in the news on-line, today, 11 june 2012

04:43:21 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Garments unsold on home market, unapproachable to export markets:

Vietnamese garments cannot compete with cheap Chinese products on the home market. Meanwhile, garment exporters are thirsty for orders.

It’s more difficult than ever to regain the domestic market which has been dominated by cheap Chinese products. The economic recession’s blow is telling on Vietnamese garment companies now, forcing them to scale down the production, narrow the distribution network.

The Saigon 2 Garment Company is simply trying to maintain its presence on the market, so as to make its brands familiar to consumers, while it does not have any plan to expand production or develop new products.

The company has cut the output for domestic consumption by 20-25 percent. In the past, the company launched 70-80 new models to the market, while the figure has been halved.  read more.

* Garment producers faces difficulty in expanding markets:

Vietnam’s clothing manufacturers are facing difficulties in finding markets for their products.

Orders from traditional markets, including EU and the US, are declining.  Many businesses now face a shortage of orders for production in the third and the fourth quarter this year. Meanwhile, seeking new markets is also proving difficult, due to low investment in national trade promotion programmes.

Dang Phuong Dung, Vicechairwoman and General Secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) said the biggest difficulty facing the export sector is the export market. Only one trade promotion programme has been established in 2012.

Dung proposed that the Government should have other programmes to help businesses expand into other markets.

Many economic experts, however, have said that businesses should be active in expanding markets and reduce their dependence on manufacturing orders.
to read in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 11/6.

* Cotton warehouse blaze:

More than 50 firefighters and five fire engines were called to the scene of a blaze that broke out at a cotton warehouse on Saturday in HCM City’s Binh Tan District. Local authorities are continuing investigations into the cause of the blaze. to read .

04:43:21 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Our love of cheap products continues to fuel underground child labour:

Though the Canadian government has announced a national strategy to fight the last frontiers of slavery, the road ahead is bitterly long and backbreaking.

As the Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking was unveiled this week, the sad reality is it comes at a time when the numbers of people enslaved on Earth has likely never been higher.

In countries around the world, women are trafficking women, children are being sold from one hand to other for sex, the weakest members of society are tricked into forced labour for the promise of a better tomorrow, those without a voice are exploited as domestic servants and, don’t kid yourself, the borders of Canada have not been a barrier to the exploitation of the desperate. (….)
Large multinational companies, including Gap clothes stores and WalMart, routinely inspect the companies that make their goods. In fact, clampdowns made in the clothing industry, while not perfect, are held up as a model of cleaning a supply chain.
(…)
Buying a T-shirt for your child is not as simple when you consider the origins.
read more.

* Worker bills overlooked in House drama:

Labour leaders have slammed the government for focusing too much on the constitutional amendment and reconciliation bills at the expense of worker-backed social security legislation and other bills focusing on bread-and-butter issues.

Arunee Srito, a former Thai Kriang Textile Co labour union leader, said the current parliament session had originally been scheduled to end on April 18, but the Pheu Thai-led government had extended it to push ahead with the charter amendment and unity bills.

Many measures focused on improving the quality of life for Thais, including the workers’ version of the social security measure, to which more than 14,000 workers had signed on as sponsors, had been given the short shrift, she said.

“Government politicians promised to push for the long-awaited workers’ version of the social security bill. read more.

05:43:21 local time map of singapore SINGAPORE

* Scope to consider minimum wage in some sectors- industry players:

As the income gap widens in Singapore, MPs, unionists and some employers MediaCorp spoke to have argued the case for some form of minimum wage.

They said there is scope for such a policy to be introduced in specific sectors, especially where there is a large pool of low-wage workers.

But for it to work, they added, the government has to come in to help.

The cleaning, security, as well as food and beverage sectors, have a considerably large pool of low-wage workers. read more.

03:43:21 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Law enforcers allegedly abducted, killed Aminul:

Human rights watchdog Odhikar in its fact finding report published on Saturday said labour leader Mohammad Aminul Islam was allegedly killed after being abducted by the law enforcers.
Aminul Islam, a leader of the Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation, was abducted from Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka on April 4. The following day, the Ghatial police recovered his body with marks of severe torture from a road in front of the Bramman Shashan Girls’ High School in Tangail.
Aminul also worked as an organiser for the Bangladesh Centre for Workers’ Solidarity.
Odhikar conducted a fact finding mission into the matter and interviewed relatives of Aminul, doctor who conducted the post-mortem examination and members of law enforcement agencies.
His family members and co-workers claimed that members of law enforcement agency tortured and killed him.   read more.

* BGMEA, BKMEA oppose hike in tax at source:

Garment manufacturers are worried over the proposed hike in tax at source for export-oriented industries in the budget proposal for financial year (FY) 2012-2013, saying that it will have a negative impact on the sector.

They said the proposal has come at a time when the country’s highest foreign currency earning sector has been facing a tough time in recent years on labour related issues have put Bangladesh’s apparel export to her single largest shipment destination at risk.

According to the budget proposal for the next fiscal (2012-2013), which was placed by Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Thursday last at the parliament, the government proposed 1.20 per cent tax at source on all types of export for the coming FY.
read more. & read more.
 

* Budget 2013: No winds of change in trade policy:

While newspapers are awash with copious amounts of reporting on budget reactions, scant attention seems to have been paid to one critical dimension of economic policy in the budget — trade policy. Most reports seemed to ignore the fact that a substantial portion of trade policy for the coming year was being formulated under this budget. Indeed, in the latest scheme of things, while multilateral and regional trade and preferential trading arrangements are the responsibility of the Ministry of Commerce, much of the trade policy instruments that affect incentives to domestic production and exports lies with the National Board of Revenue (NBR), i.e. customs administration. Trade taxes, though declining as a share of tax revenue, still make up 40% of NBR taxes. But, in the process of formulating and implementing these taxes, through budget pronouncements, profitability of import substitute production on the one hand and export competitiveness on the other are impacted with serious implications for trade as well as growth prospects. (…)

It boggles my mind to see a host of readymade garment (RMG) items subject to SD increases. This sector, which is internationally competitive, surely is not crying for protection. Then what is the purpose of raising SD on several items of woven garments and knitwear? It seems assistance to local industries has been enhanced by reducing CD on a number of intermediate goods and basic raw materials used by domestic industries. Finally, Regulatory Duty (RD) of 5.0% on the top rate of 25% has been retained this year, ostensibly to raise protection to local industries. Thus, in general, one sees an increase in the tariffs on final goods (finished products) and some reduction in the rates on intermediate inputs and raw materials. The net result of this approach is an augmentation of existing protection to domestic industries as stated in the budget. read more.

* Bangladeshi garment smartens British schoolchildren:

How smart do the British schoolchildren look in their school uniforms of shirt, tie, blazer and trousers or skirt? Very, indeed. And part of the schoolwear — would you believe? — is made in Bangladesh.

Gooryong Fashion, a Gazipur-based garment maker, is one such vendor. The company has been supplying shirts — in the region of 1.8 million pieces — since 1996 to John Lewis and True Tex, the two main uniform service providers in the UK.

“The western buyers of school uniforms are coming to Bangladesh with more orders as China has become dearer for them,” said Delwar Hossain, chairman of Gooryong Fashion, adding that superior quality and timely shipment being the other two factors drawing in the buyers.

This year, the company supplied $12 million worth of schoolwear items to the UK and US, while the figure last year was around $8 million.

The fabrics for the uniforms are imported, mainly from China. The designs are provided by the buyers, which factory workers replicate to a T, said a proud Hossain.
read more.

03:13:21 local time map of india INDIA

* Child Labour & Cotton creates dropouts in Vidarbha:

It is the beginning of June and 14-year-old Somirao Kavdu Madavi from Yavatmal’s Madhavpur village is getting ready with his bags. But he is not going to school. A Standard 4 dropout, he is set to leave for a cotton farm where he works all year around. His family gets Rs. 25,000 for his 12 months of work. The amount, he states, is difficult for his family to let go.

As agriculture is not specifically disallowed for children under 14 under the Child Labour (Prevention and Regulation) Act 1986, farmers across Maharashtra employ children: sometimes as full-time labourers like Somirao, otherwise as daily labourers as and when they need them.

Activists say it leads to children missing out on education altogether. Vidarbha is a glaring example of this. read more.

* Falling rupee brings no cheers to exporters:

A falling rupee, which usually translates into higher returns for exporters, has failed to bring any relief to micro, small and medium enterprises in manufacturing sector as buyers in recession-hit Western countries are demanding discounts and reducing their quantum of orders.
The rupee has lost value recently as it has tumbled to an all-time low and breached the Rs. 56-mark against the U.S dollar.
Tamil Nadu Small and Tiny Industries Association (TANSTIA) vice-president K R. Gnanasambandan told The Hindu here on Friday that the countries in the European Union, which has been hit by a massive banking and sovereign-debt crisis, have taken to intensive austerity measures.

Madurai and other southern districts predominantly export turkey towels, textile products and garments to Spain, Greece and Italy, all of which have been hit by the crisis. Orders for handicraft producRedefine priorities, ILO head tells govts ts have completely ground to a halt to exporters in Madurai region as they are considered a luxury product that cannot be afforded in these times. read more.

* Yatnal questions the need for GIM:

Janata Dal (Secular) leader and the former Union Minister Basanagouda Patil Yatnal has questioned the need to organise the Global Investors Meet when the government cannot provide basic amenities such as power and water supply to new industries.
He told presspersons here on Thursday that the ongoing Global Investors Meet was a gala event being held at public expense. He alleged that people who had signed Memorandums of Understanding during the last GIM had shown no interest to set up industries in the State for lack of basic amenities.

Citing an example of a garment factory that had come up in Bijapur after an MoU was signed with the government last year, Mr. Yatnal alleged that after the unit was set up, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) had issued a notice to the company saying that it had not got environmental clearance. read more.

* Serious Fraud Investigation Office may question Reebok officials in Rs 870 crore fraud case:

Corporate fraud probe body SFIO has started scrutinising documents relating to alleged Rs 870 crore fraud involving Reebok India and may soon take a call on questioning senior officials of the sportswear maker.

“We are still studying various documents relating the fraud after which we will begin interrogating seniors officials of Reebok and also the two accused,” a source said.

The documents, sources said, included annual reports and the findings of the Registrar of Companies. read more. & read more.

 

* Kerala handloom to get international branding:

Battling to bounce back from the worst global recession that dropped the handloom and textile exports of Kerala by 40% in the last four years, the state government is set to develop regional branding for indigenous handloom products with attractive packaging to increase their demand in the international market.

“The state government has allocatRedefine priorities, ILO head tells govts ed Rs 1 crore for the branding exercise of indigenous handloom and textile products. Based on the uniqueness of products, six regions have been chosen for the branding scheme and the regions are Thrissur, Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad, Kasaragod and Kannur,” Indian Institute of Handloom Technology (IIHT) executive director Abdul Kareem Cheleri told TOI on Friday. The handloom and textile fabric will be imprinted with colourful designs of art forms, he said. read more.

02:43:21 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Cotton losing to competitive crops:

THE cotton crisis in Punjab is deepening. By first week of June, the crop had lost 20 per cent acreage against a target of 6.2 million acres. Only five million acres have been sown. With the sowing (even late) period almost over, the tally might be final.

To make the matter worse, of 1.2 million acres of loss, over a million acres have come from the core cotton belt — the southern Punjab, where only four million acres have been sown against five million acres target.

So, the ground is slipping from under the crop, and also for the economy — it brings over 60 per cent of national exports.
Socially, the crop worth Rs500 billion sustains rural economy and social fabric.

Official planners have been blaming water shortages at very critical stage of sowing and hold them entirely responsible for the loss of acreage. That is partially true. Water shortages have been part of the cotton sowing cycle for the last many years, ever since the BT gene was introduced and sowing shifted to first quarter of the year.
read more.

* Redefine priorities, ILO head tells govts:

THE head of the International Labor Organization (ILO) urged economies to redefine their priorities that focus too much on financial policies but lack sensitivity to human needs in getting jobs and lifting themselves out of poverty.

ILO Director General Juan Somavia said the global financial crash of 2008  “was not just an unfortunate accident on a safe road” but rather a “pile-up” of policies based on globalization model that has “gone out of control.”

He made the call at the 101st International Labor Conference in Geneva from May 30 to June 14 where discussions focused on youth employment crisis, social protection floors, Myanmar, situation of workers in occupied Arab territories, euro-zone crisis and basic labor rights.

“There has been too much ideology in defining policies and too little human sensitivity to the individuals, families, communities,” Somavia said. “Too much financial, too little social,” he added. read more.

 

map of Asia

VIET NAM
* Garments unsold on home market, unapproachable to export markets
* Garment producers faces difficulty in expanding markets
* Cotton warehouse blaze

THAILAND
* Our love of cheap products continues to fuel underground child labour
* Worker bills overlooked in House drama

SINGAPORE
* Scope to consider minimum wage in some sectors- industry players

BANGLA DESH
* Law enforcers allegedly abducted, killed Aminul
* BGMEA, BKMEA oppose hike in tax at source
* Budget 2013: No winds of change in trade policy
* Bangladeshi garment smartens British schoolchildren

INDIA
* Child Labour & Cotton creates dropouts in Vidarbha
* Falling rupee brings no cheers to exporters
* Yatnal questions the need for GIM
* Serious Fraud Investigation Office may question Reebok officials in Rs 870 crore fraud case
* Kerala handloom to get international branding

PAKISTAN
* Cotton losing to competitive crops

* Redefine priorities, ILO head tells govts

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I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
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I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

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