 14.4 per cent, reported the General Statistics Office (GSO).
A report from the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) said that in this four-month period, garment and textile exports to South Korea increased by 50 per cent, to the US by 15 per cent, the EU by 3 per cent and by more than 30 per cent to Japan.
From February to April, exports added about $90-96 million to the industry’s revenue each month. read more.
15:32:19 local time THAILAND
* Lawyer: Thai jailed for anti-royalty texts dies:
A lawyer for a man sentenced to 20 years for sending text messages deemed insulting to the monarchy says his client has died.
Amphon Tangnoppakul was in his 60s and became known as “Uncle SMS” when a Thai court issued the verdict in his case in late 2011. It was the heaviest sentence ever handed down in Thailand for a so-called lese majeste case. read more.
& more about Thai Man “Uncle SMS” imprisoned for Insulting Queen Dies.
* Businesses opting for migrant workers to keep their costs low:Tak faces worker shortage as many head for inner city to earn more
Employers in five border districts of Tak face a shortage of workers as many migrants have “escaped” to work in inner cities after the government implemented its Bt300 minimum wage policy.
Due to gaps in the law, many Myanmar workers in Mae Sot have relocated to cities in central areas, while hundreds of millions of baht has circulated in the underground system.
Chaiwat Praserttum, president of the Entrepreneur Association in five districts of Tak province, said factories in the cities were now looking to replace Thai workers with migrants because of the Bt300 minimum daily wage policy for local workers – to cut labour costs. read more.
* Thai textile sector prepares for ASEAN Economic Community:
Textile industries in Thailand have been urged to enhance their productivity and workers’ skills, as the public and private sectors of the country are preparing to join the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. read more.
15:32:19 local time CAMBODIA
* Factory name change fires up workers:
More than 5,000 workers went on strike in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district yesterday after discovering the owners had changed the name of their factory almost two years ago, a union representative said.
Concerned that the name change from Tai Yeng to Tai Nan in 2010 could affect the benefits they had accrued, the workers rallied outside the factory, in Bek Chan commune. read more.
* Two arrested for arranging illegal border crossings:
Police have arrested a Cambodian couple for helping 17 laborers cross the Thai border illegally.
Police identified the couple as Seik Somphors, 45, and You Ron, 40, from Psar Kondal district in Poipet.
The two were arrested Monday at the Golden Crown Casino, where hundreds of laborers congregate to cross the border illegally, police said.
Some laborers say they have been lured by an announcement on May 1 that salaries paid by Thai companies would be increased to 300 baht a day.
Authorities have promised to cooperate in cracking down on illegal border crossings, with little effect so far. to read.
* Cambodian Maids seek justice in Malaysia:
Chased out of the house by her Malaysian employer, fresh-faced Tieng SaSa, 18, found shelter with an NGO, escaping alleged abuse at the hands of her employer that included binding her hands and beating her feet with a metal club until her bones broke.
Three months later, Tieng SaSa is still in Malaysia. read more.
* Families call for help to find maids:
The families of two maids working in Malaysia asked Preah Vihear’s anti-human trafficking office and the human rights group Adhoc yesterday to intervene on behalf of their daughters, whom they haven’t seen or heard from since last year, officials said.
* Thai jobs serve as siren song:
Every day they come in the thousands and crowd under a blazing sun for hours, awaiting a moment that costs them more than two full months’ salary – a passport.
And where are they going?
“Thailand,” 21-year-old Sem Pheaktra said, squinting under a harsh mid-morning sun.
He, and five other young men recruited by the Khemara company were waiting in a thousand-strong crowd to have their photo taken at the new passport office on Phnom Penh’s Mao Tse Toung Boulevard.
“I am going to work in Thailand through [a recruiter],” the Kratie province native said. “I don’t need to pay for the passport, the company just cuts back my salary to pay for it.”
Cambodians pay about US$160 for a passport, more than double the average monthly garment factory salary of $61. read more.
* From BetterFactories:
You can read the printed version of The Phnom Penh Post about:
1. Workers left in limbo on union law. read here.
2. Court calls Bandith to clarify Bavet shooting. read here.
3. Factory name change fires up workers. read here.
You can read the printed version of Cambodia Daily about:
4. About 20 witnesses questioned in SEZ shooting. read here.
16:32:19 local time MALAYSIA
* Undocumented migrant workers constantly exploited in Malaysia:
Malaysia hosts approximately two million migrant workers from Indonesia who work mostly as domestic workers and labourers in the agriculture sector.
A large number of these workers face problems because they are undocumented.
Rights activist Tenaganita executive director Irene Fernandez has been working to provide legal assistance to Indonesian illegal migrant workers. read more.
* Inflation To Stay At 2-3 Per Cent Despite Minimum Wage: Bank Negara
Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) inflation forecast of between two and three per cent still remains despite the introduction of the minimum wage, says its Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
She said the minimum wage was positive, as it would contribute to an increase in consumption as the group it catered to had a high propensity to consume. read more.
* Zeti says minimum wage factor has already been priced into CPI:
The impact in terms of rising prices from the recently announced minimum wage is slight as such wages represent a small portion of total production costs.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced a monthly minimum wage for the private sector of RM900 (for the peninsula states) and RM800 (for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan) on the eve of Labour Day.
Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said the minimum wage factor had been priced into the consumer price index (CPI), a measure of inflation published every month by the Statistics Department. read more.
16:32:19 local time INDONESIA
* May Day Rap – Manila 2012:
Filipino urban youth express their frustrations over poverty and government corruption through a rap song during Labour Day in Plaza Miranda. They sing that the reason why they attended the Labour Day demonstration was to sing their song to protest graft and corruption in the Philippine government.
14:32:19 local time BANGLA DESH
* Cabinet clears draft of Labour Policy-2012:The Cabinet on Monday approved the draft of the National Labour Policy-2012 to ensure the rights and overall welfare of workers. (..)
By the time, Mosharraf Hossain said, 32 years have passed but there was no amendment to the labour policy although there has been a considerable change in the sector, both at the national and international levels. “The definitions of industry and labour have also changed,” he said.
Mosharraf also said the draft of the new labour policy has incorporated expatriate workers into it, put emphasis on the women labourers and tried to find out ways for eliminating child labour from industries.
* Govt wants to ensure transport availability for low-income group: PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said a major aim of her government is to ensure the availability of transport for the low-income group using the facilities of Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation – BRTC.
She directed the authorities concerned to take necessary steps and work with devotion toward this end and hoped that the BRTC would be turned into a more modern and multipurpose service-oriented organisation in the future.
“I never think about the plight of the rich people in luxurious cars during a traffic jam. I always think about the sufferings of the middle income, low-income and poor people on the roads,” Hasina said while inaugurating the operation of 33 double-decker bus of state-owned BRTC at a function at the PM’s Office. read more.
* RMG exports to UAE grew by 62 pc in nine months:
RMG market to the Middle East is opening up and also fast growing. The country’s apparel exports to the UAE has increased by 62 per cent over last nine months of the current financial year as per trade figure released by Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) recently.
Industry insiders said export of Bangladeshi apparel products to the UAE market would be worth more than US$ 2.0 billion in the next three years. read more.
* Huntsman-DBL to achieve sustainable excellence in textiles:
Huntsman Textile Effects and DBL Group have embarked on a strategic partnership focused on achieving sustainable excellence, cost efficiency, enhancing textile differentiation and quality without compromising protection to environment.
A global leader in developing total textile solutions across all aspects of the textile chain and a committed player in developing sustainable, high performing processing and effects chemicals that have low environmental impact, Huntsman Textile Effects will support DBL Group to drive environmental and economic sustainability. It may be achieved through implementation of the Productivity Improvement Program (PIP).
14:02:19 local time INDIA
* Centre sews up loose ends in cotton export permits:
Outflow of cotton exports will henceforth be regulated. In a notification issued for resumption of cotton exports registration, the Centre has capped the quantity that can be exported at one time. read more.
* Over 90% Indian firms list gender, disability as priority areas in HR policies:
It couldn’t get better for women in corporate India. For, 91 per cent of the companies surveyed by global human resource firm, Mercer, listed ‘gender’ as a top focus area. The companies said they would make efforts to give more leadership roles to women.
‘Disability’ was second on the priority list of Indian companies, with 39 per cent of the 31 surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region, affirming its importance. A few said they already had a diversity strategy specific to people with disabilities, including targeted recruitment and creating a work environment for specific needs, the Mercer survey said.
* Cotton Corporation of India procures 12.6 lakh quintal cotton in this season:
The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) has procured more than 12 lakh quintals of cotton in the current marketing year, Parliament was informed.
Providing details of cotton procurement across the country to the Lok Sabha in a written reply, Minister of State for Textiles Panabaaka Lakshmi said the central agency purchased 2.09 lakh quintals of cotton from growers in Andhra Pradesh at average price of Rs 3,949 per quintal. read more.
* ‘Cotton exports may decline in next season’:
Cotton also called ‘white gold’ has been cultivated by man for several thousand years and also enjoys a predominant position among all cash crops, with developing countries accounting for a major portion of the cotton output. Global cotton consumption has increased at an average of 2% per annum. read more.
* TN spinning mills seek withdrawal of power restrictions:
The Tamil Nadu Spinning Mills Association (TASMA) has urged the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd. (TANGEDCO) to withdraw the existing restrictions on power supply to industrial consumers.
The appeal comes in the wake of an increase in wind power generation in the state, which fills the prevailing demand and supply gap. read more.
13:32:19 local time PAKISTAN
* Pak govt steadfast to redress textile industry issues:
The Government is completely aware about the issues faced by the domestic textile industry, and it would extend all possible support to aid the textile exporters, Pakistan Minister of State for Privatisation, Rana Asif Tauseef, has said. read more.
* Pakistan-Germany discuss leather trade prospects:
Quality and price are the two factors that would govern the rise in Pakistan’s leather exports to Germany, said Dr. Tilo Klinner, the Consul General of Germany.
During a meeting with representatives of Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA), he informed that Pakistan’s leather and leather item exports to Germany grew by 45 percent during last fiscal year. read more.
USA & the Garment Industry
* TPP Free Trade Agreement for Garments: Plan B
For over 20 years all negotiations for U.S. garment related free trade agreements have been governed by 2 assumptions.
1. Without the support of the textile industry, the U.S. Congress will reject any proposed garment free trade agreement.
As a result all negotiations between the U.S. and garment exporting countries have been based on a never ending series of compromises in an effort to achieve some consensus with the U.S. textile industry
Through these compromises, we have reached the point where most of the clauses of the free-trade agreement exist to limit free-trade:
Here are but a few. read more.