21:08:20 local time CHINA
* Li Ning says CEO steps down, founder to lead:
Chinese sportswear group Li Ning Co Ltd, grappling with a slowdown that has halved its share price in recent months, said on Thursday its chief executive Zhang Zhiyong has stepped down with immediate effect.
The company said founder Li Ning and executive vice-chairman Jin-Goon Kim will lead the firm during the search for a new CEO.
Zhang, who has been with the company for 20 years, had agreed the time was right for new leadership, but would continue as an executive director and adviser, it said.
China’s sportswear companies have struggled in recent months as the economy slows, leaving inventories bloated. Several companies, including Li Ning, have said they will cut back on opening new stores after an expansion blitz following the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Li Ning’s shares have shed half their value since a mid-March peak, closing on Wednesday at 4.69 yuan. to read.
* China’s social security funds safe after audit:
China’s social security funds are stable and operating safely, auditors said Wednesday.
The National Audit Office (NAO) audited 18 types of social security funds, finding that total revenues increased to 2.84 trillion yuan (450.79 billion U.S. dollars) last year, while expenditures went up to 2.11 trillion yuan.
The social security system has seen improvements and provided stable expectations for consumers, NAO officials said at an executive meeting of the State Council, or China’s cabinet, presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.
The NOA said it did find problems concerning the weak implementation of insurance policies and the misuse of funds by a handful of people and organizations.
21:08:20 local time PHILIPPINES
* US congressman affirms support for Pinoys’ causes:
New York Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) reaffirmed his solid support to two major causes being pushed today by the Filipino-American communities across the United States — the passage of the SAVE Our Industries Act and the DREAM Act.
Crowley, a chief deputy whip in the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives, is a co-sponsor of the SAVE Our Industries Act that would allow Philippine-made apparel using U.S. fabrics to enter the U.S. duty free and benefit both countries tremendously. (,,,,,)
During the meeting, Crowley informed the Filipino and Fil-Am leaders that the SAVE Act could be taken up as part of a trade package in the current 112th U.S. Congress, as soon as legislation is concluded on pending three U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs).
If approved, the SAVE Act would expand U.S. export of fabrics to the Philippines, from $11 million today to up to $500 million annually within the next three to five years of implementation, and save and/or create some 3,000 jobs in the U.S. textile industry.
Atty. J.T. Mallonga announces new voter registration initiatives for the Fil-Am community.
For the Philippines, it would restore hundreds of thousands of apparel manufacturing jobs, and over $1 billion of Philippine apparel exports to the U.S. lost since the lifting of the U.S. apparel import quotas and the resulting dominance of China of the U.S. market. read more.
* The Philippine to ban deployment of workers to 15 countries:
The government will ban the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to 15 countries for failing to meet the safety requirements of the amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act, the head of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said Tuesday. read more.
20:08:20 local time VIET NAM
* Vietnamese businesses still struggle to find the way to live:
The Vietnamese enterprises in the business fields dominated by foreigners, have still been struggling to survive. And they need the support from the State.
According to Pham Xuan Hong, Deputy Chair of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas), in order to ease the reliance on material imports, which makes garment products more expensive than exports, enterprises need to control the material areas to take initiative in setting up their business plans.
To date, Vietnamese garment companies have been heavily relying on foreign material supplies with 90 percent of cotton and 70 percent of fiber materials imported from foreign countries.
Hong said that Vitas has encouraged garment companies to develop the domestic market, since export markets have been narrowed due to the demand decreases. However, he said businesses would not succeed in conquering the home market if they do not get the support from the State.
“It would be impossible for domestic garment companies to regain the home market, if counterfeit goods and low quality products still have been available at shops and traditional markets,” Hong said. read more.
20:08:20 local time LAOS
*Lao women’s labour force is highest in the region:
Women’s labour force participation in Lao PDR accounting for 73% is among the highest in the region.
According to the Country Gender Assessment for Lao PDR 2011, a joint report by ADB and the World Bank, while significant achievements have been made, some indicators show slow progress and some groups in the population are being left behind.
Healthcare for pregnant and new mothers, and maternal and child malnutrition, are area of particular concern, as are the difficulties that girls in remote areas and from ethnic groups face in pursuing quality education. The percentage of women’s labour force participation in Lao PDR was hanged on the World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development and the regional companion report entitled “Toward Gender Equality in East and the Pacific”, are focusing attention on the importance of improving women’s access to jobs and economic opportunities, which was held in Vientiane yesterday. read more.
* Over 20 factories still pay low-Savannakhet:
The National Assembly constituency for Savannakhet has received complaints from workers of over 20 factories claiming their employers are yet to adjust upward the minimum wage according to the government announcement, according to the NA member in Savannakhet, Mr. Simoune Ounlasy.
The government issued the announcement in January requiring employers in private sector across the country to increase the monthly minimum wage from 348,000 kip to 626,000 kip.
“Although some factories have complied with the notification some have been found guilty of exploiting their employees by increasing the wage but cutting their lunch perdiem or even their overtime,” said Mr. Simoune. read more.
20:08:20 local time THAILAND
* Institute seeks help from govt, banks:
Some 120,000 textile and garment SMEs employing more than 600,000 workers need help from state agencies and banks amid the economic sluggishness in euro-zone countries that has resulted in a severe drop in exports to the European market, the Thailand Textile Institute said yesterday.
THTI executive director Suttinee Poopaka said the institute was seeking assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises in the industry after finding that they are suffering badly from the economic crunch in the euro zone.
SMEs, which employ about 60 per cent of the 1 million workers in the industry, have been seriously affected by a slowdown in exports of Thai textiles and garments to the European Union. They should, therefore, receive financial support and marketing assistance with a view to penetrating new markets, she said. read more.
* Thailand Expects To Remain Key Textile Exporter:
Thailand is expected to remain global number one textile exporter after the Asean Economic Community (AEC) is implemented in 2015, said Banpot Tekacharin, director of Department of Industrial Promotion’s Textile Industry Division.
At present, Thailand and Indonesia are competing to become the world’s champion of textile exporter, Banpot said, adding that he believed textile exports by Thailand this year would enable the country to earn about 200 billion baht.
Quoting Banpot, Thai News Agency said that key importers are the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Japan and Asean members. read more.
20:08:20 local time CAMBODIA
* Some 4,000 striking workers withdraw from National Road 4:
Some 4,000 striking workers from Taiwan-owned Tai Ying Enterprises Co and Camwell Mfg Co withdrew Wednesday after blocking National Road No 4 for several hours.
The withdrawal followed negotiations between Sat Sathu, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Labor, and Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Federation of Unions.
Rong Chhun nevertheless maintained his threat to lead a march on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s office Thursday as well as to the US embassy and the European Union mission.
Kandal Police Commissioner Av Chamroeun said earlier that traffic was blocked for two kilometers and accused Rong Chhun of using the strikers to seek opposition political gains. read more.
* Road blocked as strike escalates:
Thousands of workers from factories owned by Tai Yang Enterprise in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district blocked National Road 4 for more than seven hours yesterday to push the company to meet their demands.
May Sopheaktra, secretary-general of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, said workers decided to block the road after the company – which supplies Levi’s and Gap, among others – tried to disrupt the protests by broadcasting over a loudspeaker the Kandal Provincial Court’s order that strikers return to work in 48 hours.
“The workers asked the officials from the Ministry of Labour, the company and the local authorities to resolve for them [Wednesday] evening, but if they don’t get results today, they will keep striking, and [Thursday] they will march to the Labour Ministry, to Hun Sen’s cabinet and to the American embassy, and we will end our march at the European Union,” Sopheaktra said from the protest site.read more.
* Strike wounds slow to heal:
More than 70 garment workers who claim they were sacked after a nationwide workers’ strike in September, 2010 are still waiting to be reinstated, Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), has told the Post.
Thorn claimed on Tuesday about 10 factories were ignoring orders from three provincial courts to reinstate 71 workers, including union leaders, who lost their jobs after a four-day strike led by C.CAWDU and the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia over wage and bonus increases. read more.
19:38:20 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Plights of Myanmar immigrant workers:
Although Thailand is not a place of greener pasture for Myanmar migrant workers, this year saw the largest number of them there as they could earn more as the demand of workforce is getting high there.
Temporary passports for the migrant workers have been issued under the agreement between the two countries since 27-12-2011, 22 days after the ‘Friendship Bridge’ was reopened. However, more migrant workers are still pouring into Myawady. Like relay runners who carry sticks step by step to the goal, Carries (people who illegally take migrant workers to Thailand for cash) recruit new ones even in small towns and countryside. The recruiters send them to agents in Yangon who send them again to Myawady where they were accommodated in houses, warehouses and hostels by company agents and fed just enough to survive for one to two months. Thousands of them were stranded in Myawady before they could manage to enter Thailand. read more.
19:08:20 local time BANGLA DESH
* Minimum wage in RMG sector cannot eradicate poverty – says Wahiduddin Mahmud:
Economist Wahiduddin Mahmud on Wednesday said wages of the readymade garment workers should be increased to help them come out of the poverty.
The RMG workers cannot get rid of the poverty trap with existing minimum wage, he said at a report launching ceremony by the World Bank in the capital.
He pointed out that low wage was an advantage for the country’s ever growing RMG sector which employs
around 3.5 million workers. But the advantage was not enough to fight poverty, he added.
The comments by the noted economist came weeks after thousands of workers went on rampage and clashed with the law enforcers in a series of protest in demand of pay hike.
The situation became normal only after the government assured the agitating workers of fulfilling demands including upward adjustment of minimum wage of Tk 3,000 for a RMG worker fixed in 2010. read more.
* Economic growth hinges on garment- Wahiduddin:
Bangladesh’s economic growth in the coming years will depend on the performance of the readymade garment sector, said a noted economist yesterday.
But a big challenge for the country is how it will maintain the growth of the apparel sector at this moment amid a financial crisis in its largest export destination, the EU, said Wahiduddin Mahmud.
However, he hoped Bangladesh will perform well due to the benefit of its low wage compared to its competitors.
Moreover, China, the largest apparel supplying country worldwide, has become a major export destination for Bangladeshi garments as it is focusing on high-end apparel products now and not interested in making basic items for its own use.
* Fair food prices for RMG workers:
The Ministry of Food and Disaster Management has taken an initiative to provide food items at fair prices to garment and knit workers. An MoU is likely to be signed soon with the BGMEA and BKMEA leaders to this end. This is undoubtedly welcome news which could not have come a day later. We believe this will ease the plight of the workers to some extent given the continued inflationary pressures compounded by soaring food prices before the month of Ramadan. But does fair price mean affordable price? read more.
* Basic RMG exports to shape the future:
World Bank suggests efforts to improve trade logistics, workers’ skills and labour standards
The exports of basic garments will continue to be important in future but Bangladesh’s competitive advantage in the area could erode over time, the World Bank said in a study yesterday.
To accelerate exports, the study suggested consolidating existing strengths in basic garments and at the same time, diversifying into other products such as higher-value garments and services sector.
“Forward-looking policymaking requires that measures be put in place now to encourage such diversification in future, while building on existing strength,” said the study released at a function at the World Bank office in Dhaka.
read more. & read more.
* Compliance failure can jeopardise RMG sector-WB:
‘Exports can grow even faster if bottlenecks are addressed’
Bangladesh needs to improve its trade logistics and infrastructure, more skilled manpower, and ensure compliance with the government’s labor standards to accelerate exports growth, said a new World Bank report.
Stressing the compliance, the report said compliance failures can jeopardise the entire garment sector. “Compliance important because of potential negative externality…it is increasingly important for Bangladesh.”
The report, released on Wednesday, highlighted improving administrative efficiency of Chittagong Port, giving priority to container trains and increasing the capacity of Benapole land port by building new infrastructures to consolidate and accelerate exports.
On efficiency, it said lack of skills is becoming a key constraint to growth in exports and this gap will become more acute as Bangladesh moves into producing higher-value garments.
In export of basic garments, Bangladesh’s strength will continue to be important in the near and medium-term, the report, titled ‘Consolidating and Accelerating Exports in Bangladesh’, said. read more.
* RMG needs a lot of stitches- WB report:
Economic Research Group chairman Wahid Uddin Mahmud, on Wednesday, said paying low wages to workers would not sustain the ready-made garments (RMG) sector for long. “For the RMG sector, a balance should be maintained through increasing production, on the one hand, and increasing the wages, on the other, to sustain in the world market,” the eminent economist said while presiding over the launch of a World Bank (WB) report on “Consolidating and Accelerating Exports in Bangladesh” at the Bank office here. read more. & read more.
* Productivity can be boosted by 10-15 pc- Wahiduddin Mahmud:
Utilisation of technology, enhancing workers’ skills through proper training and wage hike can help raise productivity by 10 to 15 percent in the export-oriented industrial units, said a leading economist on Wednesday.
“Poverty apparently has become the base for us to be competitive in the market. It’s not good at all. We need to increase workers’ wages and improve their productivity and skills gradually,” Chairman of Institute of Microfinance and Economic Research Group Dr Wahiduddin Mahmud said at a report-launching ceremony at the World Bank office in the city.
But, he said, it needs to be decided whether Bangladesh will remain competitive by keeping wages low or increase the productivity of workers by reducing other expenses of investment, infrastructure development. “It’s very important and a big challenge. With low wages, workers can’t come out of poverty line.” (….)
On diversification of exports, the renowned economist said, “Diversification of exports is possible in mid- and long-term. We can’t say which product will bring good outcome. If a product turns out successful once, required support can be provided for its expansion like RMG. read more.
* Govt urged to set up RMG village in N region:
Speakers at a seminar Wednesday urged the government to establish a RMG (ready-made garments) village in the country’s northern region to help reduce growing flow of migrated people to the capital.
They also emphasised developing infrastructure, checking corruption, and creating skilled manpower as the key components for relocation of industries from the capital to the under-developed areas in order to ensure balanced development across the country.
The observations came at a seminar titled ‘Where are Industries Growing? Location Dynamics of Industrial Growth’ at DCCI auditorium. read more.
* Textile, RMG fairs for networking:
Stepping into the fair premises, one could hear the sound of humming of different machinery, ranging from sewing machines to the latest version of large multiple head embroidery machines.
From choosing yarn and fabric to sourcing machinery, and from finding the right chemicals for dying to value addition with embroidery and other accessories, everything is on display under one roof at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital. read more.
18:38:20 local time INDIA
* City college launches fashion designing course, brings cheer to textile industrialists:
Ludhiana’s textile industry, which has been lamenting a shortage of fashion designers, has a reason to cheer as a city college, under Panjab University, formally launched a postgraduate degree in fashion designing on Tuesday. The Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women will now offer a Masters in Fashion Designing and Management (MFDM) with an intake of 40 students.
According to the college principal, Parveen Chawla, the course will help students focus on developing managerial skills in the field of fashion marketing and retailing, best suited to the requirements of the garment industry and fashion retail sector. MFDM will provide students with hands on learning experience and opportunities that will help them become result oriented professionals and experts in the fashion industry, Chawla added. read more.
* Packing dilution proposal opposed by jute industry:
The jute industry has taken exception to the standing advisory committee under the Union textiles ministry recommending dilution in the mandatory jute packaging rules.
The committee has suggested relaxing the compulsory jute packaging norms by up to 80 per cent for sugar and 20 per cent in the case of foodgrain, in favour of HDPE (high density polyethylene) and PP (polypropylene) bags. Besides, the panel has pitched for fixing of rate contracts for HDPE/PP bags before August-end.
Alarmed, a section of the industry has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to stymie the proposal. Stating that jute sacks constitute 68 per cent of total jute goods production and provide livelihood to 30 million jute farmers and industrial workers, the mill owners say the dilution move would spell disaster for the industry. read more.
* Tesco expects Bangalore office to play a central role in developing its competitive edge:
The proposal to permit FDI in multi-brand retail may have come a cropper but as technology becomes the next big battleground for retailers, India may well be where these battles are fought.
Tesco, the world’s third-largest retailer, is building a crack team in Bangalore as shopping goes online and supply-chain efficiencies become more critical in keeping prices affordable. read more.
18:08:20 local time PAKISTAN
* Swedish ambassador to help lure foreign companies:
Swedish Ambassador to Pakistan Lars-Hjalmar Wide said on Tuesday that Pakistan suffered from an “image problem,” which made foreign companies hesitant in entering the domestic market.
Talking to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) office bearers in the presence of the media at the KCCI office, Wide said that Swedish companies like Tetra Pak, Millicom International Cellular, Saab Automobiles and GAC Logistics were operating successfully in Pakistan and their existence should encourage foreign companies to invest in the country. “Representatives of foreign companies should come to Pakistan and talk to their Pakistani counterparts. The situation is actually quite different here then perceived,” the ambassador said.
The value of Sweden’s exports to Pakistan was $440 million in 2010. Pakistan’s exports to Sweden were worth $120 million in the same year. (….)
Sweden’s exports to Pakistan are mainly in paper, telecommunication equipment, machinery, trucks, chemicals, metals and defence equipment sectors. Pakistan’s major exports to Sweden are textile, garments, leather and sports goods.
* Load-shedding- Textile sector may get relief:
The Ministry of Textile Industry wants the textile sector to be totally exempted from electricity and gas load-shedding.
Seeking complete exemption from loadshedding for the sector and making a demand for freezing power tariff for at least for six months, along with changes in rates of duties, officials told the National Assembly Standing Committee on Textile Industry here on Wednesday, that special attention was needed for the textile industry as it was the base-line of national economy and textile exporters are the biggest stakeholders in foreign exchange earnings. read more.