* Migrant workers in Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia ( a report):
Migrant workers have played a central part in the economic success story of many South-East Asian countries in recent years. As these countries have embraced the ‘outwards turn’ of export orientation, migrant workers have provided a regular source of cheap labour that has allowed their manufacturing industries to compete successfully on world markets. Women migrants, in particular, have taken on jobs considered too arduous or unpleasant by local workers.
Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia have reaped huge economic benefits from the
contribution made by migrant workers. In Cambodia, almost 90% of garment factory workers are young women who have migrated from rural areas of the country. Migration from neighbouring countries has provided an essential source of cheap labour to the thriving export industries of Thailand and Malaysia. Despite their contribution, these same countries have refused to grant migrant workers the rights and security that are their due. read more & download the pdf report.
18:19:01 local time CAMBODIA – SRI LANKA
* Female Wages in the Apparel Industry-The Cases of Cambodia and Sri Lanka:
The end of the Multi-fiber Arrangement/Agreement on Textiles and Clothing in 2005 was a major policy change that affected the allocation of global apparel productions well as the lives of workers involved in this sector. Since the apparel industry is often the major female employer in developing countries, this policy change was expected to have major implications for women.16:49:01 local time
This paper analyzes the wages and working conditions of women in the apparel sector in Cambodia and Sri Lanka following the phase-out the Multi-fibre Arrangement.
In both countries, apparel is a major source of exports, and women constitute 70 to 80 percent of the workers employed in the apparel industry. The paper finds that after the removal of the Multi-fibre Arrangement, apparel prices declined as a result of the increased competition. The theoretical model suggests that a decrease in prices would lead to a decrease in apparel wage premiums relative to other industries in the short run and the widening of the male-female wage gap in the long run.
The empirical findings support these theoretical predictions. Wage premiums in the apparel sector relative to other industries went down post-Multi- fibre Arrangement in Cambodia and Sri Lanka and the male-female wage gap increased. The paper finds mixed results in terms of working conditions in Cambodia and Sri Lanka.
19:19:01 local time CHINA
* Self-owned clothing brands blooming:
Nearly 100 events like 20th China International Clothing & Accessories Fair (CHIC2012), 8th China Annual Award for Clothing Brand, 2012 China International Fashion Week and China Clothing Forum were held one after another in Beijing during the last ten days of March, with assembly of the major-brand enterprises both at home and abroad. It is delighted that with the deep development of the economic globalization and international labor division, the self-owned brands in the Chinese clothing industry are blooming. read more.
* Paul Smith plans flagship store at Jing’an Temple:
BRITISH fashion label Paul Smith has become the latest clothing brand to seek its fortunes in China, with a new Shanghai megastore planned for the end of this year.
The brand, best known for its colorful designs and men’s suits worn by celebrities such as David Beckham, will open a 464-square-meter flagship store in the Kerry Center at Jing’an Temple in December.
ImagineX, the Hong Kong-based distributor of Paul Smith on China’s mainland, is planning a further 24 stores in China over the next five years “at the very least,” a spokeswoman for the group said. read more.
* Macart Textiles to show eco-SpinTwist at ITMA ASIA:
Macart Textiles (Machinery Ltd) will exhibit the eco-SpinTwist for HB acrylic yarn at ITMA ASIA event in China. The new eco-SpinTwist for the manufacture of two fold twisted High Bulk Acrylic industrial machine knitting yarns for sweaters, jumpers, hats, gloves, socks and blankets. read more.
19:19:01 local time PHILIPPINES
* AFP Pledges Protection Of Workers:
Keeping up with its commitment to uphold human rights, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has joined labor groups in protecting workers’ rights.
This, as the armed forces representatives signed last week the “Guidelines on the Conduct of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Justice (DOJ), AFP, and Philippine National Police (PNP) Relative to the Exercise of Workers’ Rights and Activities.” read more.
* Workers call labor department’s order against contractualization ‘a hoax’:
Employees who get ‘endo’ (end of contract and thus end of job) after four to five months still populate the employed in the Philippines, six months after the labor department issued an order that it claimed would have ended contractualization. It is the employment scheme that has helped employers cut down wages, benefits and undercut unions, but which workers have been complaining of as illegal and anti-worker.
* Philippines wants Save Act passed by Sept:
Aiming to re-secure the US$ 3 billion export level for its garment and textile industry, the Philippine Government has set itself a deadline till September this year for getting its “Save Our Industries Act” bill passed.
Once cleared, the bill would open the way for duty-free or preferential access of Philippine garments, prepared from American yarn or fabric, in the US market.
18:19:01 local time VIET NAM
* Garment and textile export up 14.7% in four months:
Vietnam’s garment and textile export turnover reached US $4.4 billion in the first four months of this year, up 14.7%, despite the shrinking demand in the US, Japan and Europe, according to the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex).
The country set the target to gain US $18.5 billion from exporting garment and textile products this year. It is within reach mainly due to precise market forecasts and good tapping of emerging markets, said Vinatex Deputy General Director Le Tien Truong.
* Garment firms trying on locals for size:
Local sources are to meet local textile garment firms’ material needs.
Dinh Vu polyester fibre plant in northern Haiphong city’s Dinh Vu Industrial Park, developed by Petrochemical and Textile Fibre Joint Stock Company (PVTEX), is one local firm to cash in as it made its first batches of polyester synthetic fibre, the first of its kind made in Vietnam, in late 2011.
Though still in the test run period, from December 2011 PVTEX has sold over 20,000 tonnes of fibres and yarns through competitive pricing.
Though the Dinh Vu plant was not officially up and running, some businesses under Vinatex began to use the plant products, according to Vinatex’s deputy general director Le Tien Truong.
As scheduled, in 2012 the Dinh Vu plant will turn out 150,000-175,000 tonnes of fibres meeting 40 per cent of the garment textile sector demand. read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 16/5.
* Nam Dinh eyes $120m fibre plant:
The Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) will join hands with Japan’s Itochu Corporation to build a modern US$120 million fibre plant in northern Nam Dinh Province.
Construction is scheduled to start soon in the provincial Bao Minh Industrial Zone and is slated for completion next year, creating 3,000 local jobs, Vinatex announced on Thursday.
“The plant will produce the highest quality of fibre to better meet orders for quality garment products in Japan, South Korea and the US,” Doan Doan Duc, from Vinatex, said. read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 16/5.
* Garment makers sew up profits:
The central province of Thua Thien – Hue earned US$99 million from textile and garment exports in the first four months of this year, up 15.7 per cent against the same period last year with major import markets including the US, Germany and Japan, according to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade.
Some exporters in the province have achieved good results: Thien An Phat Textile and Garment Investment Joint-stock Co bagged about $3 million, and Phu Hoa An Textile and Garment Joint-stock Co made $1 million during the period. to read.
* Fashion label prepares to expand:
Sophie Paris, one of Asia’s leading direct selling fashion brands, yesterday announced its forthcoming expansion into the nation’s capital city to meet increasing demand in the northern region.
“We typically see monthly sales of around US$100,000 from Viet Nam’s northern provinces, and so, based on what we have seen in other cities, we would expect to see that double once we are fully operational in the coming year,” said the general director of Sophie Paris Viet Nam, Nick Jonsson.
Sophie Paris is a French owned direct selling fashion company operating in Indonesia, Morocco, the Philippines, Viet Nam and Malaysia. Its second showroom in Viet Nam will open its door in the capital in August following the first in HCM City. to read.
18:19:01 local time THAILAND
* Thailand unionists ‘laid off in wake of wage increase’:
Since the 300 baht (US$9.5) daily minimum wage was launched in Thailand on April 1, many businesses have been trying to lay off union activists or limit their roles to prevent them from fighting for workers’ rights, a labour leader said yesterday.
“Labour union members have been deemed as hostile [by employers] and some of them have been laid off in many cases, or assigned to non-paying duties or no longer given overtime work, which earns them extra income,” said Chalee Loysung, chairman of the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC). read more.
* 8,000 workers lose jobs in first quarter:
Workers are being laid off at an alarming rate, with almost 8,000 losing their jobs in the first quarter of this year, says the Labour Ministry’s labour economics office in its latest report. read more.
18:19:01 local time CAMBODIA
* HIV prevalence high among migrant workers in Thailand:
Cambodian migrants have the highest rate of HIV among migrant groups in Thailand for reasons that range from the nature of their jobs to cultural attitudes towards condoms, Thai health workers said yesterday.
The results of the recent Integrated Bio Behavioural Survey by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health shows Cambodian migrant workers have an HIV prevalence rate of 2.5 per cent, the highest of any migrant population in the country. read more.
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
1. Mixed fortunes for strikers. read here.
2. Victims summonsed again; suspect still free.read here.
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
3. SEZ shooting victims called for questioning.read here.
4. Shooting victims’ lawyers denied site visit.read here.
5.Working group for Chea Vichea statue established.read here.
19:19:01 local time SINGAPORE
* Doing right by foreign workers:
Singapore’s Manpower Ministry’s move to toughen legislation on the hiring of foreign non-professional labour is partly to ensure that Singaporeans are not denied jobs through fraud committed by cost-cutting employers. One ploy is to falsify data on local hires and CPF contributions so that they can meet the threshold for hiring more foreign workers cheaply. Companies have also been prosecuted for fraudulently over-stating the salaries of foreign hires to meet statutory requirements for work passes. Such chicanery calls for strong deterrent measures so that locals of equivalent ability are hired, the dependence on foreign labour is progressively reduced and productivity is nudged up. read more.
17:19:01 local time BANGLA DESH
* Handicraft exporters demand design centre, craft village:
The handicraft exporters have demanded allocation for setting up of a design centre and craft villages in the country for boosting export.
The exporters pointed out that the country can fetch billions of dollars through exporting handicraft if proper training and marketing facilities are provided to the artisans. There are thousands of artisans spreading all over the country, but their products are not international standard. In absence of training and branding of the products, the country is loosing the competitive edge gradually, the exporters told the Independent.
“If proper attention is given, this hundred per cent value added products can be next to the garments sector in the perspective of export and employment generation,” said a leading handicraft exporter. read more.
* BGMEA decides to keep factories open from Monday:
Having been assured by the Home Minister of taking necessary security steps, apparel manufacturers on Sunday decided to keep their factories open in the troubled Ashulia area from tomorrow (Monday) and urged the readymade garment workers not to pay heed to any rumour.
Addressing an impromptu press conference, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said they had met Home Minister Shahara Khatun and other agencies concerned regarding the recent unrest in the RMG sector over the death rumour of a worker. read more.
* Bangladesh must diversify exports: EU envoy:
Bangladesh needs to diversify its export basket and go beyond traditional destinations to keep the growth pace steady in the European market, said the head of the EU delegation to Bangladesh yesterday.
“Bangladesh has been known for consistent progress in export for the last three years. And no other least developed countries made so much progress during this period,” said William Hanna. (…)
Bangladeshi exports increased to 8.6 billion euros in 2011 from 6.7 billion euros in 2010.
Bangladesh exported 88 percent of its total garment products and 4 percent of total agriculture and fisheries products to the EU in 2011. During this time, Bangladesh imported 56 percent of its total import of machinery and transport equipment, and 13 percent chemicals from the EU. read more.
* RMG units in Bangladesh’s Ashulia industrial zone reopen:
Following the Home Minister Sahara Khatun’s assurance of providing adequate security, garment producers in Bangladesh have reopened their factories at Ashulia industrial zone in Savar, Dhaka.
The decision regarding reopening of the readymade garment (RMG) manufacturing units was taken at a meeting of leaders of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) and several other chambers. read more.
16:49:01 local time INDIA
* Cotton wilts on weak global market,demand:
A Rajkot-based broker said that prices may decline by another Rs 500 for a candy of 356. “The global cotton scenario is bearish and it has affected our market too, bringing down cotton prices. Moreover, domestic demand is weak,” he said. read more.
* Maharashtra to adopt Brazilian techniques to raise cotton yield:
The Maharashtra Government is planning to adopt the ‘Brazil pattern’ for boosting cotton yield in the State.
“It wants to boost productivity from 475 kg per hectare to 600 kg per hectare,” a senior Maharashtra Government official said.
Brazil, in spite of having just 14 lakh hectares of rain-fed land for cotton cultivation, produces about 1,495 kg of cotton per hectare. The global average is 745 kg per hectare. read more.
* TUFS for Indian textiles sector to continue:
The Indian textile industry’s demand for prolonging the Technology Upgradation Fund (TUF) Scheme seems to have been addressed to some extent.
Textiles Secretary Ms. Kiran Dhingra said the scheme would continue at least for the time being. She informed that the Textile Ministry has proposed extension of the TUF scheme in the 12th Five Year Plan with an allocation of Rs. 158.86 billion. read more.
* Raymond launches India’s first tailoring centre:
Raymond Ltd., India’s leading textile brand and world leader in Worsted Fabric and Garments, announced the launch of India’s first training centre to impart tailoring skills to under privileged youth and tailors. Launched in Patna, Bihar by the State’s Hon. Chief Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, this Centre is geared to train 250 candidates in suit, shirt and trouser making in the first academic year. read more.
* India’s handicraft exports grow in April:
Driven by growing demand from emerging markets like China, Middle-East and Latin America, India’s handicraft exports for April 2012 rose by 11 percent year-on-year.
Handicraft exports grew from April 2011’s US$ 204 million to US$ 227 million in April this year, the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) stated. read more.
16:19:01 local time PAKISTAN
* Fresh hurdles in Pakistan gaining EU GSP Plus status:
Pakistan’s textile exports to the EU continue to face a number of objections and the latest issue to crop up is the objection raised by Spain, Portugal and Germany.
In February this year, the General Council of the World Trade Organization (WTO) unanimously cleared the way for providing trade concessions to 75 items of Pakistan, including 64 textiles and garment items. read more.
* FBR assures Pakistan textile exporters of speedy refunds:
Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Mumtaz Haider Rizvi has assured textile exporters of Pakistan regarding removal of hurdles and speeding up payments of customs rebates and sales tax refunds, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Chairman, Rana Arif Tauseef, said.
Mr. Rana said a delegation led by him convened a meeting with the FBR chief to apprise him regarding the problems with the refund system. read more.
* PTEA demands halt in power tariff hikes for six months:
Textile exporters of Pakistan have called upon the Government to keep the electricity charges unaltered for the next six months and to abolish fuel adjustment surcharge.
Raising the demand during a meeting, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Chairman Rana Arif Tauseef said frequent hikes in electricity charges and surcharges are badly hitting all sectors of the economy, thus disturbing the economic cycle and elevating inflation in the country. read more.