11:15:39 local time * UK-based Aquascutum acquired by a Hong Kong firm:
One of the top British luxury apparel brands, Aquascutum, has finally been fully acquired for GBP15 million by YGM Trading Limited, a Hong Kong-based apparel retail and wholesale business operator. read more.
* Businesses bleeding as China loses steam:
After Wang Jihong’s trading firm, which has been struggling to export textiles to markets like Europe and South America, eked out a tiny profit in the first quarter of this year, she hoped the worst was over.
Then came April. Europe’s debt crisis intensified and China’s economic activity unexpectedly weakened, raising concerns the world’s No.2 economy may be in more trouble than most thought. read more.
11:15:39 local time PHILIPPINES
* India’s textile makers eye increased export to Philippines:
TEXTILE manufacturers from India are eyeing increased market share in the country’s market demand for textile products.
A two-day textile exhibition dubbed Intexpo Philippines 2012 to be held on May 23 and 24 at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Manila will showcase a wide range of fabrics and yarn by 16 Indian manufacturing firms. read more.
10:15:39 local time VIET NAM
* Ministry to ban imports of used textiles, electronics:
Certain used commodities are set be prohibited from being imported to Vietnam, the Ministry of Industry and Trade proposes in its draft amendment to the Law on Commerce.
Accordingly, the ministry suggests putting a ban on imports of used textiles and garments, footwear, apparel, electronics, refrigeration and household appliances, medical equipment, and cereal products. read more.
10:15:39 local time THAILAND
* Kittiratt: SMEs sanguine about wages:
Small and medium-sized enterprises have yet to be affected by the minimum wage hike to 300 baht a day, insists Kittiratt Na-Ranong, deputy prime minister and finance minister. He cited the latest Labour Ministry report that local SME activity remained normal, with some closing down and many opening new factories. The government raised daily minimum wages in seven provinces by 40% on April 1. Mr Kittiratt said access to capital remains the key problem for SMEs, so the Finance Ministry is relaxing its collateral requirements for SMEs. read more.
10:15:39 local time CAMBODIA
* Thousands of workers protest at Ministry of Social Affairs:
More than 3,000 workers from Singapore-owned SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd marched in a protest in front of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation on Monday. Workers said they were seeking solutions from Minister Ith Sam Heng after striking for nine days. They said they were seeking bonuses for rents, transport, night shifts and food. “Without any solutions, we won’t end the action. Unless the employer agrees to officially negotiate with us, the protest will continue,” one said. SL Garment Processing says its annual sales of $26 million, mostly of denim products, include international brands such as Banana Republic, Gap, J. Crew and Levi’s. to read.
* Levi’s, Gap Garment Workers in Cambodia Strike:
Workers at a large Cambodian garment factory that makes clothes for Levi’s, Gap and other well-known international brands are striking for more pay and better working conditions. More than 5,000 workers from the Singaporean-owned SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) failed to reach an agreement with their employers on Tuesday to end an 11-day strike. read more
* No deal in SL Garment factory face-off:
A long day of negotiations failed to resolve a factory dispute yesterday at a company that supplies to major international brands Gap, Levi’s and H&M.
After more than 1,500 workers from SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) factories in the capital’s Meanchey district marched to the Ministry of Social Affairs on Monday, officials from that department agreed to help mediate the dispute yesterday morning.
As many as 4,000 workers have been involved in strikes at the two factories since May 12.
Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said workers and their bosses were unable to agree after eight hours of discussions at the factory yesterday. read more.
* Trade with Malaysia up as exporters looks East:
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and ASEAN member state Malaysia rose by 34 per cent year on year in 2011 to US$319.5 million compared to the year before, according to data from the Embassy of Malaysia in Phnom Penh released yesterday.
Experts noted the nearly 100 per cent increase in Cambodian exports to Malaysia signified a shift from dependence on Western markets. (…) Malaysia’s main exports to Cambodia last year were textiles and clothing, metal products, processed food, chemical and beverages, data showed. read more.
* From BetterFactories:
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
1. Facotry thugs hurt strikers.read here.
2. Malnutrition affecting Cambodia’s development.read here.
3. Nutrition a great investment.read here.
4. Oil-food equation hurting poor-PM.read here.
5. Women in upper union positions vital.read here.
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
6. Svay Rieng court questions vicitims in SEZ shooting case.read here.
7. Thousands of striking factory workers briefly block city road.read here.
8. Union, factories no closer to mediation deal.read here.
9. Workers pledge to continue strike action in Phnom Penh.read here.
10. Workers at factories supplying majro brands continue protests.read here.
09:45:39 local time MYANMAR
* Over 5,000 Workers Still on Strike in Rangoon:
More than 5,000 workers in five different factories at Rangoon’s Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone have been striking for better pay for two weeks.
The strikers are demanding a wage hike from 15,000 kyat (US $17.90) per month to 30,000 kyat ($35.80), which their employers have so far refuse to pay.
Speaking to The Irrawaddy, Ma Hmway, a worker at Pearl garment factory, said, “We have stayed sitting in front of the factory today as they have not agreed to our demands yet.” She added that her factory is owned by a Chinese national with items produced, such as jacket and pants, exported to the foreign market.
All the Hlaing Tharyar striking factories are close to one another with industrial action spreading to each over the course of a week. Since the middle of May, there has been a series of walk-outs in HI Mo wig factory, Sapae Pwint, Myanmar Pearl, Nay Min Aung, YJ and Tokyo garment factories, as well as Nawaday and Sunflower factories at different times. read more.
* Labour strikes spread across industrial zone in Yangon:
Labour strike started at Hi Mo(High Art) Artificial Hair Factory of Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone in Yangon on 9 May cannot be settled until 19 May, and demands of workers are also happening at other factories in this industrial estate. (…) However, when the labours came to the worksite on 17 May, the responsible persons of this factory who signed the agreement did not come to factory and no one fulfilled the demands of workers. Then strikes occurred again. At present, these labours have no contact with the boss and the manager of this factory from Myanmar side. The workers said they were informed that shareholder of factory from South Korea will come and solve the problem on 23 May. read more.
* Garment factory workers on strike in Yangon:
The workers from three garment factories of Hlinethaya demonstrated a protest at the same time in front of Yangon Region Labor Office in Mayangone Township on 16 May.
The striking workers are from Nay Min Aung Garment Factory, Sabei Pwint Garment Factory, Pale Garment Factory in Hlinethaya Industrial Zone-4. The number of the striking workers is more than 1000. Some workers having difficulty in transport remained in front of the factories.
The main cause of the workers demonstrating the protest is due to the disagreement over the conditions of pay, ferry and over time as well as high cost of living allowance.
The owners of the three factories are Chinese nationals. Sabei Pwint factory and Pale Garment Factory is the same owner. For the striking workers from these two factories, a notice was posted on the board saying the workers will be dismissed from the work if they are absent for four consecutive days. read more.
09:15:39 local time BANGLA DESH
* Deaths of 2 RMG workers spark protests:
Garment workers blocked highways and vandalised factories in Gazipur and Narayanganj after two of their fellows died in separate incidents.
A female worker was knocked down and killed by a bus after the police chased agitating workers in Narayanganj and the other was run over by a covered van on the Mauchak-Phulbaria road in Gazipur when she was returning to work after launch.
Angry workers blocked Dhaka-Sylhet and Dhaka-Tangail highways in protest at the deaths that caused tailbacks in the areas.
Our correspondent in Narayanganj reports that a speedy bus crushed a woman worker of Sinha factory, identified as Sonia 22, when police attacked agitating workers to disperse them from the highway, according to witnesses.
Labour unrest in Sinha group factories at Kanchpur under Sonargaon thana continued for the second day on Tuesday after sudden closure of its RMG units. Clashes between police and workers left at least five workers injured on the day. read more.
* Minister asks garment makers to form bodies to fight labour unrest:
The labour and employment minister yesterday asked the garment makers to form “participation committees” at the factory-level to curb labour unrest. Such committees will help develop the relationship between the workers and owners, said Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, the minister. He also said the recent incidents of labour unrest were due to the absence of such platforms where both the owners and workers can hold dialogues.
The formation of trade unions in the garment sector will be based on the performance of the participatory committees, the minister said. He was addressing an emergency meeting of the garment owners’ platform — Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) — in Dhaka. read more.
* Netherlands signs MoU with leading garment brands:
A memorandum of understanding was signed on Tuesday by leading textile and garment sector industries for cleaner production practices and investing in technologies that reduce water consumption.
The Netherlands minister for development cooperation, Ben Knapen, also signed the memorandum of understanding with International Finance Cooperation, Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Export Oriented Garment Washing Industries Owners Association, Dutch non-government organization Solidaridad and leading garment brands.
At the ceremony, Ben Knapen said this project would enhance the long-term competitiveness and sustainability of the textile sector in Bangladesh by helping it to adopt cleaner production practices.
The surrounding communities will also have a cleaner environment, he said.
The Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association vice-president Faruk Khan, Dutch ambassador Alphons JAJMG Hennekens and IFC regional business line manager of South Asia Jeeva Perumapillai also spoke at the programme.
They said in Bangladesh over 1,700 garment washing, dyeing and finishing units discharge 56 million tonnes of waste water, which poses serious threats to public health and the environment. read more.
* Major jute market awaits Bangladesh:
Bangladesh has immense potential to harness opportunities in the jute sector with fast rise in the use of environment friendly fibre.
The second biggest producer of jute after India, Bangladesh is globally the top supplier of bio-degradable natural fibre now.
The prospects of jute brighten due to the use of environment friendly
fibre to make various products, UN-sponsored International Jute Study
Group (IJSG) said yesterday. read more.
* Textile engineers urge funding for power plants:
Textile engineers have requested the government to sanction adequate amount of funds in the forthcoming budget for fiscal 2012-13 for establishment of coal-based power plants to resolve the power crisis being faced by the country’s textile and garment sectors, according to Fibre2fashion, a web portal. Engineer M Maksudur Rahamn, president of the Institution of Textile Engineers and Technologists (ITET), Bangladesh, said the production in the country’s readymade garment sector is being affected owing to shortage of power and gas situation.
He added that it is necessary to set up coal-based electricity generation plants to meet the current shortage in supply of power.
He advised the Government to begin projects aimed at production of power from wastes such as plastic bottle, rubber wastages and scrap tyres. to read.
* US buyers edgy over Bangla Desh labour situation:
US buyers have expressed concern over the labour situation in Bangladesh, says US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena, reports bdnews24.com
The ambassador received a phone call from a CEO of a big US company at midnight three days ago. “He was worried about the growing negative publicity of Bangladesh in the US,” Mozena said at a programme, styled ‘In Conversation with US Ambassador’.(..) The outcry in the US and Europe started to grow after the brutal killing of labour activist Aminul Islam in the first week of April.(..) Although the death of Aminul was not so much of a discussion in Bangladesh, there was a sharp reaction in the US and Europe. The New York Times published a 1,000-word story on the murder of labour organiser on April 9.
“Secretary Clinton discussed the issue when she visited Bangladesh,” he said.read more.
* Blockade in Kanchpur, one worker dies:
Garment workers have demonstrated for an hour at Kanchpur on Tuesday blocking the Dhaka-Sylhet highway and clashed with police protesting the indefinite shutdown of Sinha Garments.
A female worker has been killed when she was run over by a bus during her attempt to flee the police ‘attack’. At least ten workers have been injured in the clash with the police.
The workers set ablaze the bus and vandalised at least five vehicles protesting the incident. read more.
* UL buys textile testing firm Magnus in Bangladesh:
UL, a world leader in advancing safety, announced the acquisition of Magnus Textile Services, a leading textile testing and inspection facility based in Bangladesh. The addition enables UL to locally serve many of the world’s top textile manufacturers from one of the largest and fastest growing textile exporting nations.
Magnus provides a robust suite of textile performance testing and inspection services that are trusted by many of the world’s most recognized retailers and brands, including tests for dimensional stability, color fastness, physical performance, construction and composition. UL intends to add chemical testing to the facility’s capabilities later this year. read more.
08:45:39 local time INDIA
* Job cuts continue in textiles industry; small units facing closures:
The textiles industry, which employs about 4.5 crore people, has sought immediate government intervention to stop job losses in the sector due to the impact of slowdown in global markets.
“About 7-10 per cent people have already lost their jobs in the textile sector in the last two years and still it is continuing. If the government will not intervene immediately, more and more people may lose their jobs,” Apparel Export Promotion Council Chairman A Sakthivel said today.
He said that domestic banks are not cooperating and this is acting as a double-whammy for the sector, which is already in trouble due to economic crisis in the US and Europe. These two markets account for almost 65 per cent of the country’s textile exports. read more.
* Cotton wilts on slack demand:
Cotton declined further on Monday on poor domestic and international demand. Moreover, increased selling by farmers also pulled down prices. Ginners also sold stocks as there was support in sight. Demand weakened due to bleak macro-economic outlook and fewer downstream orders. read more.
* Coirfed’s geo-textile applications lauded:
The National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) has lauded the efforts of Coirfed in popularising coir geo-textile applications in various villages and panchayats in the State. NCSTC, in a communication to Coirfed, said that that they have come across the innovative trends following the recent programme undertaken by the Council to explore and document the science communication initiatives in various states to mark and promote novel trends at grass root level. Coirfed had implemented coir geo-textile applications in 575 panchayats as part of the green initiative scheme of the State government. Mr S.L.Sajikumar, chairman, and Mr K.M. Mohammed Anil, managing director, said that Coirfed had garnered orders worth Rs 3 crore from this initiative. read more.
* Beedi workers seek implementation of minimum wages:
The South Kanara Beedi Workers’ Federation has urged beedi manufacturers to implement minimum wages to beedi workers. Addressing presspersons here on Monday, Mr V. Seetharam Berinja, Secretary of the federation, said that the March 8 meeting of the sub-committee of the Karnataka Labour Department had fixed minimum wages as Rs 116.20 for every 1000 beedis rolled. The representatives from workers’ union, manufacturers, and the Government were part of the sub-committee. read more.
* Gokaldas Exports posts Rs 131 cr loss in 2011-12:
Apparel exporter Gokaldas Exports losses have increased 40 per cent to Rs 131 crore during 2011-12. The company’s total revenues too, witnessed a drop of 10 per cent to Rs 1,030 crore during the year. “The profit before tax has been impacted due to a one-time charge of Rs 46.6 crore, on account of the revised estimate of carrying value of old inventory, in the fourth quarter of the year,” said Mr Sunil Khandelwal, Chief Financial Officer. to read.
* Textile machinery shipments soared in 2011:
Global shipments of new textile machinery reached record levels in 2011, with China again topping the list as the biggest investor as the country shores up its competitive edge as the world’s largest supplier of fabric and yarn.
The trend is revealed in the latest annual survey of International Textile Machinery Shipment Statistics (ITMSS), which has just been released by industry group the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF).
Its survey of some 118 textile machinery manufacturers shows the sector is investing again after a sharp reduction in global shipments of new textile machinery in 2008 and 2009 as a result of the global financial and economic crisis. While deliveries rose in 2010, the surge has been even stronger in 2011.
Year-on-year in 2011, shipments of new spinning machinery increased by 15% in short-staple spindles, with long-staple spindles up 35% and open-end rotors rising 27%. There were also gains of 42% in new draw-texturing spindles, 44% in shuttle-less looms, and 37% in new electronic flat-knitting machines. Only worldwide shipments of new large circular knitting machines dropped last year, by 16%. read more.
* Bt cotton : The crop that changed farmers’ lives:
he introduction of Bt cotton in India brought in a humungous change in the country’s cotton cultivation pattern. The number of cotton farmers cultivating cotton increased significantly from five million in 2002-03 to eight million in 2011-12 after the introduction of Bt cotton. Notably, the number of Bt cotton farmers increased from 50,000 in 2002-03 to seven million in 2011-12, representing approximately 88 percent of the eight million cotton farmers in 2011-12 (Brookes and Barfoot report, 2012).
India’s Agriculture Minister Mr Sharad Pawar praised the introduction of Bt cotton seeds in Parliament this year by saying that it was a great step towards decreasing insecticide usage in the country. “With the use of high quality hybrid cotton seeds, Indian farmers experienced the biggest gain in form of reduced insecticide usage, from 46 percent in 2001 to less than 26 percent after 2006 and 21 percent in 2009 and 2010,” he said.
Farm income enhanced by $9.4 billion in the period between 2002 and 2010, and $2.5 billion in 2010 alone (Brookes and Barfoot report, 2012).
“Bt cotton has transformed cotton production in India by increasing the yield, decreasing insecticide applications, and contributed to the alleviation of poverty for over seven million small resource-poor farmers and their families in 2011 alone, and future prospects look encouraging,” says Mr Bhagirath Choudhary, national coordinator, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). read more.
* Alok Industries net profit zooms in Q4 FY12:
Alok Industries Limited, India’s largest fully integrated textile company with a dominant presence in the cotton and polyester segments, has reported a huge 77.73 percent year-on-year growth in its net profit for the quarter ending March 31, 2012. read more.
08:15:39 local time PAKISTAN
* Pakistan textile export tumbles 10%:
Export of textile and clothing dropped 10 per cent in the first 10 months of this fiscal year due to weak demand from recession-hit key markets Europe and US.
As a result, export proceeds from textile and clothing sector fell to Us$10.143 billion in July-April period of 2011-12, down by 9.59 per cent from $11.219 billion in the same period last year, data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday.
The government has projected textile export target of $16 billion for this fiscal year over the last year’s export proceeds of $14 billion.
But textile people estimate that export proceeds would hardly touch $12 billion-mark. read more.
* Cotton market witnesses dull trading session:
Trading remained dull with fine lint in focus amid lower demand for raw grades, traders at the Karachi Cotton Association (KCA) said on Monday. read more.
* Sustainable energy supply improves Pak textile exports:
Mr Mohsin Aziz, Chairman of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has said that the textile exports have surged by 10% in April 2012 against the month of March 2012 simply with one direction of President Asif Ali Zardari for sustainable energy supply to the industry.
According to him, the Minister for Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain and Minister for Water and Power Naveed Qamar ensured sustainable energy supply to the industry on the direction of President Asif Zardari two months back, which helped industry to increase production mainly meant for exports.
The textile exports have registered an increase of $100 million in April 2012 against March 2012 Month on Month basis, surging to $1.14 billion in April against approximately $1 billion in March 2012. read more.