in the news on-line, 14 august 2012

07:18:48 local time map of chinaCHINA

* Chinese apparel makers eyeing Bangladesh as outsourcing hub:

Bangladesh”s apparel industry is likely to get a big boost as the world”s largest textile producer China has started outsourcing the job to the South Asian country due to the higher labour costs there, officials said Friday.

Local garment manufacturers said China had placed some orders for manufacturing apparel items in Bangladesh as the labour cost is cheaper here than in the world”s fastest growing economy.
Some Chinese apparel makers and top global retailers started shifting their orders to Bangladesh due to the rising labour cost in that country, said Mr. M Fazlul Hoque, former president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).

Vancl, China”s largest online apparel retailer, shifted some orders to the competent Bangladeshi textile makers late last year in an effort to cut the labour cost in the context of China”s rapidly rising production costs, sources said.
Besides, the European popular retailer H&M has also shifted some orders to Bangladesh from China because of the fast rising labour cost there. read more.

* China may not increase cotton import limit this year :

China is likely to reap bumper cotton output this year, and as such, to reduce pressure on domestic cotton stocks, the Government may not allow cotton imports beyond the limit set for the current year, the China Cotton Association (CCA) has said.

This year, though China’s cotton cultivation acreage has reduced compared to last year, the output is far better than that reaped by same time last year. Hence, the country’s cotton output, unless marred by floods in autumn affecting the crop, is expected to be enough to meet the domestic demand, CCA said, citing a report from the Cotton Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

During the first half of the current year, domestic cotton was priced around 5,248 yuan or US$ 824 per ton higher than the price of imported cotton, and hence several textile producers were prompted to import cotton. This built a pressure on domestic stocks, the report stated. read more.

06:18:48 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* ‘Target Ukraine’ exporters told:

Enterprises should pay more attention to Ukraine to increase trade and investment between the two countries, according to Viet Nam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The ministry said the Ukraine was an emerging market with a high consumption and diversification of demand, but Vietnamese enterprises had not paid attention to trade promotion activities and failed to capitalise on the Ukrainian market’s potential.Enterprises should actively promote trade activities between Viet Nam and Ukraine to gain further access to the market in the future, the ministry said.

Export value between the two countries increased year-on-year by 68.1 per cent to US$194.5 million in 2011, and in the first half of this year, it gained 47.05 per cent to $96.62 million.
According to many local enterprises, Viet Nam exported mainly farming products, footwear, and textiles and garments to the Ukraine, the ministry said. read more.

06:18:48 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Campaign to reinstate dismissed union members at Mölnlycke, Thailand continues:

IndustriALL Global Union continues to support the active campaign of its two Thai affiliates TWFT and CWUA for re-instatement of eighteen dismissed trade union activists sacked for their union activities at a subsidiary of Mölnlycke, the Swedish-based care product manufacturer.

Two affiliates of IndustriALL Global Union in Thailand, the Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation of Thailand (TWFT) and the Chemical Workers Union Alliance (CWUA) are denouncing the mass sacking of members of their joint affiliate Mölnlycke Health Care Labour Union. Since the local union was established in 2001, a number of workers have been sacked due to their active involvement in trade union activities.
Twenty-three founders and leaders of the plant-level union were dismissed in 2001 even though the Industrial Relations Committee (IRC) of Thailand ruled the sacking to be unfair and ordered the company to reinstate the workers. At a later stage, two workers were reinstated, one of whom was elected as union president who was again sacked in 2007. read more.

* Footwear industry’s focus on Asean:

Thai footwear producers and raw-material suppliers will set up new factories in Asean in the next few years, focusing to Myanmar, as exports to Southeast Asian markets strengthen amid sluggish exports to major markets such as the United States and the European Union.

Chanin Jitkomut, president of the Thai Footwear Association, said many in the industry were planning to expand into other Asean countries to ensure business growth amid falling exports to traditional markets.
“Higher labour costs and shortage of workers domestically have also encouraged footwear enterprises to invest overseas to support business growth,” he said.

Chanin explained that Thai footwear exports had fallen significantly in the past few years, particularly to the US and EU. However, shipments to Asean countries, particularly Myanmar, have jumped amid regional economic integration and significant demand as consumer incomes rise. read more.

06:18:48 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* In The Life Of A Cambodian Garment Factory Worker:

While visiting the cluster of multinational garment factories in Phnom Penh’s EPZ (Exporting processing zone or Special Economic Zone), I dropped in with a group of workers as they were sitting down to dinner after their long day (between 10-12 hours) at the factory.

In the cramped, dark (and what can only be described as) cemented shack where eight workers were living, the small ‘ensuite’ type toilet in the corner was their only source of privacy in this full house.

The workers here tell me they pay $35 per month between them for their modest accommodation, in an attempt to save their wages for essentials; things like food, gas for their motos and the money they send home to their impoverished families in the countryside every month.
These workers currently have a monthly salary of $61 and with the ever increasing price of gas, electricity and food to contend with, workers are finding it difficult to survive on one of the lowest minimum wages in the world.

“ Salary wouldn’t be a problem but things at the market are getting more expensive.” – garment factory worker

In an interview with Ath Thorn, the president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, Mr. Ath quotes subcontracting as perhaps the biggest threat to workers’ rights in this industry. These smaller factories can avoid standard inspections and compliance with basic regulations, simply because they do not directly export products to the national and international market, he states. To demonstrate just how significant subcontractors are, he compares the number of workers that work in large exporting factories (approx. 4,000), and the workers that work in subcontracting factories (approx. 1,000). Now, considering each exporting company use around twelve subcontractors per year, the number of subcontracting garment factory workers massively outweigh those workers who are protected by international labour standards. read more.

* Asian Development Bank maps Cambodia’s needs:

The private sector and industry professionals were engaged yesterday in the first consultation with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government in an effort to understand the factors affecting Cambodia’s economy, and ultimately determined that human capital, infrastructure, innovation and regulatory issues as the key areas on which to focus.

The workshop was part of a year-long study being conducted by the ADB, in conjunction with the government, to help determine the needs that should be prioritised, such as human capital, infrastructure, governance, macro- and micro-economic policy, public sector delivery, poverty and inequality, among others in the policy advice that the ADB will provide to the Cambodian government.

ADB Deputy Country Director Peter Brimble said, “This is not just a ‘growth’ diagnostic but a broader country diagnostic study, considering both the constraints to growth and to ‘inclusiveness’.
We intend to examine the extent to which the gains from growth are shared at all levels of society, to which all levels of society can contribute to growth and can seize the opportunities created, be they workers, famers, business people or youth seeing a first job. read more.

* Truck crash injures 40:

At least 40 garment-factory workers were seriously injured yesterday when the truck they were in flipped and rolled into a ditch in Svay Rieng province’s Chantrea district.

Nguon Saran, chief of staff at the Chantrea district police station, said the truck had been speeding to its Bavet town destination when it almost collided with a three-wheel motorcycle with a bed strapped to it about 6:30am.
The truck driver fled the scene. to read.

07:18:48 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Unions Call for Crackdown on Companies Not Paying THR Bonuses:

The Confederation of Indonesian Workers Unions has called on the government to crack down on companies shirking their obligation to pay workers their 13th month bonus before the end of Ramadan.

Said Iqbal, president of the confederation known as KSPI, said on Sunday that the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry must carry out spot-checks on companies to see whether they had paid out the bonuses, or THR.
He warned that many companies were avoiding the obligation by hiring workers on an outsource basis, and then terminating their contracts just a week before Idul Fitri. After the holiday, they hire them back, bypassing the obligation to pay the THR, he said.

“This happened recently at a company in Sidoarjo [in East Java],” Said said. “To date the KSPI has received 400 reports of outsourced workers being fired ahead of the Idul Fitri holiday.”
He added the real figure could be much higher, but most workers were fearful of complaining because of the risk that they would not be hired back. read more.

05:18:48 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* “Productivity to end BD garment woe”:

If the country wants to stop Western clothing brands and retailers from shifting their sourcing elsewhere, factory owners must improve productivity so they can afford higher wages and bring an end to recurrent labour unrest, industry experts believe.

“However difficult, Bangladesh has to learn to copy China,” Mike Flanagan, CEO at UK-based consultancy Clothesource, argues.
China has “scarcely added a single worker to its apparel workforce since 2005, though that workforce`s output has more than doubled in terms of numbers of garments produced. This is the reason why it can afford handsome wage rises,” he told just-style.

Flanagan urges Bangladesh to follow suit.
Western buyers are fully aware that working conditions in Bangladesh are a prime reason for the country`s “staggeringly low real productivity,” Flanagan argues. And wage increases “don`t automatically translate into higher prices” when productivity is increased in parallel, he adds. read more.

* Export earnings witness positive trend in July:

The country’s export earnings witnessed a positive trend in July with over 4.0 per cent growth after experiencing four months of continuous negative growth.

The overall export earnings rose to US$ 2.439 billion in July, the first month of the current fiscal year (FY 2012-13) from $ 2.339 billion in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) statistics, released Monday.
The negative growth in exports started from March last following the economical meltdown in the United States and European Union (EU), officials and exporters said.
The country’s woven garment exports grew by nearly 12 per cent to $ 993.84 million during the period under review as against $ 888.00 million in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal while knitwear accounted for $ 1.001 billion, showing a negative growth of 0.68 per cent, the EPB data showed.

“Buying orders for woven garment from the USA have increased slightly,” President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told the EF while explaining the main cause of rising trend of garment exports.
The BGMEA chief also said the garment markers are now looking for new destinations along with traditional ones aiming to expand their markets. read more.

* Shipment of apparel rises, shrimp and leather fall in July:

Despite the global economic recession, the country’s single month merchandise shipments in July 2012 grew by 4.26 per cent and fetched US$ 2.439 billion.
The country had fetched US$ 2.339 billion in July 2011, according to Export Promotion Bureau. The July 2012, also surpassed the target set for the month by EPB by 3.83 per cent. According to EPB statistics, earnings from knitwear products stood at US$ 1.001 billion as against the target of US$ 890 million.
The amount is 12.46 per cent or US$ 110.89 million higher than the target of US$ 890.18 million.
During the same period in last fiscal earnings from the sector was US$ 1.007 billion. The growth is marginally negative by 0.68 per cent.
The sales of woven garment maintained its positive trend both in target and over earnings during the same period in last fiscal. read more.

04:48:48 local time map of india INDIA

* Give mill land: SC to Nusli Wadia:

In what may come as good news for workers of defunct mills awaiting affordable houses, the supreme court has ordered the Nusli Wadia-owned Bombay Dyeing Textile Mills to hand over at least65154.93 sqmt of the prime unusedland in the space-crunched city to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority(MHADA) for the purpose of “utilising spare land for public good”.

Disposing of the company’s lawsuit against an earlier Bombay HC judgment, the apex court has given the sick mill’s management at Wadala and Prabhadevi six month for giving up possession of the steeply-priced land to the agencies.
In case the company “fails to hand over the said land, the MCGB and MHADA shall be at liberty to forcibly take possession of the concerned lands’’, ruled the SC bench of justices RM Lodha and Anil R Dave. read more.

* FDI in single-brand retail: 6 global retailers like Tommy Hillfiger, Brooks apply for 51% control of India operations:

India has received six proposals from global single-brand retailers seeking permission to own 51 per cent of their operations in the country, the commerce ministry said on Monday.

Retailers who have applied to the government include apparel maker Tommy Hillfiger, clothing retailer Brooks Brother Group, Italian jewellery brand Damiani International, French fashion brand Promod SAS, Fapa Company Ltd and NA Pali Europe SARL, which is a unit of sportwear retailer Quiksilver Inc.

Many of these retailers are already present in India via licensing and joint-venture partnerships with Indian retailers.
The government has not taken a decision on these proposals, the ministry said in a statement. read more.

* Cotton flourishes with respite in govt meddling:

The Indian cotton market is at peace. Three months of respite from government meddling has allowed the business to stagger back on its feet. And everyone is making money – farmers, ginners, traders and millers.

Between March and April, the market was rocked by a series of export bans, partial roll-backs, and restrictive rules that battered exports, sent prices plummeting, and roused farmers, MPs and chief ministers of four states into raising a massive stink. The commerce and textiles ministry beat a hasty retreat after the prime minister himself waded in. And we haven’t heard a peep out of it since.

It was cotton’s lucky break. Finally, its price is being negotiated by physical demand and supply. In the absence of “policy measures’, no one is robbing Peter to benefit Paul.
From May onwards, demand for cotton has exceeded supply. Yarn spinning mills, especially in Tamil Nadu, are humming with export contracts from China. Their cotton purchases in May-July were the highest in three years. read more.

* A relook at textile industry:

 If Indian textile and clothing industry’s performance in the last decade has to be described in a single phrase, it could be ‘unfulfilledpromise’.

At the beginning of the last decade, there were several reasons to be extremely optimistic about the prospects of this vast and critically important industry. After nearly two decades of pernicious licensing and fiscal policy distortions, the government was poised to liberalise the highly-fragmented textile sector and give the mill sector in particular a level playing field.

The highly-restrictive Multifibre Agreement was scheduled to be phased out by the end of 2004, and with that, all quantitative quotas on export of textile and clothing products were to be abolished. Indian economy was shifting to a higher growth trajectory and, in fact, the last decade did deliver a GDP CAGR of more than 6%, creating tens of millions of new consumers who had some discretionary purchasing power for the first time. read more.

* Part by part, spinning mill was ripped apart:

The Nagpur Vinkar Sahakari Sut Girni (cooperative spinning mill), Umred road, is in for a final assault! Machinery, spares and equipment worth more than a crore have been stolen from the defunct spinning mill.

Even as the state textiles department slept for eight years, thieves continued to steal the show by dismantling the machinery and selling it in the scrap right under the nose of the security and officials who are based in Nagpur.
The theft of machinery perhaps started gradually in 2005 and is still continuing on a big scale. The textiles directorate officials are groping in the dark and have no answers how it happened.

RD Kausdikar, regional deputy director of textiles and controlling officer of the defunct mill, admitted that for the first time a formal police complaint was lodged with Nandanvan police station on July 3. read more.

* Textiles Ministry fixes $40.50 billion revised export target for 2012-13:

The Textiles Ministry has revised the export target for textile products at $40.50 billion for 2012-13 instead of $38.18 billion fixed earlier, an increase of about 22 per cent over last year.

“Exports target for 2012-13 was initially fixed at $38.31 billion and has since been revised to $40.5 billion under the new Foreign Trade Policy. The Government has also recommended allocation of Rs. 15,886 crore for Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) during the 12 Plan and the matter is awaiting the approval of the Planning Commission,’’ Minister of State For Textiles, Panabaaka Lakshmi said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha on Monday.
In 2010-11, the country’s textiles export stood at $26.9 billion. Last fiscal, it was $33.31 billion. She also said that there is no report of job loss in the industry due to the slowdown. read more.

* We can weave a thousand yarns:

 chat Rta Kapur Chishti argues that India is the only country in the world that has a wide base of traditional spinning techniques

Woven into our very lifeThe beauty of the unstitched garment

Woven into our very lifeThe beauty of the unstitched garment

Rta Kapur Chishti, an expert on handloom textiles, argues that weaving is a highly specialised skill, and India is the only country in the world that has a large base of such skills. Chishti has documented India’s handloom textile industry in her book Saris of India: Tradition and Beyond (2010), which was commissioned by the Government of India, and has co-authored several other books revolving around a similar theme.

When asked about her 35-year career in the handloom industry, Chishti says that her learning came from the weavers and her association with the best in the industry, such as Martand Singh.
She is presently conducting workshops across Indian cities and small towns, in which she helps the participants re-discover the “magic of the unstitched garment”. The immediate association with the term “unstitched garment” is with the sari, but it also includes a range of other Indian attire from shawls and dhotis to stoles and pagdis.
Having conducted a workshop in Bangalore in association with FabIndia, Chishti says that the creative possibilities of an unstitched garment are endless.
read more.
& read more.

04:18:48 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Cut in interest rate: Bilwani sees no benefit for manufacturing sector:

Pakistan Apparel Forum Chairman M Jawed Bilwani has said that the impact of recent cut in interest rate by SBP would be limited to some sectors and it would not benefit the manufacturing sector including the value-added textile. He expressed surprise that some notable traders, who themselves are manufacturers, were praising the cut in interest rate.

He was of the view that the sector was the backbone of the economy, which he said was facing serious problems such as loadshedding, poor infrastructure, acute liquidity crunch etc. He urged the government to take bold and immediate steps to provide relief to the more.

* Rate cut will boost economic activities: TMA:

Towel Manufacturers Association (TMA), Pakistan has termed the announcement of reducing mark-up rate by central bank as boost-up measure for economy, saying that the decision would encourage economic activities across the country. In a statement issued here on Monday, the TMA has welcomed the announcement made by central bank in its recent Monitory Policy to reduce mark-up rate by 150 basis points ie is discount rate reduced from 12 percent to 10.50 percent.

The association cited that although the discount rate and export refinance rate are interlinked, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has not paid heed on it as the exporters are still seeking any relief from government in export refinance rate, which is also supposed to be at more.

map of Asia

Partly due to technical service-operations, the next news bulletin is August 16,
Thank you for your understanding.

* Chinese apparel makers eyeing Bangladesh as outsourcing hub
* China may not increase cotton import limit this year

* ‘Target Ukraine’ exporters told

* Campaign to reinstate dismissed union members at Mölnlycke, Thailand continues
* Footwear industry’s focus on Asean

* In The Life Of A Cambodian Garment Factory Worker
* Asian Development Bank maps Cambodia’s needs
* Truck crash injures 40

* Unions Call for Crackdown on Companies Not Paying THR Bonuses

* “Productivity to end BD garment woe”
* Export earnings witness positive trend in July
* Shipment of apparel rises, shrimp and leather fall in July

* Give mill land: SC to Nusli Wadia
* FDI in single-brand retail: 6 global retailers like Tommy Hillfiger, Brooks apply for 51% control of India operations
* Cotton flourishes with respite in govt meddling
* A relook at textile industry
* Part by part, spinning mill was ripped apart
* Textiles Ministry fixes $40.50 billion revised export target for 2012-13
* We can weave a thousand yarns:

* Cut in interest rate: Bilwani sees no benefit for manufacturing sector
* Rate cut will boost economic activities

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