in the news on-line, 7 September 2012

00:13:22 local time map of china CHINA

* Zara opens online store in China:

Spanish based clothes chain Zara has opened its online store in China on Wednesday.
Zara has already over 100 shops open in China after entering the Chinese mainland in 2006, two years after opening the first store in Hong Kong. The first mainland store was opened in Shanghai and there are now branches in over 40 cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenyang and Chengdu. read more.

* Members to promote free trade at APEC forum:

 President Hu Jintao arrived in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on Thursday for the annual economic leaders’ meeting of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation slated for Saturday and Sunday.

At the meeting, Hu and other leaders of APEC members will discuss trade and investment liberalization, regional economic integration, food security and establishment of reliable supply chains, as well as cooperation in fostering innovative growth. Hu is scheduled to deliver a key-note speech at the APEC CEO summit.
read more.

23:13:22 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Stitching up a success story:

Garment sector player Hugaco is taking a flexible approach to ease production pressures.

The plan to expand production at Hung Yen Garment Joint Stock Corporation (Hugaco)’s Gunyong Garment Enterprise will be extended to 2013 instead of late 2012 as earlier declared.
The step was taken, not due to Hugaco’s financial strains, but a flexible move to lessen pressures on production and business amid a low textile and garment consumption in the global market.

Accordingly, in 2013 Hugaco will pump VND40-50 billion ($2 million) into enlarging Gunyong Garment’s factory space to accommodate 24 garment lines with scope of 1,500 labourers.
“In the next five years, Hugaco will invest in five to eight plants with 60 additional production lines to bring export value to $300 million per year. Besides, the firm will mull further acquisitions to shortly perfect its production and supply chain,” said Hugaco’s general director Nguyen Xuan Duong.

One year ago, Hugaco spent $1 million tantamount to VND20.6 billion on taking over South Korea-backed Gunyong Garment. This was one of rare cases in which a local firm bought out a foreign-invested business in Vietnam, particularly in textile-clothing field.
At this time, industry players assumed taking over an enterprise with state-of-the art production lines and 5,000sqm total space including 4,000sqm workshop with over VND20 billion only was a good investment.

After the buy-out, Hugaco embarked on restructuring Gunyong Garment to soon resume production. Currently, the enterprise consists of six jacket and trouser production lines employing 350 labourers from 75 initially.
Specifically, albeit resuming production for a short time, Gunyong Garment has become one of important links to help Hugaco fulfill export orders. The average income of labourers has exceeded VND3 million ($145) per month which is 2.5 fold more than in the period before the take-over.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 6/9. (17th item)

23:13:22 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* ‘No limits’ call on health bills:

The Workmen’s Compensation Fund should pay for workers’ medical expenses and place no limits on compensation, a fund board member said yesterday.

Prasit Jong-assayakul floated the idea during a seminar to mark the fund’s 40th anniversary.
He said the fund should pay for medical bills until workers are fully recovered and there is no need to impose a ceiling on compensation.

Mr Prasit said hospital fees often exceed the fund’s maximum compensation ceiling. For example, if a worker has a work-related accident that costs 700,000 baht to treat, the fund will cover a maximum of 300,000 baht and the worker pays the rest. This creates a heavy financial burden on employees, he said. read more.

* Wage hike will stimulate economy- expert:

The increase in the daily minimum wage to Bt300 in another 70 provinces, which was approved on Tuesday and will go into effect on January 1 next year, will help stimulate consumption of domestic products and be beneficial to the economy in the long run, a Chulalongkorn University economics lecturer commented yesterday.

The hike would not affect employers or result in much higher costs, said Assoc Prof Narong Phetprasert.
“There is a wide misunderstanding that the hike will result in a 40-per-cent rise in production costs, but the figure is more likely to be 15 per cent on average,” he said.

Businesses expected to be most affected by the hike are those in labour-intensive sectors such as textiles and furniture. Some of these, however, should be able to take advantage of government help to negotiate with neighbouring countries for incentives and assistance in relocating out of Thailand, said Narong.
read more.

23:13:22 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Bra factory strikers look to ministry for support:


A police officer tells workers from the Top Form garment factory to back away from the road during a protest in Phnom Penh yesterday. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

About 300 workers entered their sixth day of strikes yesterday at a bra factory in the capital, which manufactures lingerie supplied to Victoria’s Secret and Valentino, but their hopes of a quick resolution were dashed when a Ministry of Social Affairs official admitted he was clueless as to the taxation issue they were striking over.

Kae Soksitthiny, the ministry adviser tasked with bringing the strike to a peaceful end through mediation between management and workers, said the strikers claimed their employer was withholding up to $9 per month “tax” from their wages, which are $61 per month before bonuses and overtime.

Soksitthiny, however, said he could not resolve the issue because did not know whether the alleged actions of the company were legal or not. read more.

00:13:22 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Glove makers to invest RM300mil to RM500mil to improve automation system:

Malaysian rubber glove makers will invest between RM300mil and RM500mil in the next five to 10 years to enhance their automation system and reduce labour costs, an industry official said.

Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) president Lim Kwee Shyan said automation would help manufacturers reduce labour workforce by 30% in less than five years and up to 50% in a longer period.
Glove manufacturers would be hiring more skilled workers like local graduates and reduce non-skilled workers, including foreigners, with better automation in production, he said after the 6th International Rubber Glove Conference and Exhibition.

Currently, 30,000 out of the 50,000 to 60,000 workforce in the glove manufacturing industry were foreign workers, Lim said.
The RM900 minimum wage policy, which takes effect next year, would increase labour costs. read more.

00:13:22 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Indonesian Lives Risked on ‘World’s Most Polluted’ River:

With dozens of bright green rice paddies, flocks of kites in the sky and children laughing nearby, at first glance the village of Sukamaju in western Java has all the charms of rural Indonesia.

But the idyllic setting is spoiled by a strong stench rising from the Citarum river that flows in the distance, thick with mounds of garbage and plastic bags dumped on its banks.
This immense aquatic rubbish bin winds 297 kilometers (185 miles) across the island of Java, cutting through the sprawling Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Labelled “the most-polluted in the world” by a local commission of government agencies and NGOs charged with its clean-up, the river is the only source of water for 15 million Indonesians who live on its banks, despite the risks to health and crops.
(….)
The Bandung Basin is the historic center of Indonesia’s textile industry, where 1,500 factories in the region dump 280 tons of toxic waste each day into the Citarum. read more.

22:43:22 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Myanmar, Thailand agencies to hold talks on migrants’ welfare:

Employment agencies in Myanmar and Thailand will be meeting to discuss job options for migrant workers in the Kingdom.

Director-general U Myo Aung of the Labor Administration Department under the Ministry of Labor said the agencies will be taking up issues regarding rules and regulations for job employment. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for September 9.

He said if Myanmar agencies will abide by the terms and conditions of Thailand, the latter will allow them as official employment agencies.The Ministry of Labor on July 29 invited tenders for local agencies to officially provide employment in Thailand; 51 agencies have so far submitted.

Thailand had signed bilateral agreements with Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar to ensure the rights of migrant workers in Thailand and for them to enjoy “the same wages and other benefits as local workers based on the principle of non-discrimination.” read more.

21:43:22 local time map of india INDIA

* India-Israel FTA to boost apparel exports- AEPC:

The proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Israel is expected to benefit the country’s apparel sector significantly in the wake of slowdown in the western markets, AEPC said on Thursday.

The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), which organised a two-day buyer seller meet in Tel Aviv, said Indian exporters would be able to tap the middle east region through the Israeli market.
The meet, which ended on Thursday, was inaugurated by textiles secretary Kiran Dhingra.read more.

21:13:22 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* The logic of ‘rule of law’:

Victimisation of political workers is a defining feature of authoritarian regimes, particularly in postcolonial states. We have seen plenty of that in Pakistan under military rule and things are only marginally better during democratic interregnums.

In a liberal political discourse, these authoritarian tendencies are attributed to the absence of rule of law. But this view is analytically limited and politically limiting. If we consider the relationship between law, power, and terror in our particular context of state formation, it becomes obvious that this authoritarianism is a consequence of the logic of rule… of law and terror.
(…)
Last November the Anti-terrorism Court in Faisalabad sentenced six leaders of power-loom workers to a total of 490 years in prison. Why? In July 2010, workers went on strike to demand a 17 percent increase in wages after the government announced a similar increase in minimum wage. This did not sit well with factory owners who used their thugs to attack the workers and later framed terrorism charges against them. read more.

* Garments export soars by 2.15pc:

The export of ready made garments from the country during the month of July 2012 has registered a growth of 2.15 percent as compared to the same month of last year.

The export of garments witnessed growth in dollars term as different varieties of garments worth US$ 163.375 million were exported during July 2012 as against the export of US$ 159.93 million of same month last year. According the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), other textile materials posted positive growth of 50.83 percent in first month of financial year 2012-13 and reached at US$ 33.175 million as compared with to the last year’s US$ 21.99 million.

Tents, canvas and trpulin export increased by 63.22 percent during the period under review as the country earned US$ 7.735 million against the last year’s US$ 4.73 million. The export of art, silk and synthetic textile also increased by 112.58 percent during July 2012 as about US$ 36.37 million added in the national exchange reserves against US$ 17.11 million of same period last year. read more.

* China eager to promote textile machinery in Pakistan:

 A delegation of China Textile Machine Manufacturers (CTMTC) met Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Federal Advisor on Textile, Government of Pakistan, to discuss prospects of promoting Chinese textile machinery in Pakistan.

 The delegation headed by Eric Ying Yi also articulated interest in buying cotton yarn and fabric from Pakistan and offered their Global Marketing Network to Pakistani exporters to enable them better market their products. read more.

21:13:22 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Fashion week in New York without Guli and Uzbek cotton:

Over 80 global brands, including Gucci, Burberry and Adidas, have stopped using Uzbek cotton; new brands that have joined a boycott of Uzbek cotton will be announced during the New York Fashion Week.

On 6-13 September New York will host a Fashion Week, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz. Tens of well-known and start-up designers will present their Spring 2013 collections.
The New York Fashion Week, one of the major fashion events in the world, will be used by NGOs to protect human rights in Uzbekistan.

The enslavement of millions of children who are forced by the Uzbek government to miss classes at school, college and lyceums to collect cotton is the reason for boycotting Uzbek cotton by many well-known brands.
The Responsible Sourcing Network NGO says that over 80 clothing companies have joined the boycott, including Wal-Mart, Levi Strauss, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, YSL, Adidas and others.

They oppose child labour in Uzbekistan and say that they will not use Uzbek cotton in their products until the International Labour Organisation confirms that the country stopped using child labour.read more.

map of Asia

The next newsletter and news bulletin will be published 10 September 2012.

CHINA
* Zara opens online store in China
* Members to promote free trade at APEC forum

VIET NAM
* Stitching up a success story

THAILAND
* ‘No limits’ call on health bills
* Wage hike will stimulate economy- expert

CAMBODIA
* Bra factory strikers look to ministry for support

MALAYSIA
* Glove makers to invest RM300mil to RM500mil to improve automation system

INDONESIA
* Indonesian Lives Risked on ‘World’s Most Polluted’ River

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Myanmar, Thailand agencies to hold talks on migrants’ welfare

INDIA
* India-Israel FTA to boost apparel exports- AEPC

PAKISTAN
* The logic of ‘rule of law’
* Garments export soars by 2.15pc
* China eager to promote textile machinery in Pakistan

UZBEKISTAN
* Fashion week in New York without Guli and Uzbek cotton

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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
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