in the news on-line, 22 july 2012

17:44:11 local time map of china CHINA

* “Made in China” for London Olympics:

Workers are busy working in front of sewing machines in a manufacturing workshop in the northeastern coastal city of Dalian as the 2012 London Olympics approaches.

Making uniforms for this year’s U.S. Olympic athletes, Dayang Group Co., Ltd. has encountered controversy following complaints from a group of U.S. lawmakers, led by Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who chided the U.S. Olympic Committee for not providing U.S. Olympians with domestically produced uniforms last week.
“I think they should take all the outfits, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over,” Reid said.
Li Guilian, president of the Dayang Group, said the group had acctually produced more than 3,000 formal outfits for the U.S. delegation to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Lu Zhuyuan, general manager of a local flag manufacturing company, said his company has made more than 4,000 flags for this year’s event.
“Two out of every ten flags flying over the London Olympics are made by our company,” said Lu. read more.

* China industrial relocation boosts “Made in Africa” products:

Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said Friday that the shift of some Chinese industries to African countries has boosted the competitiveness of products made on the continent.

An increasing number of Chinese enterprises are eyeing the competitive advantages of labor and consumer markets in Africa, and have started to move their production there, Chen said in an interview with Xinhua. read more. & read more.

16:44:11 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Foreign investment in garments declines:

The country’s textiles and garment sector is seeing a decline in foreign direct investment (FDI) during the past several years, and the sector is being held back by its reliance on imports of raw materials, according to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association.

FDI in the sector reached annual average of 460 million USD during the peak period of 2000-08, an decreased in the past three years.
Total registered capital from foreign investors in the sector for 2009 and 2010 was at 185 million USD and 169 million USD respectively. The figure was about 450 million USD last year.
The Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) said FDI capital pumped into the sector remained low due to the negative impacts of the global economic crisis.
read more. & read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 21/7

* FTAs expected to pave the way for apparel exports:

Vietnam’s garment and textile exports have registered an annual growth of 25-30 percent in recent years, earning 15.6 billion USD in 2011.

In comparison with the world’s annual apparel consumption of about 350-400 billion USD, Vietnam ’s share is still modest, but there are expected to be more opportunities for the country’s garment and textile industry.
According to trade experts, free trade agreements (FTAs) between Vietnam , ASEAN and other countries and regions, which are in force or under negotiations, are a useful tool to lift the industry’s turnover in the future.

It is clear that the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which took effect in late 2009, has opened major opportunities for the country’s growing industry as it regulates to cut all tariffs o­n apparel products to Japan to zero percent.
read more. & read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 21/7 -4th item.

* Vietnam: Serving markets and workers:

Textiles are Vietnam’s second largest export and provide about two million jobs for local workers. The sector has usually been associated with high productivity and competitiveness, but also with poor working conditions. Is it possible to reconcile the two?At a factory on the northern outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City hundreds of workers are busy assembling the latest clothing order from an international buyer.

Above the din of the sewing machines, two of them – both women – stop to chat about their jobs with some visitors. “We’re all migrant workers here, so we treat each other like sisters,” says a smiling Dao Thi Sen. “I have many friends here.”
Originally from the bamboo-producing province of Thanh Hoa near the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, Sen made the 1,000 kilometre journey south to Ho Chi Minh City seven years ago.
Her salary from this garment factory, which participates in the ILO/IFC Better Work Vietnam programme, helps support her family, including an 18-year old son she hopes will attend university.
“I was a freelance seamstress before,” says Sen. “But the work wasn’t very stable. This is better.” A colleague nods in agreement. “Factory work provides a stable job and the working environment is okay,” says Ms Le Thi Hanh, also a seven-year veteran of this factory. read more.

16:44:11 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Surin urges move from cheap labour:

It is time to change the structure of Asean economies to reduce their dependency on cheap labour and shift to innovation and brand building to increase the value of goods and services and free the grouping from the middle-income trap, says Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan.

When united as a bloc, Asean will have a combined economic value of US$2.6 trillion, the ninth-largest economy in the world, but intra-Asean trade accounts for only 25% of the total, much lower than intra-regional trade in the North America Free Trade Area at 45% and the EU at 68%. There is an increasing number of middle-income earners in the region who will need more quality goods and services.

Thailand’s economic growth still depends largely on cheap labour and natural resources – areas in which China and India have the capacity to compete with Thailand.
Several countries in the region excluding Singapore and Malaysia remain mired in the middle-income trap with per capita income below $10,000, while Thailand has a per capita income of about $4,000. read more.

16:44:11 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Tainan workers to petition US ambassador:

Workers from Tainan Enterprises (Cambodia) Co will petition the US ambassador next Monday over their protracted dispute with the Taiwanese-owned garment maker, a union leader said.

Rong Chuun, president of the Free Trade Union of Workers, said the Tainan workers had been protesting for four weeks with no solution.
“At least 150 worker representatives will petition the US ambassador to Cambodia to seek intervention because the buyers of Tainan are in the US,” a statement said.
The workers sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen last week after minor clashes with police which led to one union representative receiving a head injury. to read.

17:44:11 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Indonesia Baseline Report: Worker Perspectives from the Factory and Beyond:

This report synthesizes worker survey results with country, regional and industry-specific trends. The purpose of this is to identify how Better Work Indonesia could affect workers’ lives inside and outside of the factory, and devise programme innovations accordingly.

Workers reported many concerns with health issues. Thirst emerged as a serious issue with 53.5 per cent of workers reporting severe thirst often or every day. This may be connected with the high level of concern regarding excessive heat in the factories, reported by 47.6 per cent of workers as a problem.

An alarmingly high percentage (85.2 per cent) of workers reported concerns over sexual harassment. In addition, 79.3 per cent were concerned about verbal abuse such as shouting or vulgar language, and 87.4 per cent with physical abuse such as striking or pushing. Typically, around 30 per cent of workers discussed their concerns with a supervisor or manager and another 30 per cent raised concerns with their trade union representative. Another 10 per cent of workers had considered resigning. read more & download the report.

* More Chinese firms to invest in West Java:

The Chinese government has pledged to invest in industries — particularly energy, food processing and textiles — in West Java, to build a stronger partnership between the country and the province.

West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan said Chinese companies had already built power plants in Indramayu, Cirebon and Pelabuhan Ratu.
“This is part of the national project to produce 10,000 megawatts of electricity,” said Heryawan after a meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Liu Jianchao at the Gedung Sate in Bandung, on more.

15:44:11 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* RMG workers block highway for arrear in N’ganj:

Workers of a ready-made garment factory in Narayanganj blocked Dhaka-Sylhet highway since Sunday morning and vandalised at least seven vehicles demanding payment of their arrears.

The agitating workers of Harvest Rich also ransacked several window glasses of the factory building located at Bhulta in Rupganj upazila, reports our Narayanganj correspondent. to read.

* Misappropriation of Food for Work rice alleged:

Massive rice and wheat misappropriation has been alleged in the work of “food for work” under the TR project of Modhuhati union under Jhenidah Sadar upazila.

Sources said 28 metric tons of TR rice was allotted by the upazila administration few months ago but most of rice was allegedly misappropriated by the local musclemen.

Upazila Nirbahi Officer’s office sources said, 6 metric tons of rice was distributed for road re-construction from Jabbar’s house to Amirul’s house under Modhuhati union, 5 metric tons for flat soling in front of Bazargopalpur mosque road, 6 metric tons allotted for road re-building from Chorkole village mosque to Sutor’s canal, 6 metric tons for road re-building from Gurfan Mia’s house of Kubirkhali village to Choto Pukur of Mirzapur village and 5 metric tons of rice was allotted for road development from Nimai house of Zadappur village to Mofi’s machine.

The local labourers alleged that they will get rice and wheat after the work as wages but by giving minimum money the musclemen have got the work done by depriving the poor labourers. People of Modhuhati Union Parishad said when work of a government project starts the concerned project must display a signboard provided by the related department. But here it was not followed.
On the other hand, a secret source said that the president of the project sold the rice and wheat in the black market.
A school teacher on condition of anonymity said that the musclemen are very strong in the area. Actually no work was done in two of the five roads of the project.
read more.

* GSP cancellation may have little affects on RMG exports:

The business circle in Bangladesh is concerned about the over all impact in their export trades following the threat of USA to cancel the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) to Bangladesh.

But the largest export earner- garments factory owners are not that much worried as the Bangladeshi garments do not enjoy the GSP facilities while exporting apparels to USA.
The president of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Shafiul Islam said the threat of GSP cancellation by Washington DC would have insignificant impact on apparel exports to USA as Dhaka does not enjoy GSP, a duty free facilities awarded by USA to the exports of some nations.

A leading US labour organisation, AFL-CIO and later, American Center for International Labour Solidarity, urged the US government to keep the pressure on the Bangladesh government so that the later seriously addresses and seeks to remedy on labour rights issues. Otherwise, the country ought to lose its current trade benefits.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO) is a national trade union center, the largest federation of unions in the United States, made up of fifty-six national and international unions, together representing more than 11 million workers.
A recent Congressional hearing was told that AFL-CIO had filed a petition alleging serious violations of labour rights in Bangladesh.

“We are not even getting any duty benefits, rather, we are exporting garments to the USA after paying taxes at the highest rates,” he pointed out. He regretted that the US is yet to provide GSP (Generalised System of Preference) facilities to the garment products which are the largest foreign currency earner of Bangladesh. read more.

* Spinning mill catches fire:

A devastating fire burnt machinery and raw materials of a spinning mill at Dakkhin Jarun in Sadar upazila of Gazipur early Saturday.
At least 20 workers of the mill were injured while trying to extinguish the fire.
Sources said the fire originated at the Delta Spinning Mill from an electrical short circuit at about 5:00am and burnt cotton, thread and machinery of the mill.
Firefighting units from Gazipur, Savar EPZ and Kaliakoir doused the flame after three and half an hours of frantic efforts.
Mill authorities claimed that the extent of loss from the fire could go up to Tk 20 crore. to read. & to read.  & to read.

* Jute geotextile can help prevent hill-slide- Experts:

Bangladesh has made a significant progress in research, production and export of jute geotextiles (JGT), the most promising alternative for synthetic geotextiles used in various civil engineering applications, for the last couple of years, said experts and officials.

They said field trials of jute geotextiles on hill-slopes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts have further proved to be effective in preventing landslide in the country, a perennial disaster that claims many lives every year. read more.

* Global meltdown a boon for footwear exporters:

Footwear exports from Bangladesh has been showing an increasing trend following the recession in Europe and America as the foreign buyers inclined towards low cost footwear.
According to sources, the buyers who used to import goods from China, Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan are looking for low cost sources like Indonesia, Cambodia and Bangladesh to collect goods.
As a result, the export of Bangladeshi footwear to US increased by 50 per cent in recent years. Bangladesh used to export footwear worth less than US$10 million annually to the US market that just simply doubled last year, said a leader of Leathergoods and Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB).  Shipments in terms of volume had also increased significantly. From January to October 2010, Bangladesh’s footwear shipment to US recorded 503,543 pairs as against 334,628 pairs in the same period of 2009, said the more.

* Foreign retailers eyeing country’s footwear products:

Attention of internationally well known chain retails to the local footwear industry is expected to open up a big scope for the country’s export earning within the next couple of years, industry insiders said.

According to the industry people, most of the well reputed chain retails of the globe have been considering sourcing Bangladesh’s shoes for their respective stores spread across the world in a bid to diversify their sourcing base.

Global retail chains like JC Penny, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Wal-Mart, which now buy clothes from Bangladesh, have either started importing local shoes or are contacting the leading footwear exporters to widen their sourcing along with garments, they added.

Availability of raw materials, a duty-free facility of export to Europe and Japan, and lower production cost due to cheap labour have played a vital tole in the shift in orders and rise in export from footwear, a sub-sector under the $650 million export earner leather industry, insiders said. read more.

* US finds rights not well:

Grim human, labour rights situation presented at congressional hearing; buyers wrote PM 2 letters in 4 months about hiking RMG workers’ wage, probing death of labour leader Aminul

Days after two dozen top global apparel buyers gathered in Dhaka to share concerns over persistent labour unrest, top US officials painted a grim picture of Bangladesh’s human and labour rights situation in a Congress hearing Thursday.
This could ultimately affect the country’s exports and trade relations with the US if immediate measures were not taken to improve the conditions.
The garment sector, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the exports, could bear the brunt as major buyers from the US and European countries had been continuing to express their unhappiness over the labour rights situation at factories in Bangladesh. read more.

15:14:11 local time map of india INDIA

* First default in textile industry:

The downturn in textile processing sector in country’s biggest man-made fabric hub in Surat has started showing its ugly face. In first of its kind incident, a dyeing and printing mill in Unn-Bhestan area is alleged to have defaulted on a payment of Rs 8 crore to the chemical and dyes suppliers and textile traders on Thursday.

Market sources said the mill owner in question has disappeared from the city after closing down the mill on Thursday. Few days ago, the mill owner had kicked out all the textile workers stating that he was closing down the mill due to financial problems.
The textile processing sector contributes to about 40 per cent of the finished fabric demand in the country.

A senior office-bearer in South Gujarat Textile Processors Association said, “We have heard about the mill owner defaulted for Rs 8 crore, but it is not in our reach to help those who have lost their hard-earned money. We would advise them to approach police for a thorough investigation into this issue.”

In the last one year or so, about 30 textile dyeing and printing mills have closed down in the industrial estates of Pandesara, Sachin, Khatodara and Udhna, rendering about 12,000 textile workers jobless and another 10 to 15 mills are on the verge of closure in the next couple of months. There are a total of 400 textile mills in the city.
read more.

* Seven child labourers rescued in Alwar:

Seven child labourers were rescued by a team of police and representatives of an NGO in Alwar’s MIA police station area on Friday evening.

Children aged between 8 and 15 years were found working at tea stalls, food joints and garment shops.
“We had been receiving complaints regarding child labour in MIA area for the past few days. A special team was constituted to raid the shops,” a police officer said.
read more.

* Within organic folds:

APEDA launches certification standards for organic textiles this week

To keep up with the increased demand for organic textiles, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority of India (APEDA) will soon launch certification standards for the product. National Organic Textile Standards (NOTS) have been recently included under the National Programme for Organic Productions (NPOP). Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce, Industry &Textile will launch the organic textiles certification standard on July 27, with a fashion show of organic fabrics as the highlight of the event. read more.

14:44:11 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* TDAP chief selection: Garment exporters back man from public sector:

Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Zonal Chairman Atiq A Kochra has said he is opposed to the idea of someone from the private sector replacing Tariq Puri as chief executive of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).

The Ministry of Commerce, which is the administrative ministry of the TDAP, terminated the services of Puri as TDAP chief executive on July 6.

Commenting on the proposal floated by some exporters that a veteran of the private sector should lead the TDAP, whose objective is to ensure export growth through better coordination between many public and private-sector stakeholders, Kochra said an ‘outsider’ might not get the cooperation and interdepartmental support within the government required to carry out the authority’s mission effectively. read more.

* Businessmen push govt for reforms:

Pakistani businessmen who traditionally oppose any reform or measure that puts additional financial burden on them are now pushing the government for reforms.

In two recent instances the government managed to increase resources for infrastructure and research on the initiative of businessmen. It has increased the cess on cotton by 150 percent and imposed gas development surcharge on industries using gas in order to create resources for the development of this sector.

The textile industry pushed the government to increase cotton cess from Rs 20 per bale (of 170 kg) to Rs 50 per bale. This would increase the total amount collected under this head from Rs 400 million per year to Rs 1000 million. This cess is used for research and development of cotton crop. The notification in this regard was issued on July 5, 2012 to ensure higher collection of cotton cess for the coming cotton crop.
“After the introduction of the free market mechanism in the cotton market the textile millers now realise that they would have to pay export parity price to the cotton farmer,” said former chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Gohar Ejaz. read more.

* Textile mill godown gutted in Faisalabad:

A fire that broke out at a textile mill’s warehouse resulted in the losses of millions as firemen failed to fight the fire down in time here in Faisalabad, Geo News reported late Thursday night.

Though, no loss of life was reported but machinery and merchandise worth millions of rupees went up in smoke before the firemen could do anything.
Fire brigade and Rescue 1122 sources told Geo News that 10 fire tenders took part in the operation but failed to bring the blaze under control that erupted in the warehouse located in Millat Industrial Estate.
They added that owing to the fact that there was farmland behind the factory, the firemen faced utmost difficulty in dousing the fire.

“The location of warehouse slowed down our efforts as we had to go around the fields to reach the part of the building where the blaze was doing most of the damage”, the rescuemen said.
Eyewitnesses claimed that fire broke out due to short-circuit when the factory workers tried to turn on a standby power generator during loadshedding hours.
The police have started investigation. to read.

* PTEA calls for measures to end power crisis:

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association has demanded the government to exempt the export-oriented units from electricity and gas outages, a statement said, on Wednesday.

Rana Arif Tauseef, chairman of Pakistan Textile Exporters Association asked the government to take immediate measures to boost the textile sector and take steps to end energy crisis.
The government should refund duties and levies paid by exporters on the raw material and inputs to reduce the cost of doing business in the country. to read.

* ANF, customs urged to minimise delays:

Exporters of value-added textile products on Thursday urged the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF), customs, and operators of port terminals to streamline their affairs to minimise shipment delays.

At a meeting with Director ANF, Sindh, Brigadier Muhammad Wajid at the PHMA House, members of Value Added Textile Forum (VTF) raised issues relating to delays of their more.

* Hopes for larger cotton crop pressurise prices:

Fine weather with beneficial rains till this time have spurred new crop (August 2012-July 2013) arrivals remarkably increasing ginning operations in both Sindh and Punjab.
This has resulted in a substantial decrease in both seedcotton (Kapas/Phutti) and lint prices. Because the recent rains have upto now been sporadic and intermittent, the seedcotton supply remained continuous. read more.

map of Asia

* “Made in China” for London Olympics
* China industrial relocation boosts “Made in Africa” products

* Foreign investment in garments declines
* FTAs expected to pave the way for apparel exports
* Vietnam: Serving markets and workers

* Surin urges move from cheap labour

* Tainan workers to petition US ambassador

* Indonesia Baseline Report: Worker Perspectives from the Factory and Beyond
* More Chinese firms to invest in West Java

* RMG workers block highway for arrear in N’ganj
* Misappropriation of Food for Work rice alleged
* GSP cancellation may have little affects on RMG exports
* Spinning mill catches fire
* Jute geotextile can help prevent hill-slide- Experts
* Global meltdown a boon for footwear exporters
* Foreign retailers eyeing country’s footwear products
* US finds rights not well

* First default in textile industry
* Seven child labourers rescued in Alwar
* Within organic folds

* TDAP chief selection: Garment exporters back man from public sector
* Businessmen push govt for reforms
* Textile mill godown gutted in Faisalabad
* PTEA calls for measures to end power crisis
* ANF, customs urged to minimise delays
* Hopes for larger cotton crop pressurise prices

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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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