in the news on-line, today, 13 july 2012

21:18:15 local time map of china CHINA

* China accuses EU of trade ‘discrimination’:

China has criticised Europe’s refusal to ease two longtime trade restrictions as “discrimination”, following
a high-level meeting between the two sides this week.
The accusation is contained in a statement released on Thursday and comes as part of renewed calls by the People’s Republic to end an embargo on arms sales imposed after the deadly 1989 Tiananmen crackdown on protesters.
Beijing has also repeatedly pushed to be given full “market economy status”, a designation that would lift bans on certain Chinese exports and investments.
“We believe that the two issues are actually an embodiment of the discrimination against China by the European side,” Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry councillor handling European affairs, told reporters.
“The two issues reflect a lack of trust by the European side,” she said.
read & see more-Video with duped garments industry.

* China to keep building cotton reserves:

China will keep building its cotton reserves and advise its farmers to produce more food.
Speaking today in Lubbock to a full room audience at the Board of Directors meeting of the Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., Wallace Darneille, President and CEO of Lubbock based Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA) explained reasons behind the cotton price volatility and the need for the Chinese to stock cotton.
Unstable export policy of India, European financial situation, battles between international commodity firms for dominance are some factors that influence cotton volatility. read more.

* Guangzhou Shuochen Clothing bags license of Xiniya brand:

China Xiniya Fashion Limited, a leading provider of men’s business casual apparel in China, announced its agreement to grant an exclusive license to Guangzhou Shuochen Clothing Development Co., Ltd. to use the registered Xiniya brand for designing, developing, marketing and selling leather shoes, bags and other goods through specialty retail outlets, including department store concessions in China, with effect from August 1, 2012 to November 30, 2018. read more.

20:18:15 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Minister sticks with plan to deport pregnant migrants:

Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap is adamant he will go ahead with plans to deport pregnant migrant workers despite mounting resistance to his idea.The minister plans to send home migrant workers who are three to four months pregnant, to help curb the use of migrant child labour.

The presence of children of migrant workers in workplaces puts Thailand in a negative light, as many view the country as exploiting child labour, the minister said. “This proposal [deportation of pregnant migrant workers] has yet to become law. I have no intention to violate human rights, but only want to set a guideline to regulate migrant workers working in the country,” Mr Padermchai said. read more.

* Debunking the myths of Fixed-Period employment contracts:

Fixed-term employment contracts are easily misunderstood by employers. Some mistakenly believe that fixed-term contracts will absolve them of the duty to make severance payments to their employees, while others assume that labelling an employment contract “fixed-term” will grant it such status. However, the law sees fixed-term employment contracts very differently, and this article will bust the many major myths surrounding such contracts in Thailand. read more.

* Private sector pushes free trade with EU:

With the euro-zone crisis likely to run into the fourth quarter next year, the government is being urged to step up Thailand-EU free trade agreement talks to allow Thai products to gain greater access to European markets.
The talks would also enable the government to raise existing trade disagreements such as the possibility of Thailand being graduated from tariff privileges under the Generalised System of Preference.
Phongsak Assakul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the Thailand-EU free trade agreement, if implemented, would result in a deep cut in import tariffs to zero, leading Thai exports to generate more revenue from this market.
Malaysia and Singapore have already completed free trade agreements with the EU.
read more.

20:18:15 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* CCHR welcomes the release of union activist:

Press Release – 12 July 2012
The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) welcomes the release of union activist Long Panha who was held in custody by the police until 10.15pm last night after his arrest yesterday morning. After his release, Mr. Long – an employee of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions – was taken to a medical clinic by CCU President Rong Chhun for treatment to injuries sustained to his face and forehead during his arrest yesterday at Wat Botum. After receiving treatment, Mr. Long returned home to his family. Mr. Long was arrested yesterday morning after taking part in a peaceful demonstration. He had joined hundreds of workers from the Tai Yang (recently renamed Tai Nan) factory at Phnom Penh’s freedom park yesterday morning who had gathered to call for higher compensation after their employers had
severed their contracts following a change in the factory’s name. to read.

* Union rep ‘forced’ to confess:

Police released union employee Long Panha last night after taking him into custody during a clash between police officers and workers’ rights representatives near Wat Botum in Phnom Penh in which he was beaten and left bleeding from the head, NGO officials said.

According to Panha, 23, who was treated for injuries to his face and forehead after his release, police forced him to thumbprint a confession in which he apologised for instigating the conflict between police and protesters, an admission he rescinded at a press conference yesterday morning.

“I did not clash with the police first,” he said. “My hand was empty but the police had shields and sticks. It is a violation of human rights.”

Panha, who works for the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, said the attack took place as roughly 20 workers and union representatives rested after submitting a petition to Hun Sen’s cabinet on behalf of striking workers at Levi’s and Gap supplier Tai Yang Enterprises. read more.

Long Panha (left), an employee of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, is taken into custody by police during a demonstration by factory workers on Wednesday in Phnom Penh. Photograph: supplied

* Hun Sen’s cabinet sends Tainan case to Labor Ministry:

Ho Sithy, chief of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet, has sent a case involving workers at Tainan Enterprises (Cambodia) Co  to the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training to solve.
In a letter dated Wednesday, the cabinet said that a petition sent to the prime minister the same day had been forwarded to the ministry.
Workers at the Taiwanese-owned garment factory are demanding annual and monthly bonuses. to read.

21:18:15 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Unions threaten more street actions on outsourcing:

More than 30,000 workers from the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI) marched on the Presidential Palace on Thursday, demanding that the government crack down on outsourcing.
“We will give time to the government to prohibit low-wage policies and employee outsourcing until October, KSPI president Said Iqbal said on Thursday.

Said had a warning for the government if it failed to meet its demands: “We will take to the street again, with more workers to close factories and toll roads in Greater Jakarta.”
“The rally today is just a warm-up. We can bring other unions from many parts of the country to join us,” Said added. read more.

19:18:15 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Govt mulls exclusive park for RMG, plastic & printing sectors-PM:

The government is mulling exclusive industrial park for readymade garments, plastic and printing and packaging sectors as well as modernisation of the BSCIC industrial towns for diversification and improvement of the small and cottage industries in the country.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said this while addressing the inaugural function of the 55th founding anniversary of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) at Osmani Smriti auditorium here this morning.

“Youths are questing for self-employment. we have to show them path and they can find out their employment opportunity in the BSCIC industries and can arrange job for many others as well,” she said. read more. & read more. & read more.
   

* Domestic factors push textile investment down:

The textile and clothing industry has consistently contributed to about two third of the country’s export receipts over the last one decade.
Yet, investment in the textiles has shown a rapid decline, adversely impacting on its future prospects. This regression has been mainly due to high cost of investment, dwindling supply of power and energy, high interest rates, high cost and non-availability of raw materials, labour unrest and lack of other infrastructural facilities, said sources in the industry.
In 2010 when the economy was growing well, the country added 30,000 spindles to emerge as one of the largest importer after China and India.
In 2011, the country added another 36,000 spindles.
“But the country is fast losing its competitive edge in textiles as the investment has been declining since beginning of 2012” said a top official of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), the apex body of the country’s textile industry.
According to BTMA, about 21 textile mills with a total investment of Tk 1.44 billion were set up in the country during the first four months of current year as against Tk. 17.95 billion investment in last year and Tk. 18.91 billion in the previous year (2010).
read more.

18:48:15 local time map of india INDIA

* 19 child labourers rescued from factories:

The seven-year-old victim said he makes bags from 7 am in the morning till midnight. “I get Rs 20 every day with which I buy myself breakfast,” said the boy, who was trafficked a year ago and sold to the factory by a local agent from his village.

Nineteen trafficked children were rescued from garment and leather factories in Walled City’s Nabi Karim on Wednesday. A team of Delhi government officials and NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) had identified more than 100 children working in zari, embroidery and leather industries. Officials said those rescued today were trafficked from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

“We were prepared to raid six different locations where child labourers had been identified. However, after some people started pelting bricks and stones on cars driving activists and the rescued children, the teams had to return with only 19 children from the leather bags and purse stitching industries,” said a senior Delhi government official.

The NGO claimed that their activists were also attacked while rescuing trafficked bonded child labourers.

“One of the vehicles was damaged but the activists managed to leave safely. However, many other children could not be rescued. The SDM has taken a very strict view of the matter and has directed the police to register FIR against unidentified people for obstructing public servants in due discharge of his duty,” said a BBA spokesperson.

“The children stitched leather bags and purse and were paid Rs. 30 per week for working up to 16 hours daily. All the children were below 14 years of age, the youngest being seven years old,” added the official. The minimum wage per day for unskilled labour in Delhi is Rs. 270 for 8 hours. to read. & read more.
 

* Textile imports from Bangladesh fall as rupee hurts:

With the depreciation, there is no difference between Indian manufactured apparel and the apparel manufactured in Bangladesh.

The depreciation in the rupee has not only cheered textile exporters but has managed to cheer domestic apparel industry as well. Direct imports of apparel from Bangladesh had picked up in last one year since the government allowed duty free imports of 48 textile items from this eastern neighbor.

Rupee depreciated around 20% since last September when the duty free imports were allowed. Since September to March last year,  textile items worth $1.8 billion were imported from Bangladesh, compared to $587 million in full year before duty free imports were allowed.

Lower labour cost there and removal import duty had made imported goods cheaper by around 20-15% compared to buying apparels from domestic producers. This benefit has been negated by the falling rupee. read more.

* Re slide halts apparel import from Dhaka:

While textile exporters have been cheering the rupee’s depreciation, it is now also helping the domestic apparel industry in a big way.

Direct import of apparel from Bangladesh had picked up since September last year, when the government removed all tariffs on import of 48 textile items from this eastern neighbour. From September to March this year, textile items worth $1.8 billion were imported from Bangladesh, compared to $587 million in the full year, before duty-free imports were allowed. Lower labour cost there and removal of the duty had made the imported goods cheaper by 15-20 per cent, compared to buying apparel from domestic producers. read more.

* Meet on debt recast kindles hopes for textile units:

A meeting of a Group of Officers on Friday (July 13) with representatives of the banking and textile sectors is expected to look at the modalities of implementing the measures proposed under the debt restructuring package for the textile industry. A senior official of the Ministry of Textiles told The Hindu that there were about 450 companies that required debt restructuring. This would include rescheduling of Rs.7,000 crore term loan and Rs.2,000-2,500 crore of working capital loan. The meeting on Friday would look at creating a special window in banks for taking up the restructuring applications, monitoring the system of rescheduling, and a time-frame for the process. read more.

* Textile investments to pick up soon:

Investments in the textile sector in the country are expected to pick up in the next few months.
R.S. Bachkaniwala, Chairman of India International Textile Machinery Exhibitions (ITME) Society who was here to participate in a road show on India ITME 2012, told The Hindu on Thursday that investments had come down in 2011-12 and showed signs of improvement during the first three months of this year.
However, there were problems such as power shortage in Tamil Nadu, the implementation of the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme, etc that had slowed down investments. read more.

* Reebok’s 2010 annual report show 2 accounting red flags:

Late last month, responding to the accounting regulator, the auditor of Reebok India said there was no wrongdoing on its part in the audit of the firm, which has allegedly lost Rs 870 crore through an internal fraud. But a reading of the 2010 annual report of Reebok India filed with the corporate affairs ministry – the first time notings from which are being reported in the media – shows at least two accounting red flags, neither of which was raised by the company’s auditor, N Narasimhan & Company.
read more.

* Trade policies behind farmer suicides- Survey:

Irrational trade policies and shrinking farm holdings are among the reasons that lead farmers to commit suicide in Maharashtra.
Sangeeta Shroff, an associate professor with the Agro Economic Research centre at the city-based Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, said the Union government’s policies from 1997 to 2003 discouraged cotton export and promoted import.
As a result, farmers incurred losses, leading to frustration and suicides. She pointed out a recent National Sample Survey in which many farmers said they do not want to continue farming, but had no alternate available. (….)
Speaking to TOI, Shroff said, “Cotton import was encouraged by the Union government from 1996 to 2003, which led to crashing of cotton prices in the domestic market. It led to further distress and frustration among the farmers. In Maharashtra, the Vidarbha region is mostly dependent on rainfall, which increased the stress on farmers. The situation turned so bad that in the next three years the number of farmers’ suicides increased drastically.”  read more.

18:18:15 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Misleading claims: Minister falsely tells PM export target achieved:

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has apparently been misled by Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who on Wednesday told the premier that the country had achieved its export target of $25 billion – a claim contrary to reality.
The premier, in turn, took no time in felicitating the nation for an achievement that was never achieved.
“The achievement of the $25 billion export target set by the government during FY2011-12 is a great success, in view of the global economic crunch when exports are registering a decreasing trend worldwide,” said a press release, quoting Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf congratulating the nation. read more.

* Meeting textile sector’s requirements:

Body to chalk out plan for import of 500mmcfd LNG

* Committee constituted by PM will also direct SBP to make interest rate regionally competitive in its second meeting

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf here on Wednesday constituted a three-member committee to chalk out a plan for early import of 500 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) liquefied natural gas (LNG) to meet gas shortfall for the textile sector and special competitive interest rate scheme through the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) delegation has also been assured that 350 megawatts (MW) power will be allocated for the textile sector to enable the industry to get rid of power load shedding, and soon over 2,000 MW additional power will be added in the system. This would be done by separating feeders of textile sector from normal power feeders to exempt them from power load shedding. read more.

* Polyester yarn, fabric valuation to be based on international prices:

Pakistan Customs has linked valuation of polyester yarn and polyester fabric with the prices prevailing in the international markets for determining the import value of these goods, official sources said on Wednesday.
“The authorities have adopted a method of identical goods valuation under which prevailing international prices of these items will be checked to avoid undervaluation declared by importers,” an official said.
The official said that to protect the local industry the cost of manufacturing of polyester yarn and polyester fabric had been evaluated before applying the identical method. read more.

18:18:15 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Corporate Responsibility and Forced Labor in Uzbekistan:

Despite repeated efforts by human rights campaigners, the issue of forced labor in Uzbekistan just won’t go away. The country’s state-controlled system of cotton production continues forcing children and adults to harvest cotton under brutal conditions. The government of Uzbekistan, it seems, places a higher priority on maximizing cotton export revenues than it does on the rights and welfare of its people.

The Centre for Governance and Geopolitical Studies recently released “Forced child labour in Uzbekistan: Some Changes – But Not For The Better” which documents alarming trends from Uzbekistan’s most recent cotton harvests. The Centre’s research, supported by the Open Society Foundations, reveals that civil servants are routinely forced to pick cotton and that children are made to work the most difficult part of the harvest in late autumn, when the weather condition are the most severe.  read more.

map of Asia

CHINA
* China accuses EU of trade ‘discrimination’
* China to keep building cotton reserves
* Guangzhou Shuochen Clothing bags license of Xiniya brand

THAILAND
* Minister sticks with plan to deport pregnant migrants
* Debunking the myths of Fixed-Period employment contracts
* Private sector pushes free trade with EU

CAMBODIA
* CCHR welcomes the release of union activist
* Union rep ‘forced’ to confess
* Hun Sen’s cabinet sends Tainan case to Labor Ministry

INDONESIA
* Unions threaten more street actions on outsourcing

BANGLA DESH
* Govt mulls exclusive park for RMG, plastic & printing sectors-PM
* Domestic factors push textile investment down

INDIA
* 19 child labourers rescued from factories
* Textile imports from Bangladesh fall as rupee hurts
* Re slide halts apparel import from Dhaka
* Meet on debt recast kindles hopes for textile units
* Textile investments to pick up soon
* Reebok’s 2010 annual report show 2 accounting red flags
* Trade policies behind farmer suicides- Survey

PAKISTAN
* Misleading claims: Minister falsely tells PM export target achieved
* Meeting textile sector’s requirements
* Polyester yarn, fabric valuation to be based on international prices

UZBEKISTAN
* Corporate Responsibility and Forced Labor in Uzbekistan

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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
    David Crosby

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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