* WTO warns of Asian protectionism threat:
The head of the World Trade Organisation on Thursday warned against growing Asian protectionism and said the region would not escape the impact of economic woes across the globe.
WTO Director General Pascal Lamy acknowledged the region’s relative resilience so far to economic turbulence in the eurozone and continued uncertainty in the US economic outlook.
But he told the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Bangkok that it was increasingly “interconnected with the rest of the planet and I don’t think this relative immunity will be forever”.
“I would expect, given what is happening in other part of the world economy, this region to be more affected than it has been so far,” he added. read more.
17:53:38 local time CHINA
* Sharply-slowing Chinese textile exports worry industry:
New figures have showed that China’s textile and garment exports slowed drastically in the first fourth months of this year as domestic companies worry about decreases in their market share overseas and inadequate support from consumption at home.
The export value of textile and garments in the Jan.-April period stood at 71 billion U.S. dollars, just 1.07 percent higher than a year ago, according to data released on Thursday by the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC).
The growth rate witnessed a sharp decline from the 27.05-percent rise registered in the first fourth months in 2011, judging by customs data. read more.
* Chinese textile industrial added value up in Jan-April:
In the period January to April 2012, industrial added value of Chinese textile industry increased by 12.6 percent year on year, but growth rate slowed down 0.5 percentage points compared to January-March.
This was revealed in a data released by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information. Domestic sales of textile industry rose 14.9 percent year on year, but the rate fell 1.6 percentage points compared to January-March.
Of which, total retail sales of garments, textiles and knitwear reached 309.2 billion Yuan, up 14.9 percent, a one percent rise from the first three months of 2012.
Export delivery value of textile industry grew 2.6 percent year on year, down 1.1 percentage points compared to January-March. to read.
* Youngsters -children of migrant workers- may be left behind, but not forgotten:
Zhou Jing sat in her yard watching a black cat play with two 10-day-old kittens. Her face was unable to hide her jealousy.
“Sometimes, it feels like I’ve been abandoned by my parents,” she said with a sigh.
The 14-year-old sees her mother and father only once a year, if that. She said they don’t even call on her birthday.
Like millions of youngsters across China, Zhou is a “left-behind child”, a term used to describe the children of migrant workers who remain in the countryside and are raised by elderly relatives. (…)
According to the All-China Women’s Federation, roughly 58 million children were left behind in rural areas by migrant-worker parents in 2010 nationwide. That works out to about one in every four children in rural regions.
About 79.7 percent of left-behind children are cared for by their grandparents, and 13 percent were left to their relatives or friends, while the remaining 7.3 percent live by themselves, the federation said. read more.
* Reports question quality of kids’ clothing:
Quality watchdogs across the country have released a series of reports on problems with children’s clothing, including products from some big brand names.
Children’s wear from famous fashion brands such as ZARA and Disney failed to meet national standards during a survey of major manufacturers in Shanghai conducted by the Shanghai Quality and Technology Supervision Bureau.
According to the report released on Monday, ZARA’s children’s shirts were of poor quality in fiber content. The pH value of Disney’s long-sleeve shirts could not meet the standard. Another 15 batches of children’s clothing among 93 tested failed the standard.
Shen Weimin, deputy director of the bureau, said substandard pH value in clothes could harm human skin and may lead to infections.
“All children’s wear involved in the report have been pulled from the shelves,” said an employee surnamed Yin in the public relations department of ZARA’s Shanghai office. read more.
* Children’s clothing fails tests:
More than a third of children’s clothing failed tests of color fastness, formaldehyde content and pH index, CCTV reported.
Among the 63 groups of samples produced or sold by 47 companies nationwide, 33.3 percent failed the inspections. The samples were selected randomly by the Beijing Consumer Association. Ten groups were found to have engaged in false labeling.
According to the tag of clothing produced by the Zhuoyan Clothing Factory in Foshan, Guangdong Province, coats and sweaters were made of 100 percent cotton, but the tests found that 66.3 percent of their textile was polyester fiber.
Some products contained excessive amount of formaldehyde. Excessive formaldehyde can lead to headaches, dermatitis, eczema and even malignant tumors and leukemia.
Decomposable aromatic amine dyes, a banned material in clothing, was found in one product. The dye is known to possibly cause cancer. to read.
* Green the fashion:
More fashion companies are producing sustainable apparel.
Every month, Li Lianfeng’s textile mill in Guangzhou produces more than 7,000 meters of denim, which goes to jean companies as far away as Denmark, Australia and the United States. But only 5 percent of his mill’s output uses natural indigo dye rather than synthetics.
“Still not many people know about it, so there also aren’t many jean manufacturers that order it,” says Li, 50, owner of Zhaofeng Textile and Apparel.
The company ventured into natural dye in 2007, upon the request of a Hong Kong client.
The colorant, extracted from the indigo plant, is apparently so eco-friendly that a man is shown on Li’s blog licking the deep blue dye off his finger. read more.
* Polluted farmland will be cordoned off- textile company responsible for waste:
Shanghai’s Chongming County government said yesterday it will compensate the villagers whose farmland was polluted by industrial waste dumping and the land will be cordoned off soon and no planting will be allowed.
A textile company should be held responsibilities for dumping wastes more than 10 years ago when proper procedures were not followed for handling them and prevent the pollution, said Wang Huijian, a deputy head of Shuxin Town. Shuxin is where a dump field was found on farmland to be polluted in Yuejin Village. read more.
* Nigeria frees 80 Chinese held in raids on markets:
Nigeria has released 80 of nearly 100 Chinese nationals it had arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally, the Chinese Consulate-General in the port city of Lagos said yesterday.
Most of those held in a crackdown on Tuesday in Lagos and Kano were said to be textile traders working in city markets.
Those still in custody face being sent back to China as they have overstayed their permits, Xu Chunman, an official with the consulate, told Xinhua news agency. The issue has been properly solved, Xu said.
The Chinese Embassy in Nigeria said it had contacted the Nigerian Immigration Service and the Nigerian Foreign Ministry after the arrests, urging them to protect the rights of Chinese nationals and make sure they were treated properly.
The People’s Daily reported that in a textile products market in Kano in northern Nigeria alone, the government arrested 45 Chinese dealers, including 34 men and 11 women, for “illegally conducting textile trade.” read more.
17:53:38 local time PHILIPPINES
* Philippines Labor Groups Unite in May Day Mobilization:
May Day this year was commemorated around the world in mass protests if not by general strikes. May 1st was a day to express the resistance of the 99% to the greed of the 1%. The convergence of the youth-led Occupy movement with the traditional labor movement will radicalize and strengthen both. In the US, the Occupy movement called for a general strike, meaning “no work, no school, no shopping, no banking, and no trading.” The call reverberated in hundreds of cities across the globe and a worldwide disruption of the status quo was the agenda. (>>>)
In the Philippines as elsewhere, the state is captive to a defective economic model known as neoliberal globalization which sacrifices workers needs to the interests of foreign investors and local capitalists. The regime of suppression of workers wages and labor rights for the sake of an illusory development anchored on foreign investments and global competitiveness continues unabated.
This is confirmed by the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Global Wage Report 2010/2011, which notes that workers in the Philippines are among the lowest paid in the world and wages are falling still. Low wages particularly afflict women workers and even those with high educational attainment. read more.
16:53:38 local time VIET NAM
* City makes effort to reduce labour strikes:
There have been 45 labour strikes in HCM City this year, mostly at foreign firms in the footwear, electronics, and garment and textile sectors, 16 fewer in the same period last year.
They were mostly triggered by the firms’ failure to increase wages and allowances to match rising prices.
To resolve labour disputes, city authorities have been organising discussions between owners and workers to help the two sides understand each other.
By the end of May the city Trade Union had organised 3,634 such meetings.
“Local authorities should increase labour inspections,” Hua Ngoc Thuan, deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee, on Tuesday told a meeting of a steering committee held to develop stable labour relations at enterprises. read more.
16:53:38 local time THAILAND
* Migrants flock to see Suu Kyi:
Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi told thousands of Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand that she was working to pave the way for their return home.
Shortly after arriving yesterday at the office of the Migrant Worker Rights Network, Mrs Suu Kyi appeared at the balcony of the office’s second floor to deliver a brief speech to migrants who had waited outside for hours to welcome her.
“I’ve come to Thailand to learn about your conditions and I will never forget your problems,” she told the workers. (…)
As Myanmar opens its doors to democracy and Southeast Asia prepares to integrate into the Asean Economic Community in 2015, Bangkok is worried that migrant workers will return home, leaving Thailand short of cheap labour.
Workers have complained about the high cost of national verification and registration and loopholes in heathcare, with half of all registered migrant workers without social security coverage. read more.
* Suu Kyi wants better deal for migrants:
Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday voiced concerns over the costly process of nationality verification (NV) for Myanmar migrant workers.
She also brought up the plight of one million non-registered migrants with senior officials. read more.
16:53:38 local time CAMBODIA
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
* Strikers at garment factory back to work:
About 1,000 workers at Gawon Apparel Co, a Kandal-based garment manufacturer, decided to return to work on Thursday after both workers and the factory representative reached an agreement on a controversial bonus cut on the election day this weekend.
“The owner of the factory agreed not to cut the bonus of workers on the election day,” said Srey Mom, Gawon’s administration assistant.
The workers began striking on Wednesday as the factory owner issued a notice that their bonus would be cut if they took two or three days off for the election – something allowed by government directive. to read.
17:53:38 local time MALAYSIA
* Malaysia bids to silence immigrant labor revelations:
Foreign workers, mostly from Indonesia, now make up just over 10% of Malaysia’s workforce of 14 million people, both in the formal and informal sectors, according to the latest government statistics.
A recent series of incidents has highlighted the shocking conditions in which these laborers toil and exposed the lengths to which the Malaysian government will go to keep the press quiet on the plight of immigrants in the country.
Irene Fernandez , a prominent Malaysian human-rights activist and long-time champion of exploited foreign workers, has come under severe attacks from government ministers and employers for an interview she gave a Jakarta newspaper in which she condemned poor governance and alleged that migrant workers felt “unsafe” in Malaysia.read more.
16:23:38 local time MYANMAR
* Striking Workers Left in the Dark:
Some 2,000 workers on strike at the Hi Mo wig factory in Rangoon’s Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone are in need of food and water as the Korean owner of the factory on Thursday cut all food supplies and electricity inside the workers barracks that they have been occupying at the plant.
“The workers were fed boiled rice this morning, and Myanmar Youth Union members are preparing dinner for them, but we also need drinking water,” said 88 Generation group leader Mar Mar Oo, who is one of the volunteers helping the strikers.
Myanmar Youth Union has been collecting donations, however, it is not enough for the thousands of striking workers in several factories in Hlaing Tharyar. read more.
15:53:38 local time BANGLA DESH
* Factory fined for river pollution:
The Department of Environment (DoE) on Tuesday fined a Taiwanese owned factory ‘Shepherd Yarn Ltd’ Tk 39 lakh for polluting river and the environment. Director (enforcement) of the DoE Munir Chowdhury conducted the mobile court at Bhaluka in Mymensingh and slapped the fine. The team found that the yarn factory was dumping untreated wastes into the river Khiru.
Munir Chowdhury said, they have evidence to show that the factory has dumped about 12 crore litres of raw wastes in the river. read more.
15:23:38 local time INDIA
* Cotton central:
Chatline If you thought organic clothing is a superficial fashion statement, Satish Chukkapalli, one of the founder members of Zameen Organic, explains how going organic has helped turn around the lives of farmers. Sangeetha Devi Dundoo reports. read more.
* MSCCGMFL to promote use of Krishidhan Bt cotton seeds:
The Maharashtra State Cooperative Cotton Growers Marketing Federation Ltd. (MSCCGMFL), the world’s largest cotton supplier, which supports more than 2.5 million cotton farmers, has entered into a strategic alliance with Krishidhan Seeds Private Limited, an agricultural biotech company delivering high quality seeds for the Indian market, to promote the use of Bt cotton seeds among cotton growers.
* Truly organic? Not quite:
Organic clothing, the preferred option of a niche segment, trickled into retail stores a few summers ago. The percentage of organic clothing as opposed to regular garments is still marginal, but finding a shirt made from organic cotton is easier today. A handful of brands display their organic collection alongside their regular garments and there are specialty stores and designers catering to this market, too. But scratch beneath the surface and both designers and manufacturers will confide their doubts about the authenticity of the process.
“It takes three years for a land that’s been previously fed on chemical pesticides to rid all chemical residues. Only the crop that grows in a completely chemical-free land can be called organic,” explains designer Rahul Mishra. He is one of the few in the fashion fraternity to have veered towards organic clothing to realise that it’s not a cakewalk and now does a balance between organic clothing and clothing that uses natural fibres. read more.
14:53:38 local time PAKISTAN
* Troubled cotton sowing season:
COTTON sowing in Punjab is in trouble, so are its seasonal prospects. Water has become a scarce commodity. Canal water shortages have touched a whooping 50 per cent.
With electricity shortfall even more severe, option to use tube-well is down correspondingly. And to make the matter worse, diesel cost have gone up over Rs100 per litre, reducing use of water from subsoil resources. As if all this was not enough, cotton growing is concentrated in the brackish zone (southern Punjab), where water for irrigation can only come from canal.
These factors have delayed cotton sowing in the province, along with Sindh, which may impact its yield and damage the long-term prospects of a crop which has already stopped making commercial sense for many farmers. These trends – short- and long-term cotton crisis – need to be halted before they consistently start seriously hitting the crop. read more.
* Pakistan textile sector may get relief in Federal Budget:
Pakistan’s Textile Ministry has requested allocation of Pk Rs. 42 billion for the country’s textile and garment sector in the upcoming Federal Budget.
Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Central Chairman Shehzad Salim is optimistic that the Government would accept the request of the Textile Ministry.
He, however, added that only Rs. 14 billion would be available for the development and upgradation of the textile and apparel sector if the requested amount is sanctioned, as Rs. 28 billion would go towards clearing outstanding dues of the exporters. read more.
* APTMA urges IESCO to obey higher authorities order:
Mr Mohsin Aziz, Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has urged the Islamabad Electric Supply Co (IESCO) officials to obey the command of higher authorities on electricity supply to textile industry on industrial feeders.
He said both President Asif Ali Zardari and Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar have assured of no load shedding on industrial feeders and if any, it would be no more than four hours a day. read more.
14:53:38 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Uzbekistan: Grant Access to Cotton Monitors:
The European Union should urge the Uzbek government to grant access to the International Labour Organization (ILO) to monitor the 2012 cotton harvest, a coalition of nongovernmental organizations said in letters to the European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton and Denmark’s foreign minister, Villy Søvndal. The monitoring plan is part of efforts to end forced labor, including the state-sponsored mobilization of children, in Uzbekistan’s cotton sector.
The letters were sent on May 29, 2012, in connection with the opening on May 30 of the ILO’s annual International Labour Conference in Geneva. The letters urge the EU – a key participant in the meeting – to be unequivocal in its message to the Uzbek government about the need to allow such monitoring given consistent and credible evidence of the continuing practice of forced labor and child labor in the cotton sector. The coalition also urged Brussels to take into account the Uzbek government’s persistent failure to address the EU’s other longstanding human rights demands, including the need to eradicate endemic torture in the criminal justice system and end the continuing crackdown on independent civil society.
“The Uzbek government has outfoxed the EU for too long on forced child labor and other egregious abuses such as torture and its crackdown on rights activists, endlessly promising cooperation but always failing to deliver,” said Steve Swerdlow, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The ILO meeting is a critical opportunity for the EU to demand unfettered access for ILO monitors during the 2012 cotton harvest.” read more.