in the news on-line, 30 july 2012

20:56:13 local time map of china CHINA

* Economic slowdown in coastal provinces forces migrant workers to go home:

 At Shenzhen Railway Station, migrant workers, young and old, men and women, can be seen sleeping on the sidewalk, surrounded by their luggage, waiting for the train home.

Observers in Guangdong have said large numbers of small and medium-sized factories have closed their production lines, leading to a very noticeable migration of workers back to their home towns, especially workers over the age of 45, who are at a disadvantage when they try to find a new job.

A report issued by the Guangdong Development and Reform Committee in late July said that owing to insufficient demand, rising costs and financial difficulties, the total profit of those enterprises in the province with annual sales over two million yuan had plummeted by 19 percent in the first five months this year. Labour demand from the 100 enterprises surveyed had fallen by 11 percentage points, adding to employment pressure, it said.

In Zhejiang too, sluggish international trade has forced small and medium sized factories to scale back their workforce or even close their business. In the first half of this year, Zhejiang’s exports increased by just 5.2 percent, compared with 22.3 percent growth in the same period last year, according to Hangzhou Customs. The latest official survey showed that 140 enterprises had closed in the manufacturing centre of Wenzhou alone. read more.

* ‘Designed-in-China’ fashion goes abroad:

 YOUNG fashion company Seven Days based in Minhang recently opened an outlet in Florence, Italy, trying to take a new message to foreign consumer: “Made in China” is becoming “Designed in China.”

For three decades, parent Xintianlong Group turned out clothing for global labels, like Armani and Zara.
After the global financial crisis, when Xintianlong lost almost half its normal orders, the company joined the growing ranks of Chinese manufacturers trying to salvage profit and move up the value chain by developing their own brands.
“In fact, even before the economic downturn, we were aware of new opportunities,” said Zhang Longjiang, director of Seven Days. “In 2007, we sold US$2 million of fabrics to a top brand in Europe, and later discovered that finished pants made from those fabrics were sold for more than 100 million euros (US$122.4 million).”

There’s no profit sitting in the shadows, Zhang said.
“Hillary Clinton wore suits made of our fabric during the 2008 presidential campaign, but no one knew Xintianlong at all,” he said. read more.

20:56:13 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Rescuing Remnants:

Meeting an acquaintance from my years in the Department of Trade and Industry and the Board of Investments, my immediate question was, “Are you still in the garments business?”
I had known of the ups and downs of the industry and had witnessed the exodus of garments and textile companies (some of which I had the honor to officiate in their plant inauguration) to Thailand, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.  Bennett Yap’s confident reply was “Still there. Still fighting not just to survive but to prosper.”

Looking at the industry statistics he provided, I gleaned that while Philippine garment exports steadily declined from $2.6 billion in 2006 to just $1.1 billion in 2009, it began to rise to $1.2 billion in 2010 and $1.5 billion in 2011.  These exports are mostly coming from orders of global brands, trading houses and buying offices, conversant with the global and industry structures and adept in price shopping.

I could see why Bennett used the terms, “still fighting” considering the tough competition given by our Asian neighbors.  In daily labor costs, the Philippine picture is NCR – $9.36-$10.21; Regions IV – $5.83-$8.00, V -$5.21 -$5.77 and VII – $6.38-$7.55 compared to Bangladesh-$1.53, Cambodia -$2.03, China – $3.99-$7.87, Indonesia – $2.93 -$5.35, Sri Lanka – $2.50, Thailand – $6.92 -$9.36 and Vietnam $2.20 -$3.14.

Yet the Philippines has a law complete with Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), the Barangay Enterprise Law that exempts these micro and small enterprises from the mandated wages levels, provides income tax exemptions and other benefits, which if implemented could help absorb the high levels of unemployed Filipinos in the cited regions.
Just like many legislated laws, it remains largely unimplemented because the local government has not undertaken a determined effort to register such enterprises.  Is it because they fear the loss of local taxes?  Is it because they are too busy spending the largesse from their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA)?
The governors and mayors should wake up to the reality of the unemployed in their midst that should not just be sent like fodder to the Middle East and now even to Africa but should be provided job opportunities in local communities where they can earn and strengthen the family bonds which keep a society united, peaceful and progressive. read more.

19:56:13 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Shoe export contracts dry up:

While footwear was the nation’s third leading export earner in the first half of the year, exporters remain concerned about the lack of new export orders beyond the third quarter, according to Viet Nam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso) chairman Nguyen Duc Thuan.

Exports of footwear products in the first six months of the year surged to US$3.4 billion, 25 per cent over the same period a year ago, with EU markets accounting for US$1.55 billion of the total and exports to the $806 million, the Kinh te & Do thi (Economy and Urban Affairs) reports.

However, Thuan said, only a few producers, including the Dong Hung, An Lac, Binh Tien, Truong Loi and Lien Phat companies, have sufficient contracts in place and have not had to cut production.

Representatives from footwear exporter Thuong Dinh said negotiations for export prices were problematic as customers, particularly in the EU, were seeking lower prices due to sagging consumer demand.

The EU, US and Japan were also imposing stricter requirements pertaining to quality and environmental and social responsibilities which have been difficult for domestic exporters to meet, Thuan said. Local producers, he noted, have also been slow in responding to changing export markets. read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 30/7 (3rd item).

19:56:13 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Ecco to open new factory in Saraburi:

Ecco, the Danish shoe manufacturer, has confirmed its commitment to Thailand by investing in a new factory in Saraburi province.

The move comes amid discussions on whether it will maintain operations in Ayutthaya’s flood-prone Saha Rattana Nakorn Industrial Estate.
James Phillips, the managing director of Ecco (Thailand), said the new factory in Saraburi is scheduled to be completed in September 2013.
The 55-rai plot in Hemaraj Industrial Estate is 5.5 metres above sea level and fenced in by a dyke that adds an additional three metres of buffering.
Ecco’s website says land in Saraburi has never flooded. read more.

19:56:13 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Bonus bump too low- union :

Free Trade Union president Chea Mony speaks to disgruntled factory workers during a protest outside the Medtec factory in Kampong Cham province in February. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Free Trade Union president Chea Mony met yesterday with representatives of more than 70 unions from 35 factories to reject the US$7 travel and accommodation allowance and the extra $3 attendance bonus approved by the Ministry of Labour recently, and to threaten mass strikes if the figures aren’t revised upward, union officials said.

Mony said that the July 11 offer from the ministry’s Labour Advisory Committee – which is to take effect on September 1 – was simply too low, citing rising costs facing workers, and suggested bilateral talks with the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia to discuss workers’ benefits.

“I want to confirm that the decision of the labour council still has problems, and makes it difficult for the workers because it is too low,” he said.

Mony maintained that the council’s offer should hew closer to a recent settlement in Bavet, in which workers were offered a transport and accommodation bonus of up to $10 per month, and up to $10 a month for attendance, as well as holiday pay.

“I sent a letter to GMAC to discuss more demands for workers’ benefits, and we will hold a big strike if there’s no solution.” read more.

* Tai Yang strikers fed a lie- GMAC :

The five-week strike at the Tai Yang and Camwell garment factories in Kandal province is based on a lie and the union behind it is illegal, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia has said.

In a statement issued on Saturday, GMAC secretary-general Ken Loo said Tai Yang did not change its name to Tai Nan in 2010 – an accusation that has led to workers striking since June 25 – and says the government and GMAC have documents proving it.

“All three factories [Tai Yang, Camwell and Tai Nan] have been members of GMAC since their date of incorporation and continue to be members of GMAC today,” the statement says.

Loo said the Cambodian Confederation of Unions was “an illegitimate organisation not recognised by any government department” that had misled workers with a “false accusation” about unpaid seniority benefits.
read more.

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:

1. Bonus bump too low- union. read more.
2. Tai Yang strikers fed a lie- GAMAC. read more.

20:56:13 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Preserving Toraja textiles:

Dinny Jusuf does not hail from South Sulawesi’s Toraja ethnic group but she is nevertheless driven to preserving the Toraja’s tenun woven cloth, encouraging women in the region to continue weaving and the younger generation to don the traditional clothing.

Danny Parura, a Toraja native, recalled the time when the people in his grandfather’s hamlet in Toraja wore sarongs made of tenun on a daily basis in the 1970s.
“The men wore sarongs and headbands, while the women dressed in sarongs and sepu [a small pouch for keeping betel vine]. They didn’t put on anything to cover their feet,” Danny says.
is also worn during traditional ceremonies like weddings and funerals. The cloth comes in various hues and motifs, which carry different meanings and philosophies. “The motifs and colors represent social status,” said the 49-year-old.
read more.

19:26:13 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* US import ban hurting Myanmar people – ICG report:

 A US ban on all Myanmar imports is stifling key job-creating areas of the economy such as the garment industry rather than hurting the interests of the corrupt elite it targets, a report said on Friday.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank said Myanmar’s reform process had challenged “the dominance” of crony businessmen, who flourished under the disbanded junta, and nudged the economy towards greater openness at the expense of some key hardliners.

But it warned that renewing the US import embargo, due to lapse this year, “could have a serious impact on Myanmar’s economic recovery.”
The ban is skewing the nation’s economy toward “potentially problematic” extractive industries at the expense of sectors that employ large numbers of ordinary people, it said.

Industries such as oil, gas and gem mining have long been linked with corruption in resource-rich but poor Myanmar and also raise fears over environmental damage.
“At this stage in the reform process, it is indeed hard to see how retention by the US of its import ban could in any way serve the interests of the Myanmar people or assist the democratization process,” the ICG said. read more. & read more.

18:56:13 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Investors hate instability:

No Ticfa, no duty-free access: Mozena
Political instability, investment uncertainty, corruption concerns and inadequate infrastructure are the major challenges ahead to attract foreign direct investment to Bangladesh, US Ambassador Dan Mozena said on Saturday, reports UNB.

“Investors hate (political) instability…investors hate uncertainty. These are all serious constraints…it’s hard to invest here…it’s very hard,” he told a business discussion in the city citing examples of some ‘critical interventions’ at local level.
Mozena, however, thinks that these problems are solvable. “I believe, change and growth are possible and doable but someone has to lead the way in tackling and overcoming the various obstacles. Bangladesh can be a premium destination for investment.”
On duty-free access of Bangladeshi products in the US market, Mozena said Bangladesh needs to create a climate favourable to Bangladesh in Washington to avail of the facility. read more. & read more.

* Conspiracies against RMG sector to be tackled unitedly- BGMEA:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Sunday expressed deep concern over ‘conspiracies’ to destroy the country’s export-oriented RMG sector.

Addressing a BGMEA Iftar party at Army Golf Club in the city,  association president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said, “Reactionary and vested quarters at national and international levels have been trying to destroy the sector through conspiracies.”
He cautioned that any such conspiracy will be tackled through united efforts of the workers and owners. “I believe, garment owners and workers will work together to safeguard the RMG sector.” read more.

* Knitwear factory fined Tk 47.32 lakh in Gazipur:

The Department of Environment (DoE) fined a knitwear factory Tk. 47.32 lakh in the district town for running without setting Effluent Treatment Plants (ETP) and obtaining clearance certificate from the department on Sunday.

A team led by M Munir Chowdhury, director (Enforcement) of the department, conducted the drive at Bhabanipur Baniar Chala area and found that BG (Bangladesh Garments) Collection Ltd had been running without ETP for four years, discharging untreated water into the river Turag and setting up the factory without environment clearance certificate.
The director handed down the verdict to the managing director of the company and asked to stop all illegal activities immediately. to read.

18:26:13 local time map of india INDIA

* Smart card for labourers in West Bengal:

Now, smart card for labourers engaged in the 100 day work scheme across the state. This is a pet project of the chief minister Mamata Banerjee who on Thursday launched the project in Kolkata.

Apart from the labourers engaged in 100 days work, all other labourers in the unorganized sector will be given smart cards in phases to enable them reap several benefits of the social security system.
In the first phase, these cards would be distributed to labourers engaged in construction and transport industries. In the next phase, such cards would be issued to other labourers too. However, benefits will be given to those labourers who are registered with the state government’s provident fund scheme meant for labourers in the unorganized sector. Though this is an ongoing project, the Trinamool Congress-run state government has modified the project, claimed state labour minister Purnendu Bose.

How does the card look like? It will have a 32 KB electronic memory chip. Each card will also have an unique identification number. The card will have information about its users in both Bengali and English. read more.

* 52-week flop: S. Kumars Nationwide:

Textile stocks have cut a sorry figure on the bourses in the wake of yo-yoing cotton policies, polyester prices, heavy debt and a worsening market at home and overseas.
The stock of S. Kumars Nationwide has lost over half its value in the past year. An exit of the scrip from the futures market last week fuelled the decline — the stock plummeted 20 per cent last week.

The promoter group had, by end-June 2012, pledged almost all its shares; pledged shares as a proportion to total promoter holding stood at 83 per cent in June 2011. The increased pledging now added to volatility worries. read more.

* SME exporters enjoy high operating margins:

 Exporters in the small and medium enterprise (SME) space earn higher operating profit margins (OPMs) compared to their peers, which cater only to the domestic market.
This was revealed by a CRISIL SME Rating analysis. The key findings of this study indicated that a larger proportion of SME exporters have OPMs of more than 10 per cent than their counterparts selling in the domestic market.

For the study, more than 1,800 SMEs in agricultural and processed foods, engineering, leather, and textiles sector were analysed. The SME exporters chosen for the study derive at least 25 per cent of their turnover from exports and are net exporters.
In all the four sectors (agricultural and processed foods, engineering, leather, and textiles), a larger proportion of SME exporters have OPMs of more than 10 per cent than their counterparts selling in the domestic markets. Similarly, with regard to agricultural and processed food and leather sectors, a larger proportion of SME exporters have OPMs of more than 5 per cent in comparison to their peers serving only local markets, most of whom have OPMs of less than 5 per cent.
The analysis of SMEs in the textile sector reveals that exporters have reported OPMs which are marginally better in comparison to their peers, serving local customers. This variation could be driven by the fact that a sizeable proportion of these exporters are garment manufacturers, who undertake contract manufacturing for global merchandisers/brands and face intense competition on pricing from players in other countries having cheaper labour, such as Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. read more.

* Organic textile exports to touch Rs 1,500 cr in FY13:

New certification norm will help boost demand, says industry body APEDA

India’s organic textile exports are expected to rise by 50% to about Rs 1,500 crore in 2012-13 with the introduction of a new national certification standard, according to Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Authority.

During 2011-12, these exports were Rs 1,027 crore, according to the data provided by the APEDA.
The certification standard called National Organic Textile Standards (NOTS), which would be introduced on Monday, would help boost demand for organic textiles products as well as benefit local producers and the environment, APEDA Chairman Asit Tripathy said.

“This aims at having uniform standards which are recognised overseas mainly in major markets such as Europe, Germany and Japan,” APEDA Chairman Asit Tripathy said.
The move would result in greater acceptance for Indian organic products in these markets, he added. read more.

* Tuticorin engineer weaves silk from banana plants:

Soon, one may be able to wear their favourite silk saris, dhoties and shirts that are spun not of a silkworm thread, but from the banana plant, which can be easily separated using the banana yarn separator.

Invented by a Tuticorin-based mechanical engineer, K Murugan, the banana yarn separator machine was granted the patent in July 2012 after a six-year long wait. According to him, the large quantity of banana fibres that went waste in his hometown of Tuticorin prompted him to try to find a solution to use this product. The machine took shape after failing 40 times and in 2006, it bagged the LRamp award of excellence given by the IIT-Madras.

“The banana plant is one where almost every part has a use. The fibres from the plant are used to tie garlands and string flowers, the leaves are used for eating, the fruits and flowers are consumed and even the inner most part of the stem is edible and has rich medicinal properties. But, I have seen the plants being cut after the fruit is harvested and allowed to rot. This disturbed me, because it was not the best way to dispose it,” he said. 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.

In all likelihood, cotton would be taken off the open general licence (OGL) in the ensuing season, commencing from October. The commerce ministry had put cotton under OGL in 2011 for the cotton season ending September 2012.

This is in the wake of spike in cotton prices in the domestic market. In the domestic market, cotton prices are currently at Rs 37,000-38,000 a candy (a candy is 356 kg of cotton). Indian cotton mills have already contracted 10 million bales for imports and around three to four million bales have already been imported in last two-three months. read more.

* Farmers condemn demands for regulating cotton export:

Farmers’ community has slammed the demands of the industrial fraternity for regulating the export of cotton and cotton yarn in the wake of increasing prices of raw cotton in the domestic market during the last 10 days, terming the requisitions as ‘selfish’.

Recently, the South India Hosiery Manufacturers Association (SIHMA) had made a representation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking regulation in the exports of both cotton as well as cotton yarn citing the crisis faced by the industry owing to reduction in profit margins because of various reasons.
The Association, in the memorandum, had also attributed the crisis in the sector to the retrograde steps of the Central Government. read more.

* Knitwear rejuvenation programme held:

An event with a tinge of novelty. That was ‘Resilient Tirupur’, a knitwear rejuvenation programme organised by NIFT-TEA Knitwear Institute here on Saturday by bringing together entire spectrum of Tirupur knitwear cluster and also senior bureaucrats under one roof probably for the first time.

The event, conceptualised by NIFT-TEA Institute and supported by 16 leading textile associations as well as forums like Tirupur Industrial Protection Committee, became a holistic initiative in which the different stakeholders sat together to analyse the defects in the past and came out with steps to rejuvenate the export potential of Tirupur cluster.

The deliberations brought to light some of the commonest flaws that had happened in the production chain for the past many years which if rectified at appropriate time could have saved many crores of rupees for the entrepreneurs.
Main among the shortcomings were wastage of fabric owing to adoption of primitive methods used to write its specifications on it, delays in shipping garments owing to lethargy in sticking to schedules and opting for wrong export credit schemes.
read more.

* Move to extend separate line of credit to weavers:

The government is considering providing separate line of credit to weavers as part of its plans to revive the handloom sector and firm up series of initiatives for the welfare of weavers.

As part of the 3 R scheme- Revival, Reform and Restructuring the handloom sector- announced by Union Finance Minister in his budget speech and later approved by the Centre, the Department of Textiles and Handlooms is formulating proposals to extend help to the weaver community on par with the farmers.

Some of the key proposals include providing a direct line of credit to the weavers on the lines of AP Cooperative Bank extending loans to the farmers. And also to open bank accounts for the weavers so as to reach the concessions meant for them directly to their accounts. For instance, input subsidy was released to farmers through their bank accounts. read more.

* Five more textile mills down shutter in Surat:

The textile processing sector in the country’s biggest man-made fabric hub in Surat is on the verge of collapse. Five more textile dyeing and printing mills in Pandesara and Khatodara areas have closed down in the past few days taking the total number of closed mills to 35.

The poor condition of textile processing sector is on an account of a sharp increase of about 10 to 15 per cent in the raw material prices such as chemical and dyes and other input cost like electricity, natural gas, coal, the unavailability of skilled textile labourers due to NAREGA scheme and the dwindling demand of polyester fabrics from the domestic and international markets.
Surat’s textile sector contributes to roughly 40 per cent of the finished fabric demand in the more.

18:26:13 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* ‘Hiring ban’ on nine firms by SL embassy:

Sri Lankan embassy in Muscat has blacklisted nine companies and suspended operations with 14 companies in Oman for allegedly “cheating- its country’s workers. Currently, there are about 25,000 Sri Lankan nationals in Oman.

According to documents available with Times of Oman, the embassy has blacklisted seven garment manufacturers and exporters and two other companies while operations with three garment manufacturers and exporters, four recruitment firms, three marketing companies and four other companies have been suspended for violating Oman’s labour laws.

Most of these companies and factories are based outside Muscat. “These companies were blacklisted or operations with such companies were suspended by Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment in Colombo on recommendations made by the embassy following several complaints against them,- said Asoka Girihagama (in picture), Sri Lankan Ambassador to the Sultanate.

Speaking to Times of Oman, the ambassador said that the complaints against these companies include non-payment of wages, maltreatment of workers and unauthorised deduction of salaries. read more.

17:56:13 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Two faint in garments factory fire:

Two persons fainted while valuables worth millions were reduced to ashes in two fire incidents in the provincial capital.

Rescue 1122 and police said blaze in both the incidents erupted due to short-circuit.
In the first incident, a huge fire broke out in a garments factory near Rehman Villas, Bhatta Chowk, late on Friday. Razia and Irfan fainted due to the fire and were taken to Jinnah Hospital. Valuables worth millions also reduced to ashes.
The fire, which also caused the roof of a room collapsed, burnt garments and machinery.
Defence A police said fire-fighters brought the blaze under control after six hours.
In the second incident, a portion of Metro Super Store near Thokar Niaz Beg caught fire which was controlled within minutes.The fire broke out after sparks in an air-conditioner. read more.

* Sports goods export up 0.47pc in FY12:

The exports of sports goods from the country during last financial year (2011-12) registered 0.47 percent growth as against the same period of last year.
The overall exports of sports goods from the country reached to $331.542 million during 2011-12 against the exports of US $ 329.999 million recorded during previous year (2010-11).

According the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the export of footballs increased by 8.13 percent by going up from US $ 143.403 million to US $ 155.060 million.
However, the exports of gloves decreased from US $ 123.650 million to US $ 112.214 million, registering negative growth of 9.25 percent.
Exports of all other sports goods witnessed increase of 2.10 percent by growing from US $ 62.946 million to US $ 64.267 million, the data revealed. read more.

* Increase in minimum wages for 41 industries proposed:

The Sindh Minimum Wages Board on Friday proposed an increase in wages proportionally by 14.2 percent with effect from July 1, 2012, of all other categories of workers.

The categories include skilled, semi-skilled and highly skilled workers employed in 41 categories of industries as specified in Sindh Labour Department’s notifications numbers (SO(L-II)-13-4/78 dated 15th Nov, 2010 and SO(L-II)-13-22-2007 dated 13th Jan, 2012).

The categories are: Auto Workshop & Garages; Bidi Binding Industry; Brick Kiln Industry; Bus Body Building Industry; Cement Industry; Ceramic Industry; Cotton Ginning and Pressing Industry; Chemical and other chemical Industry; Construction Industry; Cycle Industry; Electric Appliances Industry; Flour Milling Industry; Food Industry; Furniture and Wood Industry; Glass Industry; Hotel Industry; Iron steel and Fabricated Metal Industry; Machine made Carpet Industry; Machinery Industry; Paints and Varnish Industry; Paper Product Industry; Petroleum Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry; Plastic Industry; Printing Press Industry; Ready Made Garments Industry; Rice Husking Industry;

Road Transport Industry; Rubber Industry; Silk/Rayon Small units and Power loom Industry; Soap Manufacturing Industry; Sugar Industry; Tannery Industry; Textile Industry; Tobacco Industry; Transport Equipment Industry; Beverage Industry; Hosiery Industry; Leather goods and Foot wear Industry; Ice and Cold Storage Industry; and Daily Products Industry. to read.

* Value-added textile- government urged to devise policies on provincial basis:

Value-added textile manufacturers and exporters demand of the government to devise policies for industries on provincial basis as every federating unit has its different problems particularly regarding the unavailability of power of gas.

“Value-added textile industry is no more efficient export-oriented sector of the country as power and gas shortage locked its growth,” Chief Co-ordinator, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (Prgmea), Ijaz Khokhar told Business Recorder on Saturday.

The value-added textile industry now needs a different government’s approach for its outstanding issues especially the gas and electricity ones, he said, adding the manufacturing units in Punjab were faced with an acute shortage of electricity. He said the industrial units just received six to eight hours of electricity in 24 hours a day, adding “the power and gas crisis curbed the industrial growth in the country and the productions of export-oriented sectors are now stagnant”. read more.

* Cotton market: prices resist sharp fall amid thin trade; phutti arrivals slow down:

Thin trade was witnessed on cotton market on Saturday in process of slow phutti arrivals, dealers said. The official spot rate was unchanged at Rs 5600, they said. In the ready business over 3,500 bales of cotton changed hands between Rs 5525-5700, they said.

Fall in Phutti arrivals pushed up prices of seedscotton, in Sindh low type was up by Rs 25 at Rs 2625 and best quality was higher by Rs 50 to Rs 2675, in the Punjab rates went up by Rs 200 at Rs 2300 2600, they added. Commenting on the thin business Naseem Usman said that phutti arrivals have almost halted, which may push up rates in the coming days. In the meantime, rain in the cotton areas are necessary as cotton growers are hoping for light showers in the near future, which will be beneficial for the standing crop. read more.

* Raw cotton export touches all-time high level:

With a substantial growth of over 78 per cent, raw cotton export has reached all time high mark of 1.66 million bales at the end of last fiscal year 2011-2012 (FY12) mainly due to bumper cotton crop in the country and high demand in the world market.
Exporters told Business Recorder on Saturday said that bumper cotton crop during the last cotton season has supported to post all time high export.

While cheap availability of cotton in the domestic market and high demand on international front has also contributed to achieve this milestone. In term of volume, Pakistan has exported some 1.66 million bales during last fiscal year as against 0.937 million bales in fiscal year 2010-2011, showing an increase of 77.8 percent or 0.729 million. In term of dollar, raw cotton export has registered a healthy growth of over 26.65 per cent at the end of last fiscal year. The country has exported raw cotton worth $462 million in FY12 compared to $365 million in FY11, depicting an increase of $97 million. read more.

17:56:13 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Uzbek human rights activist fear facing fate of murdered colleague:

Following the murder of human rights activist Akromhodzha Mukhitdinov, his colleagues from the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (HRAU) are perturbed that this may happen to each of them.

“Not only me, but many of my colleagues are all shocked and fear because each of us may face this risk,” HRAU leader Elena Urlayeva has said.

According to her, on 26 July she and her husband even thought about leaving the country, but the stupor passed soon, and today HRAU activists are planning to discuss future ways of fighting for their lives and against the hateful regime in Uzbekistan.

The human rights activists’ plan is to send an appeal to the European Union and various international organisations telling about the contract killing of their colleague and to call on them to address the dire situation surrounding human rights in Uzbekistan and the constant threat to the lives of human rights defenders.
read more.

* “Written Plan” Saves Uzbekistan on Trafficking Report:

The State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report has been released and Uzbekistan pulled a Tier 2 Watchlist ranking again. Here’s the key passage from the report on why Uzbekistan gets to stay at Tier 2 Watchlist for the fifth consecutive year rather than dropping down to Tier 3:

The Government of Uzbekistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government has not shown evidence of increasing efforts to address human trafficking over the previous year; therefore, Uzbekistan is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a fifth consecutive year. Uzbekistan was granted a waiver of an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is devoting sufficient resources to implement that plan.

The report methodology explains that a 2008 amendment to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) requires downgrades for countries who fail to progress from Tier 2 Watchlist to Tier 2 in a two consecutive year period. That requirement went into effect last year, and the Secretary of State can waiver the downgrade twice, meaning this should be Uzbekistan’s last free downgrade. read more.

map of Asia

* Economic slowdown in coastal provinces forces migrant workers to go home
* ‘Designed-in-China’ fashion goes abroad

* Rescuing Remnants

* Shoe export contracts dry up

* Ecco to open new factory in Saraburi

* Bonus bump too low- union
* Tai Yang strikers fed a lie- GMAC
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
1. Bonus bump too low- union
2. Tai Yang strikers fed a lie- GAMAC

* Preserving Toraja textiles

* US import ban hurting Myanmar people – ICG report

* Investors hate instability
* Conspiracies against RMG sector to be tackled unitedly
* Knitwear factory fined Tk 47.32 lakh in Gazipur

* Smart card for labourers in West Bengal
* 52-week flop: S. Kumars Nationwide
* SME exporters enjoy high operating margins
* Organic textile exports to touch Rs 1,500 cr in FY13
* Tuticorin engineer weaves silk from banana plants
* Textile min to regulate cotton exports
* Farmers condemn demands for regulating cotton export
* Knitwear rejuvenation programme held
* Move to extend separate line of credit to weavers
* Five more textile mills down shutter in Surat

* ‘Hiring ban’ on nine firms by SL embassy

* Two faint in garments factory fire
* Sports goods export up 0.47pc in FY12
* Increase in minimum wages for 41 industries proposed
* Value-added textile- government urged to devise policies on provincial basis
* Cotton market: prices resist sharp fall amid thin trade; phutti arrivals slow down
* Raw cotton export touches all-time high level

* Uzbek human rights activist fear facing fate of murdered colleague
* “Written Plan” Saves Uzbekistan on Trafficking Report

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