06:05:20 local time CHINA
* Li & Fung to buy apparel maker:
Hong Kong ‘s Li & Fung Group is in talks to acquire South Korean children’s apparel maker Suhyang Networks for roughly 200 billion won ($183.73 million), a South Korean newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Maeil Business Newspaper said Li & Fung recently completed due diligence on Suhyang and is currently in price negotiations, citing unidentified investment banking sources.
A Suhyang official authorized to speak on the matter could not be reached immediately. to read.
05:05:20 local time VIET NAM
* U.S. seek garment producers in Vietnam:
Many U.S. enterprises are seeking garment producers in Southeast Asian countries, especially in Vietnam, as they do not want to depend much on the supply from China.
According to TigerTrade Service’s representative office in Vietnam, there are currently 128 U.S. businesses looking for plants producing apparel products in Vietnam to export to the U.S. in the coming time. U.S. enterprises have demands for many apparel products produced under the sub-contract or FOB models.
Two among the 128 enterprises arrived in Vietnam last week and visited some garment plants.
Nguyen Manh Hung from TigerTrade Service said that most of these U.S. businesses have not cooperated with Vietnamese firms before. They want to shift from China to Southeast Asian countries and pay special attention to Vietnam, he added.
Besides, TigerTrade Service next month will help a group of six U.S. businesses look for Vietnamese footwear producers to export to this market.
According to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), U.S. is currently the largest market of Vietnam’s textile-garment export, with an import turnover from Vietnam reaching US$5.6 billion in the January-September period, up nearly 8% year-on-year. Meanwhile, Vietnam is the second biggest providers of apparel products for the U.S., after China.
China’s garment export to the U.S. in the eight-month period was US$26.2 billion compared to over US$5 billion of Vietnam. However, the export price of Vietnam increased by 8.48% from the same period last year and was 1.5 times higher than that of China. to read in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 15/11.
05:05:20 local time LAOS
* More than 100 families have jobs thanks to handicraft products:
Weaving handicraft products have created jobs for more than 100 families in Vientiane and Bolikhamsay provinces and make them have a good income.
These group of people account on weaving handicraft products living in three villages of Vang Mon, Phonhong district, Vientiane province, Marknao village, Park Ngum district, Vientiane Capital, Na village, Thabok district, Bolikhamsay province. Weaving handicraft products have been well aware in society and become a necessary for daily life, souvenirs and beautiful decorated items. They are made of rattan, bamboo and straws and jute.
A CEO member of the Lao Handicraft Association, Mr. Taliboun Lattanavong who was a succeeded person in doing business on weaving handicraft said that he has promoted local people to produce for him under his design, which has more than 100 styles and then will purchase it from locals.
Mr. Taliboun who has had experiences for 12 years in doing this business added that his weaving handicraft products with various sizes and designs made of bamboo, rattan, jute, straw are easy found in rural areas have created jobs for over 100 families. On average per family income is 40,000kip daily, he went on. “My regular clients are European and local people,” he said. read more.
05:05:20 local time THAILAND
* Federation threatens to rally if wages aren’t hiked:
A workers’ federation has threatened to stage a rally unless the 300-baht minimum daily wage goes into effect in January as planned.
Thailand Autoworkers Federation (TAW) president Yongyuth Mentapao said workers have closely followed progress of the 300-baht daily wage policy.
The federation was waiting to see if the wage rise would be launched across the country in January as promised by the government.
Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap has promised to forward the wage hike proposal to a cabinet meeting next Tuesday for endorsement so the boost will take effect in the remaining 70 provinces in January.
If the minister fails to bring the wage policy to the cabinet, workers across the country will be mobilised to stage rallies, Mr Yongyuth said. read more.
* FTI head faces ouster move on wage issue:
Some members of the Federation of Thai Industries have pressed for the resignation of FTI chairman Payungsak Chartsutipol unless he clearly spells out what he is doing to oppose the expansion of the Bt300 minimum wage early next year.
Those members, mainly from the provinces, have demanded that Payungsak explain his role on the issue at an FTI committee meeting to be held on November 26.
“If Khun Payungsak cannot answer questions from members, he should consider his role and resign, and we will ask him to do so,” said an informed source in the FTI, adding that the chairman had been very slow to lobby against improving labourers’ incomes. read more.
05:05:20 local time CAMBODIA
* 200 faint in five unique incidents:
About 200 garment workers fainted in five separate garment factories in Vattanac Industrial Park 2 yesterday, workers and a union representative told the Post.
Nou Srey Pich, 28, an employee of Papillion Textile (Cambodia), in the capital’s Dangkor district, was recovering in the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital after fumes from outside swept into her factory at about 1pm.
Workers collapsed to the floor or rushed for the exit; however, bosses at first prevented them from leaving, Srey Pich said.
“I smelled it, found myself short of breath and vomited,” she said. “Then I fainted.”
Lay Chenthea, 31, from nearby Newpex Company, said the fumes had seeped in through the ventilation system, causing workers to pass out.
“I rushed to get those fainting out of the factory. Many people were vomiting,” she said. read more.
06:05:20 local time MALAYSIA
* Employers want Govt to delay enforcing minimum wage policy:
Employers in Batu Pahat want the Government to delay enforcing the minimum wage policy for two years, saying they need more time to prepare for increase in costs and expanses.
Batu Pahat Chinese Chamber of Commerce (CCCBP) president Gan Eng Huat said many employers are still unclear about the implementation of the policy that would take effect on January 1 next year.
“We are not against the policy, however, we, especially those in the small and medium industry need some time to get ready for the transformation. We hope it can be postponed for two years as it involves large expenses”, he said during his speech at the 104th CCCBP anniversary celebration dinner recently. read more.
06:05:20 local time INDONESIA
* Indonesia Mulls Minimum Wage Boost Amid Protests:
Indonesia may boost the average minimum wage by as much as 50 % next year as labor groups demand higher pay amid economic growth that has exceeded 6 % for eight straight quarters.
The government may raise the lowest required compensation to 2 million rupiah ($208) a month, Industry Minister Mohamad S. Hidayat said yesterday in Jakarta. That would be an average, he said, as living costs vary among provinces. The Confederation of Indonesian Labor Unions is seeking an increase to 2.5 million rupiah from 1.5 million rupiah, Andi Gani Nena Wea, the group’s president, said in an interview.
“When prices are going up and Indonesia’s economy is growing more than 6 %, it’s not enough for laborers to finance their family, especially those with children,” he said. read more.
* Mass Labor Protests in Indonesia Next Week:
Thousands of workers took to the streets in Purwakarta, West Java, in ugly protests on Wednesday that saw most roads closed.
The protests came ahead of planned mass demonstrations across Java next Tuesday, with 70,000 expected to rally in Jakarta alone.
Indonesians are demanding a rise in the minimum wage and a ban on employing contract workers — two problems they cite as barriers to improving their welfare.
Said Iqbal, one of three labor leaders representing the Alliance for Labor Unions in Indonesia (MPBI), said, “We are forcing, not asking, the government to amend the laws to limit (contract jobs) and implement a better wage system. There will be no compromise until there is a change or more transparency.” read more.
* 2013 Jakarta minimum wage set at Rp 2.2m:
The Jakarta Remuneration Board has set the city minimum wage for 2013 at Rp 2.2 million (US$228.60), up from this year’s Rp 1.53 million.
“Today, we have decided that the city’s minimum wage will be Rp 2.2 million, higher than the basic cost of living of Rp 1.98 million,” said board chairman Deded Sukandar on Wednesday night.
Jakarta Workers Forum secretary-general Mohammad Toha said his organization appreciated the new minimum wage. “After struggling for a decent wage, we finally have a 44 percent increase from last year’s amount,” he said as quoted by kompas.com.
Prior to the announcement of the 2013 regional minimum wage, workers in the capital staged demonstrations to demand a minimum wage of Rp 2.8 million.
04:05:20 local time BANGLA DESH
* Tesco opens Skills Foundation for garment workers:
Tesco, a retail giant of the UK, has recently announced the launch of an Apparel Skills Foundation to support Bangladesh’s readymade garment industry.
The foundation, a joint initiative of the Department for International Development and their Responsible and Accountable Garment Sector Challenge Fund, will provide training, expertise and tools to improve workers’ productivity.
It will increase the overall long-term competitiveness and sustainability of the industry in Bangladesh, according to a statement of the British High Commission in Dhaka yesterday.
Over 100 factories are expected to get training by 2015 through the foundation which is open to all garment producers in Bangladesh.
“The Skills Foundation is a smart, sustainable business solution,” said Dame Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Tesco’s executive director for corporate and legal affairs.
read more. & read more.
* EU worried about RMG:
International buyers might stop purchasing garment items from Bangladesh because of political violence and bad working conditions that threaten to hurt the country’s image abroad, said a top EU diplomat yesterday.
“You are in a danger of spoiling your image; you are in a danger of spoiling your brand. I think that’s clear,” said William Hanna, ambassador and head of delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, alluding to Tuesday’s street violence.
Hanna, however, did not elaborate on it.
The absence of trade union for ensuring workers’ rights at factory level created worries among the buyers from the EU and US, and sullied Bangladesh’s image abroad, said Hanna. read more.
* Quick steps a must to become ‘next China’:
World Bank has said Bangladeshhas the potential to become “next China’ if it acts quickly to take advantage of its low-costmanufacturing in some export items, specially in textile and readymade garmentswhen China is gradually switching to high tech products.
The scope has opened up followingChina’s gradual retreat as the world’s second largest economy from RMGmanufacturing leaving the market to competitors where Bangladesh is poisedto immensely benefit. But it shouldact quick to take advantage of thesituation.
Bangladesh stands unique tocapitalize the scope given the low wages and other advantages of its surplusmanpower. Such scope may come once in several millenniums, experts said makinga point on the unfolding scenario. The country’s leadership should exploit thedemographic dividend in the next 30 years, economist Hussain Mansur said inthis connection.
Some others decried the country’spolitical chaos and urged the leadership of the major parties to abandon their power politics to give the nation aprosperous future. Political strength must be focused on business and economyinstead of fighting in the street, they said. read more.
* Country’s apparel export to EU falls in Q1 of current fiscal:
Bangladesh’s apparel export to EU countries in the first quarter (July-September) of the current financial year has fallen while export target to 22 countries during the period could not be achieved, officials said.
The European recession has been taking a toll on Bangladesh’s RMG export to the EU countries, a key destination for the apparel sector.
The shipment dropped in 22 countries while increased only in 5 countries, according to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
* Experts again warn of Hallmark fallout:
The country’s leading bank experts warned that financial contagion like Hallmark loan scandal might affect the entire financial sector unless urgent action is taken.
There is a greater need and urgency to ensure operational autonomy of the central bank, they suggested. They were speaking at a seminar on ‘State of Banking Sector and Macroeconomic Challenges’ orgainsed by the Economic Reporters Forum at the national press club with its President Khwaza Moinuddin in the chair.
Ex-Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governors Mohammed Farashuddin and Salehuddin Ahmed, FBCCI president AK Azad and Deputy Managing Director of BRAC Bank Mohammad Mamdudur Rashid attended the seminar.
BB Deputy Governor SK Sur Chowdhury made presentation on Bangladesh’s Socio-economic Progress and Current Economic Situation while BB Chief Economist Dr Hassan Zaman spoke on reform initiatives in banking sector.
“Procrastination in taking action against financial contagion like Hallmark scandal might spread to the financial sector,” said Salehuddin Ahmed.
“We need to come out of this inertia for the betterment of the financial sector as well as for the economy. Slow action will cast negative impact on the sector,” he said.
* corporate watch:
More social compliance by RMG makers stressed
Speakers at a round table discussion in the city Wednesday stressed the need for more social compliance by local readymade garment makers for sustainable growth of the sector.
Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), a part of the Foreign Trade Association based in Brussels and Lift Standards e.K, a German advisory service jointly organised the round table on ‘Social Compliance – RMG sector’ at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the city.
Dilip Barua, Minister for Industries, key personalities from stakeholder group of the RMG industry including European and American buyers, suppliers, trade unions, NGOs and government officials took part in the discussion.
“Social compliance issue in Bangladesh is now better than any time but still lagging behind the required level,” said Dilip Barua. to read.
03:35:20 local time INDIA
* Skill training for 10000 weavers:
The state government will train 10,000 weavers in skill development to ensure their gainful employment. Also, other welfare programmes will be converged at the field-level for integrated development of around 40,000 weavers’ families.
Sources said chief secretary B K Patnaik had recently asked the textile, handloom and handicraft departments to chalk out details of these convergences. District collectors will be sensitized about these programmes for better implementation. The government has also sought assistance from National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) to bridge the gaps in handloom and handicraft clusters. read more.
03:35:20 local time SRI LANKA
* Harmonizing the handloom industry:
‘Ransalu’, the national handloom show and one of Sri Lanka’s longest events running for 21 years, has now been upgraded and expanded. “It is time that we begin to harmonize disparate handloom, textile, powerlooms and apparel and fabric sub sectors. The 22nd Ransalu event this December has now been expanded to a national apparel, handlooms, and textile industry event” announced Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 03 November.
Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the 03 November stakeholder meeting on the forthcoming Ransalu exhibition to be held in December in Colombo.
Reps from Sri Lanka’s handloom industry, fashion designers and trainers, academics from the University of Moratuwa, Minister Bathiudeen’s Ministry and its SLITA, the Export Development Board and the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Economic Development and many other stakeholders were present at this meeting.
The National Handloom Exhibition Ransalu is organized by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce since the show started way back in 1991. The exhibition is sprinkled with dance troupes and cultural shows and a long tradition of the event being lifetime achievement awards given to committed weavers and technicians across the country. read more.
* Towards a five-fold mega global hub:
The Government has proposed few amendments in VAT and NBT. Accordingly, businesses having an annual turnover less than Rs 12 million will be exempted from NBT and VAT from January 2013.
Whereas, these two taxes will be imposed in full on super market and large trading companies which generate a quarterly turnover in excess of Rs 500 million. It should be noted that previously NBT was applicable only 50% of the revenue. In view of listed trading companies, Brown & Company PLC and Singer Sri Lanka PLC are likely to bear the tax burden of two per cent of NBT and 12% of VAT.
Two year depreciation allowance for apparel and other manufacturing industries, to modernize with advance technology, machinery, and accessories, so as to be able to maintain their global ranking. Due to the two year depreciation allowance the tax base after allowing for depreciation narrows down therefore the income tax expenses reduces on overall.
In the meantime, introduction of advance technology would increase the productivity of the sector enabling the companies to face stiff competition posed by other global apparel manufacturers in South and South-East Asia including China. Orient Garments, the manufacturer, and exporter of high-end apparel with special expertise in outerwear, casual wear and sportswear is to benefit under this.
Apart from that, further improving the competitiveness of the apparel industry, budget has reduced the Port and Airport Levy on their daily used consumable items from five per cent to 2.5 percent.
These consumables include sinkers, needles, sewing machine needles and ironing parts. Therefore, the reduced production cost is likely to lead to more profits and the margins to increase. read more.
03:05:20 local time PAKISTAN
* Around 40,000 power looms closed due to energy crisis: National Assembly informed:
Minister for Textile Industry Makhdoom Shahabuddin on Wednesday informed the National Assembly that around 40,000 power looms of different sizes have been closed due to energy crisis.
He informed the National Assembly during question hour that textile sector represents the longest agro-manufacturing value chain starting from seed, natural fiber, synthetic fiber, yarn, greige fabric, processed fabric, garments, made-ups and high value added brands.
The textiles industry setup in our country is dependent on exports as approximately 80 percent of the goods produced are exported in one form or the other. Due to international slow down and domestic macro issues including energy crisis it has been reported by association concerned that in last five years approximately around 40,000 power looms of different sizes ie 44, 52, 114 and 120 inches have been closed. It has also been reported by the concerned association that 12 percent of units closed have diverted to other textile sub-sectors including embroidery. Further, due to closure of power-looms the upstream sizing industry has also been closed which will become operational on working of power looms.
Although exact number of employees cannot be determined as majority of power looms are cottage industry and self-owned and is not documented being in the informal sector. However, it is estimated that around 30,000 labourers were affected during non-operational period. It is also estimated that 17 percent of labour has now been working for other textile sectors including embroidery, he added. to read.
* 265 textile companies dissolved, struck off during five years:
Minister for Science and Technology (S&T) Mir Changez Khan Jamali on Wednesday informed the Senate that during the last five year 265 out of 5,363 textile companies registered with Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) had either been dissolved or their name had been struck off under the provisions of the Companies Ordinance, 1984.
He was replying to a question asked by Senator Kalsoom Parveen during the question-hour session.
The minister told the House that the data concerning to closure of textile mills due to power shortage was not maintained. He said Interpol (Pvt) Ltd., M/s Sootry Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd. and US Apparel & Textile Mills Ltd. And M/s Sootry were approved by the SPB for investment in textile related business in Bangladesh in the last five years. to read.
* PM forms body to ensure gas supply to industry:
The federal government has formed a committee to ensure uninterrupted gas supply to the industry during the upcoming winter season. The committee will devise and streamline the energy security plan for the industry in order to keep production capacities operational during the winter season in country.
The decision regarding formation of the committee was taken in a meeting between PM Ashraf and a delegation of APTMA on Tuesday. All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) top leadership met the Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf at the Governor House Lahore.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will head the committee which will comprise his advisor on petroleum Dr Asim Hussain, Federal Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Ahsan Bashir, chairman of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association.
* Ginners’ flexibility helps mills make better deals:
Ginners’ flexible attitude helped the mills make deals within their psychological levels, dealers said on the cotton market on Tuesday. Official spot rate maintained overnight level at Rs 5,900, they said. Approximately, 24,000 bales of cotton changed hands between Rs 5700-6200, they said.
Prices of seedcotton (phutti) in Sindh were unchanged at Rs 2650-2900, while, in Punjab rates were inert at Rs 2700-3000, they said. Some brokers said that the mills and ginners found a meeting ground, which helped the business activity to increase from the average level. read more.
THE KARACHI FIRE:
* Factory fire tribunal: ‘Negligence’ lands officials in hot water:
Non-bailable arrest warrants have been issued against four government officials, who will now be treated as suspects in the Baldia factory fire, for negligence on their part.
A district and sessions court passed the orders on Wednesday to include labour director, Zahid Qurban Shaikh, SITE managing director, Rashid Ahmed Solangi, Civil Defence additional controller, Ghulam Akbar, and Karachi Region-II electric inspector, Amjad Ali, in the inquiry.
The second judicial magistrate West, Sohail Ahmed Mashori, also issued warrants against them as their negligence played a vital part in the worst industrial disaster in the country that claimed the lives of over 250 factory workers.
The case investigating officer, Jahanzaib Khan, had earlier submitted the final charge-sheet implicating only the factory owners. No intentional negligence or failure was established on part of the government departments, SITE Limited, labour department, electric inspector, fire department, civil defence and their officials. The other “accused” departments mentioned in the FIR were excluded as “institutions could not be charged since they were not persons and departmental action could be taken against them.”
In his order, the judge stated that police had sought time on the grounds that they had to fix responsibility of the institutions and in that sense, the investigating officer’s contention was not lawful. read more.
* Court orders restoration of owners’ frozen accounts:
A Karachi court, hearing the case pertaining to the Baldia Town factory fire, that killed 250 workers, ordered restoration of the factory owners’ accounts that had been frozen earlier, Express News reported on Wednesday.
The court also rejected police reports that portrayed government bodies as innocent.
The country’s worst fire incident had claimed the lives of over 250 people in September. Many workers died of suffocation, others still were burnt alive at the Ali Enterprises garment factory in Baldia town, which made ready-to-wear clothing for Western export.
Earlier, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had directed authorities to furnish progress reports on DNA tests of unidentifiable factory fire victims and the disbursement of compensation cheques among families of the deceased.
The Sindh government was also ordered to inspect all factories across the province to see if safety of workers is ensured or not and get all unregistered industrial units registered within 20 days. to read.
* Non-bailable warrants issued against four officials:
A judge on Wednesday issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of four officials of the labour department and civic agencies for showing negligence and not playing a responsible role in dealing with the Baldia garments factory fire incident.
Judicial Magistrate (West-II) Sohail Ahmed Mashori observed that the final charge sheet submitted by the investigation officer had showed certain officials of the labour department and other civic agencies had played a negative role.
The judge then ordered police to make arrests and produce the accused in the court on November 27.
The officials against whom the non-bailable warrants have been issued are Labour Director Zahid Qurban Sheikh, Managing Director SITE Rasheed Ahmed Solangi, Additional Controller Civil Defence Ghulam Akbar and Chief Electrical Inspector Amjad Ali.
The final charge sheet said factory owners Shahid Bhaila and Arshad Bhaila, sons of another accused Abul Aziz Bhaila, remained unmoved despite the eruption of the fire in Ali Enterprises, the ill-fated factory where at least 259 labourers were killed on September 11. It said the two had taken no steps for the security and safety of the workers. read more.
* Government Suppliers Rank Lower than Apparel Industry Average on Child and Forced Labor, According to New Report:
Today Free2Work released the most comprehensive picture to date of any sector’s corporate social responsibility efforts on child and forced labor. The new report, “The Story Behind the Barcode: Apparel Industry Trends from Farm to Factory,” ranks 300 apparel brands on their efforts to address child and forced labor from cotton farms to textile plants and garment factories.
These products make their way to store shelves in the US and are also bought with taxpayer dollars.
To ensure that government procurement does not subsidize abusive and unlawful working conditions, dozens of cities and counties and several states have adopted sweatshop-free procurement policies. Some of these entities – three states and thirteen cities – have recently joined the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium, a new membership organization for public entities that seek to purchase apparel and related products made in decent working conditions. read more.
* New report maps apparel industry efforts on child and forced labor:
“Apparel Industry Trends: From Farm to Factory” ranks 300 apparel brands on their efforts to address child and forced labor in their supply chains.
It provides a picture of the practices of industry leaders, and calls out brands that fuel modern slavery through their negligence.
Two decades ago it was standard practice for an apparel company to publicly deny any responsibility to workers in its supply chain.
After years of worker and consumer activism, the debate has shifted and a number of companies have now developed extensive corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.
A handful of companies are using these systems to facilitate positive changes for workers.
With Free2Work statistical data, we present an overview of apparel companies’
current range of responses to arguably the most egregious ongoing abuse of workers: modern slavery.
Read more & Download the Apparel Report.