in the news on-line, 29 july 2012

21:45:11 local time map of china CHINA

* Government weighs social insurance reforms:

To help Chinese businesses that have fallen on hard times, the government may let them delay payments they are required to make into the country’s social insurance funds or pay reduced amounts, a senior official said.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Yin Chengji, a spokesman for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said his ministry is aware that some small and medium-sized enterprises in eastern regions are struggling as the country’s economic growth continues to slow.

“We will keep an eye on the business situations of SMEs,” he said. “If a lot of them find it difficult to sustain their growth or keep operating, we will introduce a policy to help ease their burdens, one that is similar to one we had in 2008 and 2009, when the global financial crisis was hitting hard.”
The country’s social insurance system is divided into pension, unemployment, basic medical, workman’s compensation and maternity funds. read more.

20:45:11 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Low tariff encourages export, but technical barriers keep goods inaccessible:

Australia and New Zealand have committed high tariff preferences to Vietnam. However, the exports to the two markets remain modest.

Over the last two years of implementing the ASEAN – Australia – New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), Vietnam’s exports to Australia and New Zealand have not seen any improvement.

In 2011, Vietnam exported 2.5 billion dollars worth of products to Australia, a decrease of seven percent in comparison with the same period of the last year, and exported 151 million dollars worth of products to New Zealand, up by 23 percent, according to the General Department of Customs.
Meanwhile, Vietnam’s import turnover was 2.1 billion dollar from Australia, up by 50 percent, and 383.9 million dollars from New Zealand, up by 9 percent.

Big preferences, numerous challenges…

According to Cao Thanh Diep from the Multilateral Trade Policy Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, under AANZFTA, Australia and New Zealand have made high commitments about the tariff cuts.
A lot of Vietnamese export items to Australia, including crude oil, phones and phone parts, seafood, wooden furniture products, cashew nuts, equipments, footwear and computers, plastics and coffee, now can enjoy the zero export tariff.
The zero tariff has also been applied by New Zealand to Vietnamese export products, including cashew nuts, seafood, ores and other minerals.

Nevertheless, footwear and garment products, the two biggest export items, are still bearing high tariffs when entering the two markets. Australia, for example, imposes the tax of 10-15 percent on some garments, while New Zealand imposes 5-19 percent on garments and footwear.
However, Diep said tariff is now not the biggest obstacle for Vietnamese exporters. It is the non-tariff barrier and the business mode which have made it difficult to penetrate the two markets.
The markets now set very strict requirements on goods quarantine, which can be compared with the strict rules applied by the US, EU and Japan. If a consignment of goods is discovered as “having problems,” 100 percent of the next consignments would be examined. read more.

20:45:11 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Industrial Intelligence:

The Office of Industrial Economics yesterday launched an Industrial Intelligence Unit to help companies keep up with the latest economic developments in preparation for the advent of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

“The IIU system will be beneficial for analysing investment as well as exports and will help predict trends of each industry. It is specifically designed to accommodate the rapidly changing economic climate of today’s world,” said Sophon Pholprasit, director of the OIE.
“The IIU will provide nine key industrial databases: for Thailand’s industrial outlook; textile and garments; iron and steel; electrical and electronics; automotive; foods; plastics; ISO [International Organisation of Standardisation]; and Asean economy. In the future, the databases will be expanded to comprehensively cover more industries.” read more.

* Govt wants to take over migrant labour:

The December 14 deadline for registration of illegal migrant workers will not be extended, because Thailand wants to change the system, with workers only being brought here via government-to-government contracts in the long run, Labour Minister Phadermchai Sasomsap said yesterday.

The minister cited agreements discussed in a meeting with President Thein Sein during his visit to Bangkok this week, saying Myanmar workers would be brought here via state agreements. The deals would last for two years but not exceed four years.
In regard to the deadline to register “illegals”, he said it had been extended many times but December 14 would be the final date.
Phadermchai said Thein Sein specifically asked for help from Thai authorities to make it easier for Myanmar workers to send money home, as well as getting skills and career training, plus better welfare, and protection from abuse by employers.
A migrant worker in Thailand can earn a daily minimum wage of 300 baht (US$ 9.50) compared to around $1 a day in Burma.  to read. & read more.

* International Federation of Human Rights visits Somyot:

On the 24 July 2012, the international Human Rights group the FIDH, International Federation for Human Rights, made the first official visit to Bangkok Remand Prison. The FIDH’s Asia representative visited Somyot and other political prisoners of Lese Majeste Law to discuss their treatment and current situation. The is the first international NGO that make a public visit the the political prisoners in the prison, a highly appreciated and encouraging movement. to read.

* Labour costs, shortage worry companies:

Human resource shortages and rising labour costs are the top concerns for Japanese firms operating in Thailand, surpassing worries about political instability, says a new survey by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce Bangkok (JCCB).

Increasing labour costs have eaten into companies’ profitability, and a lack of human resources at the operational and managerial level has prompted Japanese firms to restrict hiring and transfer partial production outside Thailand, said Setsuo Iuchi, head of the JCCB’s survey team.

“Before the floods, companies began shifting labour-intensive manufacturing activities to countries such as Cambodia,” said Mr Iuchi, who is also president of the Japan External Trade Organization’s Bangkok office and chief representative for Asean and South Asia.

“After the floods, they faced difficulties finding enough labour to resume production, so some relocated production to other countries to leverage risk.” read more.

21:45:11 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Indonesian Companies Given One Week Before Idul Fitri to Pay Bonuses:

Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar is giving companies up to one week before Idul Fitri to pay their Muslim workers one month’s worth of salary as part of a government mandated bonus during the holy month.

“We will set up monitoring posts; one week before Lebaran, the [money] should be distributed. The amount is one month of pay for the worker,” Muhaimin said, using “Lebaran” the popular term for the Idul Fitri holiday, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month.

He added that the monitoring posts would be set up at each manpower and transmigration office in the region and at the ministry in Jakarta.
The payment of the annual bonus is contained in a 1994 manpower ministry ruling; it stipulates the payment of annual bonuses should be distributed to workers one week before the Idul Fitri holiday. read more.

* Outsourced workers are eligible to receive Holiday Allowance:

All workers are entitled to receive holiday allowances as long as they have been working continuously for more than three months. Outsourced workers supplier companies also have to pay the holiday allowance.

Chairman of the Confederation of Indonesia Unions Alliance Congress (KASBI) Nining Elitos said this on Tuesday (24/7). Labor unions ask outsourcing companies not to escape from the responsibility of paying THR by arguing that it is the employer liability.

“All workers are entitled to THR, but the implementation is often a problem for either workers with permanent employment status, contracts, and outsourcing. However, many contract workers or outsourcing workers lost their job in the fasting month so they do not receive THR, “said Nining. read more.

20:15:11 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Workers demand ILO to activate labor law:

Since the new Labor Law has been enacted in 2011, and in the backdrop of fledgling labor unions, the workers demanded ILO to provide training on labor affairs to activate their welfare.

The workers pushed the demand at a workshop held in collaboration among the ILO, the employers unions and the labors unions that come together for the first time — including the government officials and personnel from the Union of Myanmar Federation Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) — to talk at the meeting entitled “Freedom of Association” at the Summit Park View Hotel on 19 July 2012.

Technical advisor Ross Wilson explained the reporters, “The workers asked the ILO to provide relevant training courses on labor affairs to set in motion their tasks and programs. In the past, some workers were dismissed as they formed trade union, which was not in conformity with the labor law. read more.

19:45:11 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Unrest in RMG sector before Eid feared:

200 risky units identified

Nearly 200 readymade garment(RMG) units have been identified as risky by the intelligent wing of the industrial police fearing that they may fail to pay wages and festivalallowances before Eid-ul-Fitr, to cause fresh workers’ unrest, sources said.

These factories, having more than15,000 workers, are located at Savar, Ashulia and Narayanganj garment industrial zones.
“We have identified 11 6factories as risky in Savar and Ashulia industrial belt,” Golam Rahman Khan, Director of Industrial Police, Savar zone, told The New Nation yesterday.
These factories are financially crippled and using their production facilities on sub-contracting basis for big apparels units.
“Most of them are non-compliant factories and haven’t even good payment track records,” he noted.

Khan also said that the number of risky factories has been identified as per primary investigation, the total number of such units may further go up by the end of our inquiry.
“We have already placed a list of the vulnerable factories to the concern ministries, requesting them for take precautionary measures,”he noted.
He also said that his department has requested the trade bodies and labour leaders to handle the situation carefully to avert any untoward incidents before the Eid festival. read more.

* Fresh unrest may flare up if owners fail to pay bonus, wages before Eid:

Industrial police has raised an alarm bell for smooth security in the garment sector after identifying 390 factories as vulnerable to violence ahead of the upcoming Eid.

Intelligence men of the special police force, established in 2010 to provide sound security to the sector of over US$19 billion, made the report with apprehension that fresh trouble could flare up in the factories if owners fail to clear all payments of workers before the largest festival of Muslim community.
Experts said eruption of new unrest could peg back export growth at a time when the country faces desperate need to bolster its foreign exchange reserve.

Police said they have stepped up patrol and vigilance in the country’s 4,500 plus factories as they fear new protests may ensue since many factories are yet to pay the workers’ arrear wages.
“We’ve intensified security measures in the risky units to avert any further trouble during the fasting month. read more.

* Labour leaders demand early payment for workers:

Bangladesh Trade Union Centre (BTUC), a platform for industrial workers, yesterday urged all factory owners to clear off their payroll before the 2oth of Ramadan.
“All privately-owned factory owners will have to pay off the monthly salaries, overtimes and festive bonuses by August 13,” BTUC President Sahidullah Choudhury said, while threatening labour unrest if payment did not arrive in time.
read more.

* Apparel workers besiege factory for pay:

Laid-off workers of an apparel factory on Saturday besieged the office of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufactures and Exporters Association, demanding immediate payment of their wages and other arrears.
They also brought out a procession that marched the main roads of the city.
Mark Knitwear, producing export wear, was declared closed on July 25 for 15 days.
Workers said their wages were not paid although the month of Ramadan was passing by with the Eid-ul-Fitr drawing near.
A director of BKMEA, GM Faruk, told the New Age that they were persuading the owner of Mark Knitwear to pay all the dues of the workers before Eid.
The factory is in Shibu Market area of Fatulla. to read.

* 31 privatised factories still inoperative:

A total of 31 out of 75 divested state-owned enterprise have remained inoperative since their handing over to private management though one of the main preconditions of privatisation was to continue operation.

This was revealed in a recent survey conducted by the Privatisation Commission (PC) on 75 industries which have been privatized since 1993.
According to the finding, out of the closed 31 factories, 16 have a plan to resume operation while the remaining 15 have been shut permanently.
Of the surveyed factories, the private owners of 60 have paid all the dues to the government.

Among the 15 units, eight textile units have been handed over to its workers and employees on contractual basis, two to the Bangladesh Army and the rest five could not be handed over until now.
The size of employment has increased by 300 per cent as after their disinvestment the factories have employed nearly 90,000 workers as against 31,000 when those were under government control.

According to the survey, some disinvested factories — Bangladesh Cycle Industries, Berger Paints, Chittagong Cement and Clinker Industries, Rackitt and Benckiser, Zinnat Textiles and Sharmin Textiles — have done relatively well by introducing reforms, expansion and diversification of products and markets. read more.

* Woven garment crowned as biggest export earner, again:

Woven garment once again emerged as the country’s biggest export-earning product, beating out knitwear items in the financial year just gone by.

The sub-sector of the US$ 19 billion clothing industry pulled in US$9.60 billion-or up by nearly 14 per cent a year ago, according to data by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
Knitwear has been the top export earning product since fiscal year 2008. The export growth of the product, however, was 0.05 per cent in the last fiscal.

In the FY 2010-11, the knitwear sub sector earned $ 9.48 billion while woven earning $ 8.43 billion.
Analysts said the country’s woven garment export surged in FY 2011-12 due mainly to the revised rules of origin (RoO) by the European Union since January 2011.
Dr Mustafizur Rahman, a trade economist, told the FE: “The export volume of the woven segment beat the knitwear as the revised RoO has been facilitating the woven garment exporters.” read more.

* Govt to set up permanent sale centre for Jamdani saris:

The government will set up a permanent display and sale centre for Jamdani and Handloom (Tant) saris in Rupganj and the weavers will get single digit loan through SME Foundation, Industries Minister said Saturday.

He said: “BSCIC will set up this permanent display and sale centre for Jamdani and Handloom (Tant) saris at Noapara in Rupganj under Narayanganj district with a view to ensuring fair price for the weavers and these weavers will get single digit loan through SME Faoundation.”

He said this while addressing at the inaugural ceremony of the Jamdani and Handloom (Tant) Textile Export Fair 2012 organised by the Bangladesh Weavers Products and Manufacturers Business Association (BWPMBA) ahead of Eid-ul Fitr on Shiddieswari Girls High School premises in the city. read more.

* B’desh assures garment importers of solving workers issues:

The Government of Bangladesh has assured leading purchasers of its garments in the West that it would address the unrest prevailing among the apparel sector workers in the country over rising cost of living.
Last month, over 300 readymade garment factories in Bangladesh remained closed for over a week as hundreds of workers seeking a 50 percent hike in wages, to meet increasing rent and food costs, took to rioting.
Distressed by the violent incidences, representatives of 19 overseas buyers including H&M, Gap, Wal-Mart, New Look, Marks & Spencer and Carrefour, met Bangladesh Labour Minister to voice their concerns.
Labour Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said inflation is eroding the earnings of the workers, and the buyers are pushing for bringing an urgent resolution of the issue to curb any further unrest. read more.

* No Ticfa, no market access- Mozena:

US ambassador in Dhaka has once again made it clear that Bangladesh would not get duty-free access of its products to the market of United States unless Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) was signed.

Dan Mozena termed Ticfa negotiation an ‘inexplicably irritant’ issue. “What’s wrong with it?” he asked and said, “I see nothing wrong [in Ticfa].”
However, he told Bangladesh’s business leaders on Saturday that the issue would be resolved through ‘political process’.

After four years of negotiation, the ambassador said, it did not move forward giving a perception to Washington that Dhaka was ‘walking back from its international labour obligations.’
“My advice to you is to make environment favourable to Washington,” Mozena said, “Bangladesh needs to deliver a powerful message that it does support labour rights.”

Bangladesh’s Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes, however, recently told that Ticfa was not signed as Washington was not willing to negotiate the issue any further.
“There are some textual matters where the US side informed us that there is no scope for further negotiations,” he said.
The US ambassador on Jun 6 at a meeting with the leaders of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association said the duty-free access was ‘a kind of issue that will be raised in the forum to be created after Ticfa is signed.’
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.

* Urge US Congress for GSP- US envoy:

Bangladesh should appeal to the US congress to have the GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) facilities and preferential market access, said US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Dan W Mozena.
He advised on Saturday that the Bangladeshi embassy and Bangladeshi diasporas in Washington to create a good environment and improve bilateral relationship between USA and Bangladesh to get duty free access in to the US market.
Terming duty free access of Bangladeshi products in the US market a political issue, the Mozena said, “It’s a political process. I am not the right person to push the issue.”
“Telling me for duty free access is nothing, but just wasting of your time,” said the envoy. The ambassador was addressing a discussion meeting on “Bangladesh-USA Bilateral Trade: The Way Forward” at Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI). read more.  & read more. & read more.

19:15:11 local time map of india INDIA

* India to export textiles to Iran, CIS countries-Commerce Secretary:

The government is planning to increase textile exports to Iran, the Middle East and CIS countries, Union Commerce Secretary S R Rao said today.

“…We are also eyeing newer markets which have already been initiated couple of years ago… Especially Middle East, CIS ( Commonwealth of Independent States) and Iran. The scope is immense”, Rao told reporters here.
Besides these countries, he said, there is also possibility of exporting Indian textiles to China, considered the largest textile exporters in the world.
“FIEO President (M Rafeeque Ahmed) was saying that even China is vacating the traditional line that is where our textile products would also see greater scope of penetration. So there is good news coming up”, he said. read more.

* This ‘innovation’ is unfair to workers:

Industries in Bangalore are outsourcing work to low-paid labour

The issues raised by workers in distant Manesar would seem familiar to industrial workers in Bangalore.

The city’s reputation as the outsourcing destination for the world’s work is well known, but the rapid increase in work outsourced by industrial units here is less appreciated.
“An uncertain job in which there is no protection of tenure breeds an environment that is hostile to trade unions,” says S. Prasannakumar, general secretary of the Karnataka State Committee of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).

Take it or leave it
In the last two decades, labour’s position has been worsened by the rapid increase in the use of ‘contractual’ forms of labour by both public and private sector companies.
These contracts are mostly undefined, leaving the worker in a ‘take it or leave it’ situation.

The garment industry in Bangalore employs, according to one estimate, at least 3,00,000 workers — predominantly women.
The average monthly wage of a garment worker, employed for a 12-hour day, and with no secure tenure, is about Rs. 3,500. read more.

* Muneer visits Comtrust factory:

Says factory will be modernised and more job opportunities created
Minister for Panchayats and Social Welfare M.K. Muneer, on Saturday, visited the Commonwealth Trust (Comtrust) textile factory here in the wake of passing of a Bill on the government’s takeover of the factory on July 28.

Mr. Muneer told factory workers that the delay in passing the Bill in the Assembly was owing to the legal issues involved.
“The mental strength of the workers on strike and the special interest taken by the Cabinet went a long way in solving the legal issues, and the adoption of the Bill in the just concluded Assembly session. Though only a small number of workers were on strike till the end, their stand was of great help,” Mr. Muneer said.
He said the factory would be modernised and employment opportunities created for the youth, while retaining the existing workforce. read more.

* Textile merchants meet CM over VAT imposition:

The Assam Textile Merchants’ Association has met chief minister Tarun Gogoi over the five per cent value added tax (VAT) levied on textiles in the state.

The association had a meeting with Gogoi recently, where the members of the association apprised the CM of the affect of imposition of VAT on the textile industry. The price of textile products has gone up in the state after imposition of VAT.
“The retail buyers will be worst affected. Chief minister Tarun Gogoi stated that he was aware of five per cent VAT being imposed on the textile industry. Gogoi assured us of looking into the matter in no time,” said Nirmal Samsukha, the convener of the association. read more.

* Indian govt promoting textile exports in newer markets:

The Government of India is actively promoting textile exports to newer countries under a programme initiated by it around two years ago, Commerce Secretary Mr. SR Rao has said.
There is vast scope for boosting India’s textile exports to Iran, the Middle East and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, he said.
 India can also export its textiles to China, which is currently the biggest textile exporter in the world, he added.
 Echoing similar views, Mr. Rafeeque Ahmed, President of Federation of Indian Exporters Organization (FIEO), said there is greater scope for Indian textiles in China. read more.

* Arvind Limited’s textile business witnessing strong growth:

Arvind Limited, one of the largest integrated textile and branded apparel players recorded Revenue of Rs. 1157 crores and Net Profit After tax of Rs. 32 crores for the quarter ended on 30th June 2012 as against Revenue of Rs. 1211 crores and Net Profit After tax of Rs. 61 crores for the previous quarter ended on 30th June 2011. At the operating level, consolidated EBIDTA for the Quarter stood at Rs. 129 crores.The financial performance for the Quarter is not comparable with that of previous Quarter ended 30th June 2011, on account of the Company’s operations for the getting affected on account of one-time event of strike of workmen in the month of June 2012.
Despite reduction in selling prices by 10%-14% in various textile products, caused by fall in cotton prices, revenue for Q1 was strong on account of robust growth in textile volumes and 9 % increase in revenue of brand & retail business. read more.

* Tommy Hilfiger, Promod SAS file for single-brand retail investment:

After Swedish furniture-maker IKEA, premium clothing and accessory brands Tommy Hilfiger and Promod have filed proposals to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) for investing in single-brand retail in the country.
While American apparel-maker Tommy Hilfiger, which currently has a JV with Arvind Fashion, has filed for an approval for foreign direct investment (FDI) upto 51% for retail trade, French fashion brand Promod SAS has sought approval under single-brand retail trade. The two brands are present in India through joint ventures at present. read more.

* Handloom industry spreads wings in villages:

With the Handloom and Textiles Department having placed its foot forward in opening handloom centers in the rural areas of Dakshina Kannada district, the handloom industry is slowly spreading its wings in the coastal region.

At a time when the human resource in coastal region is costlier compared to all other districts in the State except Bangalore, the success of the handloom industry which is basically dependent on the human resource is in question.
For majority of the lower income group women in the district, beedi rolling is the most preferred job. The beedi business which entered the region four decades back, turned out to be a gift for the unemployed women.

However, the impact of beedi rolling on health too was realised with the passing days, which has made a few women to shift their attention from beedi rolling to other jobs like that of handloom industry.
The Handloom and Textile Industry has been running handloom training centers in Kuthlur in Belthangady taluk, Bannadka in Moodbidri, Mudipu in Mangalore, Dasanakaje in Sullia and in Kukkujadka. read more.

* Small firms feel slowdown pinch, cut jobs:

Keshav Dewangan, a third-generation handloom worker, recently lost his job as a textile power loom unit operator in Raigarh (Chhattisgarh) The reason: the recent slowdown in the US and Europe and its cascading effect on India’s textile sector. Dewangan had never imagined that something called “slowdown” would hit the unit so badly and make him jobless.

“We never heard that due to some economic problem far abroad, our power loom unit here have to bear the brunt,” Dewangan told HT.
According to a latest Labour Bureau report, employment contracted in handloom and powerloom, leather, metal, gems and jewellery segments, mainly dominated by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), due to various factors, with slowdown at the forefront (see graphics).
Another report prepared by the Apparel Export Promotion Council has mentioned that the textile sector has been hit hard due to slowdown, with a large number of people losing jobs in last two years.  read more.

* No contradiction between anti-outsourcing cry and efforts to boost ties with India- US:

The US sees no contradiction in President Barack Obama’s election year rhetoric against outsourcing of jobs to India and its efforts to forge a stronger strategic partnership with New Delhi.

“It’s very important for America to get our economy on track. And we’re always looking for opportunities to promote American business and American jobs,” a senior State Department official told the foreign media Friday.

“As a way of promoting American business and American jobs, we’re always looking to advance free trade opportunities and to develop the kind of important trade relationships like the one with India, which I think can be beneficial to both countries,” said Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Mike Hammer.
“And the key here is to lower barriers, to ensure that there’s a free and fair and level playing field so that, again, both countries can compete and look to see how best to promote sort of economic growth and business opportunities,” Hammer said.
read more.

* Dip in orders force SMEs to cut IT spending:

With the global meltdown taking a toll on outsourcing of work in sectors like manufacturing, engineering, pharma and textiles, the economic scenario has also taken a toll on information technology (IT) spending among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Gujarat.

As per industry sources, spending on hardware, software and other network solutions among SMEs in the state has come down by 50 per cent.
“SMEs form 40 per cent of our total business in Gujarat, followed by government, industry and small office home office (SOHO) segments at 30, 25 and 5 per cent, respectively. Among these, SMEs have seen the highest impact from the slowdown. This has discouraged them to budget enough on IT infrastructure,” said KJ Thakker, president of Ahmedabad Computer Manufacturers’ Association (ACMA). read more.

* Textile min to regulate cotton exports:

The textiles ministry wants to regulate cotton exports and export registration to better manage supply, demand and prices in the domestic market.

The ministry has written to the ministry of commerce and to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on this issue. Sources said the proposal had been endorsed by the minister of textiles, Anand Sharma, who also holds the commerce portfolio. DGFT has cited instances of mismanagement of export registration, raised by cotton associations. read more.

* Domestic shortage forces mills to ship in more cotton:

Faced with a shortage in the domestic market, textile mills have contracted about 10-11 lakh bales (a bale is 170 kgs) of cotton mostly from West Africa for imports. This is more than double the average cotton imports in the past few years.

“We are importing as there is a shortage of cotton (in the local market),” said S Dinakaran, chairman, Southern India Mills’ Association ( SIMA). Mills are importing cotton at 76 cents to 83 cents a pound, which is lower than domestic prices, said Ashok Damji Daga, director, Indian Cotton Federation.

Mills have said the shortage is due to the huge increase in cotton exports in the current season (October-September). Exports have crossed 120 lakh bales this season compared to the estimate of 85 lakh bales made by the Cotton Advisory Board, a body that has representatives from the government, trade and industry.

Textile mills are importing cotton that is mainly used for spinning yarn of coarser counts, officials said. “The quality of Indian cotton is much better.” Overseas sellers are offering lines of credit for 3-6 months. Cotton consumption by the mill sector is estimated to be around 20 lakh bales a month during the current season. The overall consumption is expected to be about 260-265 lakh bales. read more.

* Govt in talks with 3 Japanese cos to modernise textile sector:

To boost foreign direct investment (FDI) in the textiles sector and bring in sophisticated technology, the government is in talks with three Japanese companies including Juki Corporation, Toyota Corporation and Toray Industries.

Senior textile ministry officials said talks are on with Juki for setting up a spinning unit in India, and with Toyota for a shuttle-less looms plant. Similarly, discussion are taking place with Toray for investment in the country’s synthetic textiles sector.

“We had a meeting in Tokyo with foreign investors. We want them to come to India and invest,” textiles secretary Kiran Dhingra told FE after a recent visit to Tokyo to promote domestic textile industry and seek business opportunities with Japanese companies. read more.

* More Tempests in the Making?:

Even as the headwinds against the Indian economy get stronger, there are 4 major sectors that are even more vulnerable than others. Urgent and bold policy interventions are needed to prevent these very crucial sectors from becoming terminally sick. These four sectors include textile, retail, aviation, and telecom.
The textile (and clothing) sector remains the largest industrial employer for the country, and accounts for more than US$ 75 billion in economic output including over US$ 25 billion in merchandise exports in 2011.
With cotton being one of the major cash crops in the agriculture sector, the criticality for India to have a very healthy textile sector becomes even more acute. Yet, few textile companies have a balance sheet healthy enough to undertake fresh expansion of capacity.
Weak balance sheets of textile companies also discourage entry of new players into this otherwise very promising sector. Of all the industrial sectors that have suffered the maximum on account of flawed government policy,
Textile is on the very top.
Indian textile industry has the potential to equal that of China in the coming decade, and touch US$ 200 – 250 Billion in economic output by 2020 and directly employ over 25 million. However, to do so, it would need over US$ 100 Billion in fresh investment in the next 10 years. Unless the government comes up with a policy that can facilitate fresh equity creation rather than only subsidized debt), this quantum of investment will simply not happen. read more.

19:15:11 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* May exports, imports fall; trade gap grows 2.1%:

 Sri Lanka’s exports in the month of May fell 15.1 percent year-on-year (YoY) to US$ 710 million, while imports also slowed down 6.4 percent YoY to US$ 1.5 billion, the data released by the Central Bank showed.

As a result of the easing of imports, the trade balance grew only 2.1 percent YoY to US$ 865 million.
The tea export earnings during the month of May dropped 7.3 percent YoY to US$ 109 million, while earnings from rubber products also fell 18 percent YoY to US$ 64.1 million.

The textile export earnings for the month of May too fell 13.5 percent YoY to US$ 322 million.
“With respect to earnings from exports, declining global prices of some major commodities mainly contributed to the lower earnings from industrial exports, which recorded a decline of 16.2 percent in May 2012,” the Central Bank said.
It also noted that the decline in export earnings from textiles and garments was mainly due to lower export prices, reflecting lower cotton prices in the international market. read more.

18:45:11 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Increased arrivals push down cotton prices:

Increased seedcotton (Kapas/Phutti) arrivals, particularly from Punjab for the new crop (August 2012-July 2013) together with lower advice from the New York cotton futures market (ICE) have slumped domestic cotton prices this week in the ready market.
Thus our lint market is quite weak and subdued at present. However, a positive factor being reported is that the quality of cotton being received by the mills is good.

Seedcotton (Kapas/Phutti) prices decreased by Rs 50 to Rs 100 per 40 Kgs in Sindh, while in the Punjab they are said to have gone down by Rs 300 to Rs 400 per 40 Kgs. from the beginning of this week. Lint prices fell by Rs 300 to Rs 350 per maund (37.32 Kgs) in Sindh this week, while in the Punjab they reportedly fell by Rs 350 to Rs 400 per maund in an easy more.

* Cotton export orders in jeopardy:

Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) fears that Pakistan may lose raw cotton export following the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan’s (TDAP) inability to start registration of export contracts.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association Executive Member Ihsanul-Haq said that TDAP had not started registration of raw cotton export contracts which may result in Pakistan losing opportunity to export to destinations including India.|
“We were expecting that cotton exports will jump after early record production,” he said adding that delay in export had also caused lowering prices of commodity in local markets. read more.

18:45:11 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Uzbek Rights Activist Murdered:

Colleagues point finger at government for death of Akromhoja Muhitdinov, who worked on child labour and farmers’ rights.

A human rights defender in Uzbekistan has died after being stabbed in the street in Tinchlik, 40 kilometres from the capital Tashkent.
Akromhoja Muhitdinov, 59, died on July 25, in the ambulance taking him to hospital. His wife says he was set upon by three individuals who assaulted and abused him. He was then stabbed several times.

Prosecutors in Yangiyul district have launched a criminal case and are questioning eyewitnesses.
Other members in Uzbekistan’s beleaguered human rights community believe this was no random attack, and that Muhitdinov was deliberately targeted for his work.
“We cannot rule out that this tireless campaigner for human rights and justice had become an irritant to the authorities and other corrupt individuals,” said Yelena Urlaeva, leader of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan, the group Muhitdinov worked with. “This provocation, and the murder of Akromhoja, were clearly deliberate.”
|Local and international rights groups have documented numerous cases where dissidents and human rights defenders have been attacked in the street by people acting as proxies for the security service. read more.

map of Asia

* Government weighs social insurance reforms

* Low tariff encourages export, but technical barriers keep goods inaccessible

* Industrial Intelligence
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* International Federation of Human Rights visits Somyot
* Labour costs, shortage worry companies

* Indonesian Companies Given One Week Before Idul Fitri to Pay Bonuses
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* Workers demand ILO to activate labor law

* Unrest in RMG sector before Eid feared
* Fresh unrest may flare up if owners fail to pay bonus, wages before Eid
* Labour leaders demand early payment for workers
* Apparel workers besiege factory for pay
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* Woven garment crowned as biggest export earner, again
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* B’desh assures garment importers of solving workers issues
* No Ticfa, no market access- Mozena
* Urge US Congress for GSP- US envoy

* India to export textiles to Iran, CIS countries
* This ‘innovation’ is unfair to workers
* Muneer visits Comtrust factory
* Textile merchants meet CM over VAT imposition
* Indian govt promoting textile exports in newer markets
* Arvind Limited’s textile business witnessing strong growth
* Tommy Hilfiger, Promod SAS file for single-brand retail investment
* Handloom industry spreads wings in villages
* Small firms feel slowdown pinch, cut jobs
* No contradiction between anti-outsourcing cry and efforts to boost ties with India- US
* Dip in orders force SMEs to cut IT spending
* Textile min to regulate cotton exports
* Domestic shortage forces mills to ship in more cotton
* Govt in talks with 3 Japanese cos to modernise textile sector
* More Tempests in the Making?

* May exports, imports fall; trade gap grows 2.1%

* Increased arrivals push down cotton prices
* Cotton export orders in jeopardy

* Uzbek Rights Activist Murdered

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

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2