09:31:55 local time CHINA
* Chinese tycoon Wu heads women’s billionaires list:
Real estate tycoon Wu Yajun tops the list of seven Chinese self-made women billionaires with personal assets of 38 billion yuan (US$6 billion), Hurun Report said yesterday.
The real estate market remained the most important incubator with about 30 percent on the list founders of property companies. Twenty percent of the 22 billionaires are from manufacturing industries while another 14 percent are apparel makers, the report said. read more.
08:31:55 local time VIET NAM
* Gov’t says can’t afford wage reform next year:
The Government will not allocate any funding for the much-awaited wage reform next year as the State budget is facing a shortfall, Minister of Finance Vuong Dinh Hue said on Tuesday, Oct 16.
The Finance Minister told the National Assembly Standing Committee at a meeting that if the wage reform was to be deployed as scheduled, the State would have to spend an additional budget of around VND60-65 trillion next year.
The meeting was convened by the NA committee to hear the Government’s report on budget estimates and the budget allocation plan for next year.
According to Minister Hue, under the wage reform progress, the minimum wage would be increased from VND1.05 million to VND1.3 million per month from next May. read more.
* Garment makers expect slowdown:
Enterprises in the garment and textiles industry will continue facing difficulties in the remaining months of the year, given the lack of export orders and access to capital, industry insiders said at a seminar in HCM City yesterday.
Jointly organised by the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV), and Dun&Bradstreet (D&B), the seminar sought ways to help garment and textile enterprises overcome difficulties in finding capital as well as new customers.
Garment and textile exports posted a modest year-on-year growth of 7.3 per cent in the first nine months of the year to reach US$11.2 billion. This compared to the country’s overall export growth of 18.6 per cent.
Demand in the EU market has fallen strongly in the past months and export orders have decreased significantly over the same period last year, said Dang Phuong Dung, deputy chairwoman and general secretary of Vitas.
Many garment and textile enterprises chose to outsource work because they found it hard to access capital, Dung said. read more.
08:31:55 local time THAILAND
* FTI wants wage hike delayed:
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) wants the government to postpone the increase in the minimum wage to 300 baht a day in 70 provinces until 2015.
The FTI will make the request on Sunday at a meeting of public and private-sector leaders on Koh Samui. The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who will also chair a cabinet meeting on the resort island.
The minimum wage was increased to 300 baht a day in April in the country’s seven most developed provinces: Bangkok, Phuket, Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Sakhon.
The FTI will ask the prime minister to consider delaying until 2015 the wage increase, due to take effect on Jan 1, 2013, for the other 70 provinces. read more.
09:31:55 local time INDONESIA
* The True Sole of Indonesia’s Child Laborers:
Fans of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales may remember the story of “The Elves and the Shoemaker.”
It was the tale of a humble shoemaker and his wife who struggled with business until mysterious elves came to help in the middle of the night. The elves made fancy shoes and the couple became the richest shoemakers in the country.
And while the story is more than 200 years old, it still rings true, especially when looking at today’s fashion industry.
Flip through a magazine, watch a fashion show or stroll through a mall and you will probably see the latest collection of fancy shoes, venerated as objects of envy, even status symbols. Some fashionistas say, “there’s no such thing as too many shoes.”
While most of us have at least a few pairs of shoes in our closets, how often do we actually think about who made them? Renowned brands and famed designers come to mind, and we assume there’s big money for everyone in the business. To many people, it seems shoes simply appear in shops for us to purchase and take home — they might as well be made by elves.
In the not-so-faraway land of West Java is a backyard of Southeast Asia’s fashion industry where elves are indeed at work. Only they’re not the fairy-dusted kind that disappear with the moonbeams at daybreak. They’re called child laborers. And their lives are definitely no fairy tale. read more.
07:31:55 local time BANGLA DESH
* Garment workers demand wage, bonus by Oct 24:
Garment workers formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club Friday demanding payment of arrear wages, allowances and bonus ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha by October 24, reports BSS.
Organised by Bangladesh Garment Workers’ Unity Council (BGWUC), Kafil Uddin, Sirajul Islam Rony, Amirul Haq Amin and Kamrul Ahsan, among others, addressed the programme.
They said non-payment of wages, allowances and festival bonus fuel unrest in the apparel sector. A large number of garment workers cannot go to their village home ahead of the Eid as a section of garment factory owners are still delaying payments.
* Fresh unrest in apparel sector feared over salary, bonus:
Industrial police chief informs BGMEA
There is an apprehension of fresh trouble in the apparel sector as Industrial Police has identified 128 garment factories which may fail to pay the workers before the Eid.
Intelligence men of the special police force, established in 2010 to provide security to the sector of over US$19 billion, made a list of about 128 garment factories which may fail to clear all payments of workers before the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Azha.
Director General of Industrial Police Abdus Salam in a recent letter to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) requested to take necessary measures to help stem any possible unrest.
The Industrial Police also made a similar list of about 390 factories as vulnerable to violence before the Eid-ul-Fitr.
Of the total, 17 factories have been branded as risky and vulnerable at Ashulia-Savar-Dhamrai industrial hub, home to most of the country’s biggest apparel manufacturers.
At least 67 factories have been found vulnerable in Gazipur-Tongi belt, 31 units in Chittagong areas and the rest in Narayanganj, and Kanchpur region, according to the letter. read more.
* Garment workers protest as JL men occupy factory land:
A group of people, allegedly activists of Juba League, clashed with apparel workers while attempting to occupy a plot of land owned by a garment factory in Panchabati BSCIC area in Fatulla on Saturday.
The clashes forced suspension of traffic on Dhaka-Munshiganj road for about an hour.
The owner of Abanti Knitting, Aslam Sunny, also vice-president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association, alleged that local activists of Juba League had been trying to occupy the land, which he had purchased, for past few days.
On Saturday, Juba League district unit joint secretary Shah Nizam and his accomplices went there and removed the signboard and tried to occupy the land prompting the workers of the factory to resist them which led to the clashes, he said adding that five workers had sustained injuries in the attack by Juba League men.
* Fresh price fall hits jute growers:
Growers faced another round of fall in jute price in the last two weeks and failed to recover even the cost of production of the item in the period.
Jute price fell by Tk 600-Tk 700 a mound in the last two weeks.
Traders said the price of jute marked a fresh fall on the local market as the mill owners did not buy the product because of a reduced demand on the international market.
Jute mill owners said most of the Middle East countries, the main buyers of Bangladeshi jute goods, were undergoing political unrest and they had reduced their imports.
They also said the price of jute had fallen on the local market due to its poor quality as the buyers did not agree to buy substandard product. read more.
* Jesmine on 5-day remand :
Hall-Mark Group Chairperson Jesmine Islam was placed on a five-day remand on Friday in one of 11 cases filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission connection with the Sonali Bank loan scam.
Metropolitan Magistrate Mostafa Shahriar Khan of Dhaka passed the order after Mashiur Rahman, an assistant director of the ACC, produced her with a seven-day remand.
Earlier in the day, Jesmine was brought to the ACC headquarter from Ramna Police Station for preliminary interrogation. read more.
* Hall-Mark employees seek PM’s intervention to get arrears:
The employees and workers of scandal-hit Hall-Mark Group on Saturday demanded direct intervention of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to get their arrears before Eid-ul-Azha.
They made the demand at a human chain programme held in front at the National Press Club in the city.
Several hundred employees and workers of Hall-Mark Group, with red flags in the hands, took part in the human chain.
Speakers said about 15,000 employees and workers of the group have not yet got their salaries for the month of September and the overtime pay for August and September whereas they were supposed to get the salaries for October and bonuses before Eid-ul-Azha.
They demanded that the Hall-Mark Group employees and workers do not pay penalties for the crimes committed by its high-ups.
The Hall-Mark Group grabbed headlines amid allegations that the company took huge amount of loan from Sonali Bank’s Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch in Dhaka.
An investigation by the Bangladesh Bank found that the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch of Sonali Bank illegally disbursed a loan of Tk 35.47 billion to the Hall-Mark Group and five other companies between 2010 and May this year. read more.
* Hall-Mark workers agitate for dues:
Jatiya Garment Sramik Federation formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club in the city Saturday demanding payment of salaries and bonuses of the 15 thousand workers of Hall-Mark Group before Eid. FE Photo
The workers of Hall-Mark Group factories have demonstrated demanding salary dues and festival allowance for the Eid-ul-Azha, repors bdnews24.com.
Hundreds of them formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka on Saturday.
The Hall-Mark workers are yet to get the payment for September reportedly due to the arrest of the company’s top brasses in cases over the loan taken from the Sonali Bank fraudulently.
National Garment Workers Federation President Amirul Haque Amin has announced solidarity with the demonstrators.
Hall-Mark worker Julekha Akter told the news agency that she had been working in a garment factory of the Group for a monthly salary of Tk 3,800.
“I haven’t yet got the salary and overtime for work in September. I don’t know whether I will get salary for October and Eid bonus,” she said. read more.
* Hallmark group starts paying workers’ dues:
The Hall-Mark group, which flung into the spotlight after the recent loan scandal, have started paying off dues of workers on Sunday in the face of over two weeks’ protests.
Floor-in-Charges and Production Managers are supervising the clearance of September’s due wages at the factory premises in Savar’s Hemayetpur.
However, on the first day only the workers are being paid their wages. They are not being given Eid bonus or overtime allowances.
Salary of other staff of the Hallmark factories would be cleared gradually, relevant officials said.
A large number of law enforcers have been deployed at the premises to ensure that the disbursement of wages of more than 30 thousand workers was carried out peacefully. read more.
* GAP bought $500m garments last year, says minister:
US clothing retailer GAP bought garment items worth more than half a billion dollars from Bangladesh last fiscal year, Commerce Minister GM Quader said yesterday.
The retail giant also wants to purchase more in future as the country has improved compliances and quality of products, and offers competitive prices, the minister said.
“They are very satisfied in Bangladesh. They have no complaint,” Quader told reporters after a meeting with visiting GAP Senior Vice-president Bobby Silten at his secretariat in Dhaka.
Silten, also the president of GAP Foundation, offered to give fire fighting equipment and technical expertise to Bangladesh. to read.
* GAP keen to improve RMG factory security:
The US based world famous brand GAP has expressed its interest to improve the standard of security in Bangladesh’s readymade garment (RMG) factories. A GAP delegation led by senior vice-president of its Global Responsibility Division, Bobby Silten, on Sunday held a meeting with the Commerce Minister GM Quader at the secretariat. After the meeting, the commerce minister told reporters that GAP was keen to help improve the standard of the security of their establishments. It was also willing to ensure a foolproof fire security system.
The minister also said that the GAP also expressed its intent to settle compensation package for the factory workers in any case of accident, if necessary. “It will even ensure compensation during the time of the closing of the factory”, he said.
* Clothing giant GAP plans to increase purchase from Bangladesh:
A visiting delegation from US readymade garments brand GAP on Sunday said their purchase of apparel items from Bangladesh would increase in the days ahead.
‘US company GAP is satisfied with the standard of factories and their products they are importing from Bangladesh,’ commerce minister GM Quader told reporters at the secretariat after a meeting with the GAP delegation. read more.
07:01:55 local time INDIA
* Weavers’ body seeks perks in 12th Plan:
The Federation of Surat Art Silk Weaving Industry (FIASWI) has demanded a slew of perks under the incremental targets of 12th Five Year Plan of Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) of the textile ministry, including 20 per cent and 10 per cent capital subsidy on imported and indigenous shuttleless looms respectively.
FIAWSI office-bearers said in the last decade capital subsidy and interest subsidy have helped modernization to take place in yarn processing for preparatory sector. Texturizing machines with higher speed have replaced old machines and they helped to reduce the cost of processing yarn.
Similarly, two-four-one twister has replaced conventional twisting machines thereby improving the quality of the twisted yarn.
However, modernization of weaving sector has not taken place. In the last decade or so, only 2-3 per cent of shuttleless looms have been installed in or around Surat. To promote the export and to produce better quality of fabric, replacement of the conventional shuttle looms is must. read more.
* Rs. 169-crore package for weavers announced:
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Saturday announced release of Rs.169-crore package for weavers. The announcement came after a marathon eight-hour long face-to-face interaction with the elected representatives and leaders of the handlooms and powerloom weavers, former Ministers and legislators from all parties at Jubilee Hall.
The Chief Minister promised to come out with a better package shortly. The interface with the leaders and representatives of the weavers was attended by Union Minister of State for Textiles Panabaka Lakshmi, Handlooms and Textiles Minister G. Prasad Kumar and senior bureaucrats of the Central and State governments.
The meeting saw some protests from the opposition parties, particularly the TDP leaders, who demanded that the media should be allowed to cover the event. They were seen arguing with the Chief Minister on the issue. read more.
* Alarm over proposal to ban GM trials:
A 10-year blanket ban on field trials of genetically modified (termed Bt) crops, proposed by an expert committee set up by the Supreme Court, has set off alarm bells, especially in the cotton sector.
A senior government official said it would be like gifting a 10-year monopoly on Bt cotton to a single company, Monsanto, and clipping the wings of upcoming competitors, such as Bayer, Dow, DuPont and Syngenta, and some public sector companies.
Monsanto has completed its trials and can reap the gains in the coming years, while the other companies are still only at the start of their trials, the official said, on condition of anonymity.
Monsanto on its part, while rejecting the overall contents on the report on the grounds that it (the committee) has exceeded its mandate and its implementation would have serious implication on the future of Indian agriculture, said competition already exists in the Bt cotton field and its first-mover advantage comes from the fact that it had better technologies to offer. read more.
* Fabric buyers cancel Surat visit fearing cash seizure:
After diamantaires, textile traders in country’s biggest man-made fabric hub are worried as buyers from key centres across the country have begun to call off their visits to the city even during the Diwali season over fear of seizure of cash by static surveillance teams.
Textile traders say the model code of conduct and large-scale seizure of cash by surveillance teams in the city have spread terror among the buyers from Delhi, Punjab, Lucknow, Maharashtra, Chennai and Kolkata. The small and medium buyers, who usually deal in cash, and were to purchase saris and dress material for the upcoming Diwali festival have cancelled their visits. read more.
* Trade union leader dead:
P.L. Subbaiah, honorary State president of the INTUC, passed away at his residence here on Friday morning. He was 87.
He formed a trade union for textile mill workers and had served as the president of the All Indian Textile Mill Workers’ Federation, affiliated to the INTUC, the vice-president of the INTUC and the State president of the INTUC. He had participated in international conferences for trade unions and had been member of several committees of the Central Government. to read.
07:01:55 local time SRI LANKA
* Brandix pledges carbon reduction:
After achieving its 2012 eco targets Sri Lanka’s top apparel exporter Brandix has pledged a further reduction of its carbon footprint by 2020.
The head of environment and energy management of Brandix group, Iresha Somarathna told a media briefing that using 2013 as the base year, Brandix will make further investments in processes and innovations that progressively reduce the impact of its operations on the environment, aiming at a further 20 percent reduction of the Brandix Eco Index over the next seven years.
She said the Group had invested more than $ 3 million in energy efficiency improvements in 2011, saving 28,000 GJ of energy and nearly $ 800,000 through its energy management plan. A switch to renewable energy sources such as bio-mass had resulted in the replacement of 115,000 litres of fossil fuel last year.
“Our achievements are significant because we achieved these targets while increasing our production and and revenue by 50 percent and 60 percent and therefore it is sustainable. Without profitability and people these initiatives may not be sustainable”, she said. read more.
* Apparel exports’ drop due to absence of GSP +:
The downturn in apparel exports in the past six months is attributed to the impact of the loss of GSP plus concessions effective since 2010, a European Union Trade and Economics Attach’ Roshan Lyman said.
Addressing the Sri Lanka – France Business Council discussion on “EU Trade Policy 2012” this week, he pointed out that being the number one trading partner of 80 countries, 60 per cent of EU imports is from developing countries. In this respect, Sri Lankan businesses have opportunities to participate in the value chain, Mr. Lyman observed.
Speaking with the Business Times on the sidelines of the meeting, he noted that following discussions with some key apparel manufacturing firms in the country, most exporters had indicated that the effect of the GSP + loss is “seen right now.”
read more. & read more.
* GSP+ loss tops US$ 1bn:
The loss of Sri Lanka’s GSP+ facility to the European Union may have cost the country’s garment industry as much as US$ 1 billion, according to former Secretary General of the Joint Apparel Association Forum, Rohan Masakorala.
“Speaking from practical experience and what I’ve been told by people in the industry, the loss of GSP+ may have cost the apparel sector approximately US$ 1 billion. Worse still, we aren’t even re-applying for GSP+ the facility, even though it is needed. When we request GSP+, we are not asking for concessions but instead we seek a level playing field in one of our most important markets,” Masakorala pointed out.
“The industry didn’t feel it as much last year because of issues in China and Bangladesh, but that is now no longer the case today,” he added. read more.
06:31:55 local time PAKISTAN
* Fire breaks out in New Karachi towel factory:
Rescue efforts were initiated after the upper stories of a towel factory caught fire in New Karachi, Express News reported on Sunday.
Fire fighters reached the scene and attempted to douse the fire by climbing to the upper floors using a ladder.
Rescue efforts were also initiated to rescue any factory workers trapped in the fire.The cause of the fire is yet to be discerned.
Due to lax implementation of factory guidelines and fire safety methods, factories in Karachi face serious threats of such incidents.
Earlier this year, workers were suffocated or burnt alive at the Ali Enterprises garment factory in Karachi, which made ready-to-wear clothing for Western export, when a massive fire tore through the building during the evening shift on September 11.
Up to 600 people were working inside at the time, in a building that officials said was in poor condition without emergency exits, forcing dozens to jump from upper storeys to escape the flames, but trapping dozens in the basement where they perished. to read. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* APTMA resent increase in gas load shedding:
Textilers have strongly opposed one day increase in Gas load shedding for industry and termed it a deliberate attempt to shatter the export oriented textile industry. This would inflict a loss of one billion rupees daily in export earnings and value addition.
Briefing the newsmen after chairing a joint meeting of Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA), Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA), All Pakistan Bedsheet and Upholstery Manufacturers Association (APBUMA) and Khurrianwala Industrial Estate Association (KIEA) here Satirday, Asghar Ali, Chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association criticized the plea of gas managers that supply was compressed due to cold weather and said that this was not feasible because the weather had not yet touched the critical temperature point where gas is fossilized. read more. & read more.
* Textile exports gain momentum:
Export of textile and clothing rebounded in September 2012 after witnessing a slump for at least one year, mainly owing to a slight surge in demand from recession-hit key markets of Europe and United States.
Textile and clothing exports witnessed double digit growth of 12.91 per cent in September from a year ago, suggested data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
The unprecedented growth was mainly driven by substantial increase in export proceeds of readymade garments, towels, and other low value products, like cotton yarn and cotton cloth, etc.
Former Chairman of Readymade Garments Association of Pakistan Masood Naqi said that growth in export of value-added products was the outcome of three main factors witnessed in the past few months. read more. & read more. & read more.
* Textile mills purchased 4,092,354 cotton bales till October 15: PCGA report:
Textile mills have purchased 4,092,354 cotton bales till October 15 from the ginners while exporters have procured 99,648 bales.
Unsold stock swelled to 1,091,195 bales, Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) report revealed. PCGA has released the cotton arrival figures on October 18 to show the cotton arrival till October 15.
PCGA fortnightly report shows that around 5.28 million cotton bales were sourced to the country’s ginners by October 15, which shows an increase of 12.03 percent than last year. PCGA Chairman Ramesh Kumar briefed journalists about seedcotton (Phutti) arrivals, sales and unsold stock of cotton. read more.
THE KARACHI FIRE:
* Joint efforts urged to safeguard rights of workers:
The recent deadly fire incident in a Karachi garment factory, in which more than 300 workers were burnt alive, was the wake up call for protecting the rights of workers in Pakistan and this could be done only when all stakeholders took joint efforts, said speakers of a speakers of protest demonstration-cum-condolence meeting for martyred workers of Ali Enterprises.
The event was organised under the banner of Workers Right Movement (WRM) to pay the tribute to the victims of fire incident of the garment factory, Ali Enterprises, on the occasion of Chelum of deceased workers in front of the burnt factory in Baldia Town on Saturday.
A large number of workers participated in the condolence meeting. On the appeal of WRM in all industrial zones of Karachi, a ‘Mourning Day’ was observed and black flags were hoisted on industries to express solidarity with the victims of the fire incident.
The labourers’ representatives, on this occasion, paid glowing tribute to the martyrs of the fire incident and expressed their commitment to continue struggle till achieving rights for the workers.read more. & to read.
* SHC suspends owners’ remand into police custody:
The drama over the custody of the owners of the Baldia garment factory continued for the second consecutive day, as the Sindh High Court suspended the lower court’s order to remand the Bhaila brothers into police custody.
On Thursday, the fifth additional and sessions judge, West, Abdullah Channah, gave custody of the two factory owners, Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila, and general manager Mansoor Ahmed to the police – only for two days and that too from sunrise to sunset. The court had also ordered medical examinations of the brothers before and after the interrogation. The Bhaila brothers approached the SHC on Friday through one of their relatives, who submitted that there was potential risk to their lives outside the prison. read more.
* Tashkent holds cotton fair in secrecy:
Tashkent’s eighth cotton fair has been held behind an unprecedented veil of secrecy with both its venue and nearby facilities closed for outsiders.
The cotton fair was held on 17-18 October at International Hotel Tashkent and the Expo Centre which were guarded by hundreds of policemen against outsiders.
A dozen of policemen patrolled the entrance to the nearby Japanese Garden only letting in registered fair participants who had badges.
Another group of five policemen was assigned at the main entrance “checkpoint” placed about 200 metres from the venue, near the office of the National Bank of Uzbekistan. read more.
* Cotton Campaign reminds US would-be presidents of cotton slavery in Uzbekistan:
The international coalition Cotton Campaign has urged the US would-be presidents to condemn cotton slavery in Uzbekistan in the forthcoming televised debates on foreign policy.
“We call on President Obama and Mr Romney to use the power of their podiums to publicly condemn modern forms of slavery and prioritize efforts to end forced labor of children and adults in the cotton sector of Uzbekistan,” said the international coalition of NGOs and business associations Cotton Campaign in its appeal.
The authors of the appeal underlined that Uzbekistan had created the world’s most powerful system of state-sponsored forced labour in cotton fields.
“Millions of Uzbek citizens will benefit from bringing this egregious practice to an end,” Cotton Campaign wrote. read more.
* Shoot Me: how much is Uzbek cotton? :
On 17 and 18 October, Tashkent held the eighth international cotton and textile fair, but the price of the Uzbek cotton remains secret as in previous years, Shoot Me experts believe.
“As a result of the fair, contracts were signed to buy 670,000 tonnes of Uzbek cotton fibre, as well as to supply domestic textile enterprises’ products to an amount of over $600m,” the UzA national news agency has reported.
And this is the only detail the Uzbek authorities have released about the results of the fair. Neither the list of companies that signed contracts with the Uzbek side to buy cotton fibre, nor the amount of purchases and their costs, have been made public.
Why? This is the question that was put by the Shoot Me open society experts, poet Rifat Gumerov, filmmaker Oleg Karpov and filmmaker Alisher Hamdamov, who discussed the fair a day before it ended. read & see more.