19:32:00 local time CHINA
* Multinationals still keen on China despite challenges:
While China remains a top attraction for multinational companies, they are finding new challenges as the market gets mature and economic growth slows down.
The multinational companies are still keen to invest in China, especially in the manufacturing and retailing industries, as the country’s 7-8 percent economic growth annually will create a large and growing source of revenue for them, KPMG said in a report released last week.
Meanwhile, challenges such as higher labor costs, increasing operational spending, and complexity of regulations are highlighted in the report.
Here are some comments quoted by the report. read more.
* It’s made in China for Team USA:
As a controversy about the “Made in China” uniforms for members of the US Olympic team continued to erupt, one US track and field Olympian expressed his thanks to China.
The uniforms for the opening ceremony are American red, white and blue. The berets, blazers and pants were designed by US label Ralph Lauren and made in China.
When ABC News reported the facts, the story sparked more than 6,500 comments on Yahoo News, where the reaction was mixed.
However, on Thursday, Republicans and Democrats railed against the US Olympic Committee’s decision to dress the US team in Chinese-manufactured uniforms.
“I am so upset. I think the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference. read more.
18:32:00 local time VIET NAM
* Vietnam factory workers need condom education, doctors say:
A pregnant garment worker in Binh Duong Province staying at the Que Huong Charity Center for pregnancy care intends to leave her baby there out of fear she won’t be able to afford motherhood.
The woman, who only wants to be known as L.T.T., said she had been living with her boyfriend, and taking birth control medication, but erroneously thought she could not become pregnant from forgetting to take the pill once or twice.
The center, whose name means “motherland,” is raising more than 300 children born of similar situations.
Doctors in the area said female workers know far too little about contraception, placing them at high risk for unplanned pregnancies, Tuoi Tre reported in a Monday report. read more.
* Construction of fibre plant mill begins in Quang Ninh:
Texhong Textile Group of China started the construction of its fibre plant in the Hai Yen Industrial Zone, Mong Cai City, in the northern Quang Ninh Province on Tuesday.
The project, the first and the biggest FDI (foreign direct investment) project so far in the province, is being carried out in an area of over 40ha, with the total investment capital of US$300 million.
Its annual production capacity is expected to reach around 140,000 tonnes, with 92,000 tonnes per year for the first and second phases and 46,000 tonnes per year in the third phase. The plant is scheduled to officially come into operation in the third quarter of 2013. to read.
* Chinese firm begins building yarn factory in Viet Nam:
18:32:00 local time CAMBODIA
* Cambodian garment workers get wage hike:
Pursuant to an agreement reached between the garment manufacturers and union leaders, garment makers across Cambodia have accepted to increase the salaries of their workers by US$ 10 per month.
The increased sum includes payment of US$ 7 towards house rent allowance or transport fees and US$ 3 as attendance bonus for garment workers. read more.
* Clinton- Protect workers’ rights:
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday urged Southeast Asian nations to promote workers’ rights and improve labour conditions as a means of spurring economic growth.
“Standing up for workers’ rights and high labour standards is both right and moral, it’s also smart and strategic,” Clinton told a women’s forum in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Respecting workers’ rights “leads to positive economic outcomes including higher levels of investment. And bringing women into the economy has ripple effects”, she said, adding that it promoted equal opportunity and raised taxes for governments.
* Social affairs ministry intervenes in Tainan labor dispute:
The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation was to meet Friday to resolve a labor dispute at Taiwanese-owned Tainan Enterprises (Cambodia) Co.
Sources said trade union leaders Chea Vichea and Rong Chhun had been invited to the meeting to discuss a prolonged strike by the garment factory workers.
The workers are demanding various bonuses including $15 for transport and housing, $15 for milk for women who have just delivered babies and a $15 monthly award.
On Wednesday, the workers sent a petition to Prime Minister Hun Sen after clashing with police, leading to the arrest of one representative. to read.
* Injured union official says police forced him to write letter:
A union representative who suffered a head injury during a scuffle with police said he was force to sign a letter admitting that he disobeyed police orders.
The letter said Cambodian Confederation of Union representative Rong Phanha on Wednesday joined a strike by Tainan factory workers led by president confederation president Rong Chhun. The group gathered at Wat Botum to present a petition to Prime Minister Hun Sen, it continued.read more. & read more.
“Police asked me to return to Freedom Park, but the workers and I rejected the request,” the letter said. “I regret the clash with police. I promise that there will never be such clashes again. I leave my fingerprint as evidence.”
Speaking at a news conference, Rong Phanha said he was compelled to write the letter by police. “I reject the letter because it did not from my feelings,” he said. “I urgently appeal for a halt to violence and cruelty against protestors.”
Phnom Penh Police Commissioner Touch Narong said: “I don’t understand what Rong Panha thinks as he wrote the letter himself and this was witnessed by non-government organization officials … The authorities asked the workers to leave Wat Botum and Rong Phanha hit police.” to read.
19:32:00 local time MALAYSIA
* Hing Yiap buys six apparel traders for RM245mil:
Hing Yiap Group Bhd is acquiring six entities from Asia Brands Corp Bhd for RM245mil.
The six companies are Anakku Sdn Bhd, Audrey Sdn Bhd, Mickey Junior Sdn Bhd, Asia Brands Global Sdn Bhd, Asia Brands Assets Management Sdn Bhd and Asia Brands HR Services Sdn Bhd.
The purchase consideration is to be satisfied by cash of RM179.3mil with the balance of RM65.7mil to be satisfied via the issuance of 30,137,615 new ordinary shares of RM1.00 each in Hing Yiap at an issue price of RM2.18 per share.
Hing Yiap entered into a conditional share sale agreement with Asia Brands Corp on July 11, 2012.
In a filing to Bursa Malaysia, Hing Yiap said the main rationale for the acquisition was that the company was in the same apparel trading and retailing businesses as Asia Brands. read more.
19:32:00 local time INDONESIA
* ‘Brainless’ Quip Riles Unions:
Labor activists have demanded that the labor minister apologize over a statement he made on Thursday apparently belittling work that does not “require the use of the brain.”
Defending the practice of “outsourcing,” which activists contend leaves workers without benefits or protection, Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar said it was only meant to be used in low-wage “auxiliary” jobs.
“Jobs that can be outsourced are not core jobs, only auxiliary jobs,” he said. “Auxiliary jobs are those that will not and do not require the use of the brain. “They include cleaning services, security, goods delivery and various other jobs. But reporters, bank tellers and others who use their brains must be permanent employees.”
Jaya Santosa, president of the Association of Workers Unions (Aspek), said on Friday that the minister’s statement, quoted widely in print and broadcast media in response to a massive workers’ demonstration in Jakarta on Thursday to protest the practice of outsourcing, was offensive and demeaning.
“We demand that Muhaimin issue an official apology to all workers and their families in the fields of security, cleaning services and goods delivery,” Jaya said at a press conference, referring to professions the minister had criticized. read more.
* Deal Sought With Workers After Crippling Rally in Jakarta:
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has instructed government officials to reach a deal with laborers who took to the streets of Jakarta on Thursday to demand a higher minimum wage and an end to the outsourcing of workers.
“The president wanted to see the workers and the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration to strike a deal,” presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said on Thursday. “The president has instructed the government officials involved to reach an understanding with the laborers.”
Julian said the government had responded to a similar rally by workers earlier this year with a decree and a Constitutional Court ruling.
Said Iqbal, the president of the Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) told the rally: “What’s most important is for the government to man up and say stop to outsourcing. The manpower minister must have the will. We want a moratorium on outsourcing, and for all outsourcing firms to have their licenses revoked.”
The massive labor protests, which involved tens of thousands of workers on Thursday, paralyzed parts of Jakarta. read more.
* Spead Message to Workers, SMS and Social Media is more effective:
Indonesia International Labour Organisation (ILO-International Labour Office), use short messages (SMS) and social media to inform the workers’ rights. SMS Program is running since February 2012, and sent to the workers in garment factories.
Delivery of messages via SMS and social media considered by the ILO as more effective than the usual poster posted in walls of the factory or monthly newsletter. ILO Research conducted in several factories in Indonesia in 2011 shows almost all workers have a cell phone and 30% of them accessing Facebook.(….)
The scope of the SMS program is the workers in garment factories. Until now the ILO send SMS to 1000 workers of seven garment factories that have subscribed to this program. In August, there are 10 to 15 companies will participate to subscribe.
* Decree revised to lift wage of low-income workers:
In a move to boost the welfare of labor, the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry has revised a guideline normally used to determine the minimum wage for low-income workers.
The decision, however, met opposition from labor unions, which considered the revision to be not sufficient enough to strengthen their economic position. At the same time, employers also protested the revision, saying they had not yet given their approval. read more.(2nd item)
17:32:00 local time BANGLA DESH
* Garment workers hold Rally:
Politicians and labour leaders at a rally on Friday called on the Awami League-led government to take steps for increasing the wages of garment workers and to implement trade unionism in garment factories.
The Narayanganj district unit of the National Workers Federation organised the rally in front of Narayanganj Press Club to press the demands of the organisation.
The general secretary of the Workers Party of Bangladesh, Anisur Rahman Mollick said that garment workers were suffering much to run their families with the low wages they receive.
He called on the government to constitute the wage board for increasing the salaries of garment workers.
Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad leader, Safiuddin Ahmed said that trade union rights should be ensured for workers.
It was unfortunate that garment workers were deprived from the rights of trade unionism, Safiuddin said.
Chaired by the president of the Narayanganj district unit of the NGWF, Haniful Kabir, the rally was addressed, amongst others by the central president Amirul Haque Amin, district branch general secretary Humayun Kabir.
Shramajibi Nari Oikya forms a human chain in front of the National Press Club on Friday, demanding food rations for apparel workers. — New Age photo
* Slowdown in Eurozone, worries of US buyers, workers’ unrest put garment sector in dire straits:
Following a sluggish export growth in the just concluded fiscal year (FY), Bangladesh garment sector braces for a challenging future ahead, industry sources said on Friday.
Slowdown in Eurozone, concerns of the US buyers on alleged human rights issue in Bangladesh, frequent workers’ unrest over demand for higher wages, fall of exports to India following Rupee’s depreciation have put Bangladesh garment sector in dire straits.
Readymade garment (RMG) exports rose 6.14 per cent to $19 billion in FY 2012, against some 43 per cent to $17.9 billion in the previous FY, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
Of Bangladesh’s garment exports in FY 2012, the European Union (EU) imported apparel worth some $6.55 billion against $5.52 billion in the previous fiscal.
The RMG exports to the US and Canada rose to $1.55 billion in FY 2012 against $1.13 billion in the previous fiscal.
The slowdown in Europe is likely to continue as the Greece debt crisis is unlikely to be solved in the current FY, the traders said.
Meanwhile, the US traders have expressed their concerns as the killers of Aminul Islam, a trade union leader, were yet to be brought to justice, according to officials at the US embassy in Dhaka.
Aminul Islam was kidnapped from Ashulia in April last and his body was recovered from near Mymensingh a few days later.read more.
* The urban labour market in Bangladesh:
Urbanisation has been widespread over the course of human history and it is more than just a process that culminates in dense congregations. It has important implications for the type of economic activities and employment. In China, both urbanisation rates and per capita income have historically moved together, although their levels of urbanisation reached only half the levels of that of the USA with a much greater increase in per capita income. India on the other hand, experienced urbanisation and increased economic growth at a slower pace than China’s. Moreover, urbanisation without proper planning and direction results in negative consequences. Rampant urbanisation can lead to crowded towns with scarce water supply, poor hygiene and sanitation, shortage of electricity and gas and in the process hampers overall productivity, economic growth and the general well-being of the population. read more.
17:02:00 local time INDIA
* Contract system still prevails in mills:
‘Sumangali and Mangalya Thittams,’ which rights activists strongly oppose, continue to entice adolescent Dalit and tribal girls, a majority of them under 18, to spinning mills and garment manufacturing units in and around Salem.
The girls’ parents, lured by one-time settlement sum of Rs. 45,000 after the completion of three year contract, which the mill managements offer as ‘marriage gifts’ under the ‘scheme trainee’ scheme, named otherwise by activists as ‘sumangali thittam,’ send them to the mills, which would exploit them totally once they join work.
The mills never adhere to the stipulations of Minimum Wages Act, Anti Child Labour Act and other labour laws.
The taxing 12-hour work per day for six days with Rs. 2,500 per month as wages, free lodging and subsidised food would deprive the girls of their studies and health.
The mill managements however prefer girls since they are ‘docile’ and would remain ‘voiceless.’ read more.
* Crafts- The next big biz idea:
Laila Tyabji has the key to a goldmine and she is willing to share it with everyone. This goldmine is the country’s rich and varied crafts tradition. Says the 60-plus chairperson of crafts organisation Dastkar, “Our crafts are a goldmine, a unique asset that very few countries in the world have. Those who did have crafts, handlooms and other local arts have lost them in the process of industrialisation, and are deeply regretting that loss. We should invest our minds, spirit and energy on this asset and attract young, dynamic entrepreneurs to invest in the sector.”
Dastkar has been working towards improving the economic status of craftspeople and promoting the survival of traditional works. Few know the Indian crafts scene as well as Laila, who has spent the better part of her life learning and promoting these handmade wonders. As a youngster she studied art in Baroda and, later, Japan, before entering the world of design. In the 1970s, she learnt just about every kind of embroidery that existed in India and spent time with artisan communities. She later worked with them to transform their craft into products of contemporary appeal.
* Textile process may further revise job charges:
The textile processors in the country’s biggest man-made fabric hub in Surat may further increase the job charges for processing dyeing and printing fabrics after the recent hike of Rs 1 per meter.
Reason : Pandesara green environment and water welfare cooperative society limited, which operates the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) has increased the monthly charges from Rs 7,500 per chamber to Rs 11000 per chamber for the treatment of the effluent generated by the dyeing and printing mills in Pandesara.
Sources said that the textile processing sector is passing from a tough phase following the increase in the prices of raw material including dyes and chemical and natural gas. Recently, the textile processors implemented a hike of Rs 1 per meter on the processing of the fabrics.
Now, the sector is facing more difficulties with the Pandesara green environment and water welfare cooperative society limited increasing the cost of treating the effluents at the CETP from Rs 7500 per chamber to Rs 11000 per chamber.
Industry sources said that the textile processing unit has a minimum of 10 chambers for the dyeing and processing of the fabrics. However, the cost of treating the effluent in the CETP would go up from RS 75,000 per month to Rs 110000.
* RBI for debt recast of textile units on a case-by-case basis:
Rejecting across the board restructuring of loans for the cash-starved textile sector, the Reserve Bank has asked banks to consider debt recast for the industry on a case-by-case basis.
Banks have been advised to look at debt recast on a case-by-case basis and special window will be provided for restructuring, official sources said. read more.
* Indian Govt approves 21 new textiles parks:
overnment has sanctioned 21 new Textiles Parks under the Scheme for Integrated Textiles Parks with a project cost of Rs. 2100 crores to be implemented over a period of 36 months. Minister for Commerce, Industry and Textiles Shri Anand Sharma as Chairman of the Project Approval Committee under the Scheme accorded approval to the recommendations of the Inter Ministerial Project Scrutiny Committee which examined 55 proposals for new Textiles Parks in the country.
The Scheme for Integrated Textiles Parks seeks green field investments in textiles sector on a public private partnership basis with the objective of setting up world class infrastructure for Textiles industry. read more.
16:32:00 local time PAKISTAN
* ‘Pakistani fashion industry has export potential’:
The Pakistan fashion industry has great export potential in its niche markets, including, India, Middle East, Europe and United States, but is unable to tap into them because of the paucity of skilled human resources and technicians, who play a vital role in quality production.
The opening of the cross-border Pakistan-India trade will open a new window of opportunity as Made in Pakistan brands have great demand and acceptance in neighbouring India, but Pakistan will need to enhanearlyce its production to meet the huge orders of the buyer.
Experts of the Pakistan Fashion Industry disclosed these facts during an interactive seminar on the ‘Potential of the fashion industry in Pakistan,’ arranged by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) here on Wednesday. read more.
* Textile Ministry signs MoU with WWF-Pakistan:
Ministry of Textile Industry and WWF-Pakistan entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Liaqat Ali Khan, Joint Director of Pakistan Cotton Standard Institute (PCSI), representing Ministry of Textile and Arif Hamid Mahkdum, Director, Sustainable Agriculture Program (SAP), WWF-Pakistan on behalf of PCSI and SAP, WWF-Pakistan respectively.
The MoU sets out the terms and conditions under which SAP, WWF-Pakistan and PCSI under the project ‘sustainable cotton production in Pakistan’s cotton Ginning SMEs’ shall jointly undertake activities to promote proper picking procedures and better ginning practices among the cotton growers and ginners of the project area through on farm/factory demonstrations for the production of clean cotton. to read.
* Traders looking forward to healthy cotton crop:
Due to clement weather till this time, traders in Pakistan are looking forward towards a good size new crop (August 2012-July 2013) if it is saved from any extreme ravages of rains and floods during the incoming monsoon spell. The general idea of cotton output during the new season (2012-2013) in Pakistan remains close to fifteen million domestic size bales. Some sections of the cotton trade are even predicting a higher production in the new season.
Traders in Karachi described the price outlook of cotton as being steady. Monsoon rains are on the anvil. The trade believers the assorted and periodical showers can benefit the standing cotton crop but any excessive downpour or flooding could decrease the output. Seedcotton (Kapas/Phutti) prices for the new crop (August 2012-July 2013) in Sindh reportedly ranged from Rs 2700 to Rs 2750 per 40 Kgs, while in the Punjab they extended from Rs 2800 to Rs 2900 per 40 Kilogrammes.