19:57:56 local time CHINA
* Sports brands to see sales chill continue:
High inventories caused by quick expansion, product homogeneity, price surges and sliding purchasing power are expected to pressure international and local sports goods brands this winter.
That’s on top of a dismal first half for the industry this year.
Nike Inc’s sales in China – including footwear, apparel and equipment – declined 11 percent to $577 million, according to the company’s second-quarter fiscal report.
Nike’s reported future orders, scheduled for delivery from December through April, dropped by 6 percent. In comparison, Nike’s revenue has grown 11 percent in other emerging markets to $1.05 billion.
Domestic brands are also struggling due to the weak market demand, a reminder to investors to dilute their investments. read more.
18:57:56 local time THAILAND
* SMEs ‘need B143bn subsidy’ for minimum wage rise:
The government needs to implement wage subsidies totalling 143 billion baht over the next three years to offset the effects of the increase in the nationwide daily minimum wage on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), say researchers.
Kiatanantha Lounkaew, director of the Dhurakij Pundit University Research Center, said establishing a subsidy fund is the soundest measure, as it can be implemented on a large scale within a short time without having to go through complicated processes.
He called on the government to focus on one effective rescue mechanism instead of 27 measures as proposed.
“This measure is not populist but rather a form of investment whereby the government will help businesses to restructure and adapt over a period of three years,” Mr Kiatanantha said. read more.
18:57:56 local time CAMBODIA
* Four years on, Chea Vichea accused back in prison:
In a startling about-face, the Court of Appeal this morning upheld the convictions of two men widely believed to have been wrongfully accused of the 2004 slaying of unionist Chea Vichea, and sent them back to prison to serve out the remainder of their 20-year sentences.
Born Samnang, 29, and Sok Sam Oeun, 32, spent nearly five years in prison before the Supreme Court ordered their provisional release in late 2008 pending a re-investigation of the case.
In January 2004, a week after the Free Trade Union president was gunned down in broad daylight on the streets of Phnom Penh, the pair were arrested and charged with the murder. read more.
17:57:56 local time BANGLA DESH
* Bangladesh garment workers continue to suffer:
Global brands, which get their clothes manufactured here, ignore vital safety measures for workers.
Serious concerns for the safety of garment workers in Bangladesh have continued after a factory fire killed 112 employees last month.
Rights activists say major clothing brands, including Western companies such as Wallmart, are ignoring vital safety measures in order to keep manufacturing costs low. Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reports from Dhaka. See more- video.
* How about an apparel ministry? :
Does a proposal to establish an apparel ministry sound too unexciting as a cure to consider, given the sores that have lately swelled up on the country’s apparel sector? It may seem so to many based on a wrongly perceived notion of the state of affairs in the most vibrant sector of the country’s economy.
Recently, the proposal for a separate apparel ministry meant for the readymade garment (RMG) sector came from none other than the leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
The key reason for, as the leaders pointed out, was the need for effective coordination among government agencies that are to take care of the sector, facilitate its operation, govern it and when needed, regulate it. Lack of interagency coordination not only causes missing links, but, more importantly, results in faltering accountability and poor supervision. read more.
* China to set up silk industries in Bangladesh: BGMEA:
China is to set up silk industries in the country to strengthen its presence in the international market, a leader of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association said in Dhaka on Wednesday.
‘China wants to set up silk industries in Bangladesh. We’ve signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese entrepreneurs to this end,’ Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of BGMEA, told the news agency.
Mohiuddin said the agreement came as a high-profile delegation of China Chamber of Commerce for Export-Import of Textiles visited in Dhaka to scoop out outsourcing opportunities in Bangladesh. read more.
* China explores potential of Bangladesh garment sector:
Several Chinese delegates have visited Bangladesh in recent past in order to explore the potential of readymade garment (RMG) sector in the country.
Speaking to fibre2fashion, Mr. Md. Shafiul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said, “Several groups and chambers representing Chinese textile and apparel sector have visited Bangladesh in the recent past.”
“In fact, a team of delegates from a Chinese chamber of commerce visited us earlier this week and these teams are trying to explore the potential of Bangladesh garment sector,” he adds.
According to him, Bangladesh is the most important destination for apparel buyers from global market. “Bangladesh has the history of manufacturing quality products, delivering the goods on time and a committed entrepreneurship,” he mentions.
* US lawmakers target GSP benefits for Bangladesh:
The fear of adverse international response that had struck the minds of the stakeholders concerned following the devastating fire that claimed 112 lives of Tazreen Fashion’s workers last month is, apparently, coming true.
A number of US lawmakers, including Representative Joe Crowley, founder of a congressional caucus on Bangladesh, is ‘seriously concerned’ about the Tazreen blaze. They are, reportedly, pressing the US administration to complete a long-running review that could lead to suspension of trade benefits for Bangladesh extended under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
The lawmakers sent a letter to the US Trade Representative (USTR) last week, expressing their grave concern over the “deterioration of working conditions and workers’ rights in Bangladesh”.
It is likely that the US lawmakers’ letter might prompt the USTR to accelerate the process of assessing Bangladesh’s eligibility for trade benefits under the GSP. Complaints were earlier lodged by the AFL-CIO, the largest US labour union confederation, in 2007 about working conditions and rights of workers employed in the Bangladesh apparel sector.
The relevant trade bodies in Bangladesh, including the apex one, are yet to give their reaction formally to the US lawmakers’ move.
But local businesses are not that much worried over the initiative since Bangladesh does not get any notable benefits out of the US GSP, in practical operational terms. The US trade facility does not offer duty-free access to Bangladesh apparel items that account for nearly 80 per cent of its exports. read more.
* Pakistani RMG unit takes back investment from Bangladesh:
Tauseef Enterprises has again lived up to expectations by taking timely business decisions to make windfall gains, according to The Express Tribune of Pakistan.
After investing in Bangladesh about three years ago to reap the benefits of duty-free access to the European Union, the company – a big garment manufacturer – has started taking out its investment and is reinvesting here to earn dividends of EU concessions, this time for Pakistan as well.
The EU has allowed export of 75 selected products, mostly textile, to its market without any duty in an effort to offset the impact of 2010 floods in Pakistan. The 27-nation bloc has also eased criteria for winning unlimited duty-free access under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus.
These two concessions have prompted Tauseef Enterprises to consider whether it should keep its investment in Bangladesh or bring back the money.
Tauseef Enterprises Chief Executive Officer Chaudhry Salamat Ali, who is running two textile mills in Bangladesh, has already withdrawn Rs200 million out of more than Rs300 million, besides stopping fresh investment. In the past three years of investment in Bangladesh, Ali’s business made exceptional profits.
Now the company is withdrawing the original capital and its units there will continue operating with the help of profits earned and reinvested during these years.
read more. & read more.
17:27:56 local time INDIA
* Governments to be urged to stop outsourcing, contract system:
The All-India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), at its State-level workers’ conference to be held from January 4 to 6, will demand that the State and Union governments abolish, what it described as ‘contractorisation’ and outsourcing of labour.
Announcing this at a press conference here on Wednesday, AIUTUC Working Committee member T.S. Suneeth Kumar said permanent jobs and job security had become a thing of the past owing to appointment of workers on contract and outsourcing of labour in almost all sectors.
Dr. Kumar alleged that it was exploitative as there was discrimination with regard to working hours, salary, allowance and other facilities. The contract system benefited management and owners, he alleged. With closure of factories and retrenchment of workers, attacks and harassment of workers were also on the rise, he claimed. He said that in the absence of permanent jobs, benefits such as Provident Fund and Employees State Insurance Scheme were only on paper in a majority of organisations.‘Pathetic condition’ read more.
* Industry to push for ‘mega textile cluster’ status:
If all goes well, the country’s biggest man-made fabric hub in the city may get the coveted ‘mega cluster’ status from the union textile ministry, Government of India in 2013.
A team led by textile secretary Kiran Dhingra, joint secretary Sunaina Tomar and textile commissioner A B Joshi are visiting the city on December 28 to check the possibilities of setting up mega cluster.
The authorities will visit the textile processing and weaving units in the city and will hold discussions with the industry stakeholders at Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI).
The mega textile cluster under the cluster development programme of the ministry of textiles would help weavers in all ways – right from procurement of raw material to realizing better price for the goods produced by them.
The scheme would help them by way of technology upgradation, product diversification, raw material bank, credit, market development, corpus fund for yarn procurement and supply of dyes and chemicals besides several other benefits.
* Spinning mills fault power utilities on FSA:
The Andhra Pradesh Spinning Mills’ Association has urged the State government to direct power utilities to levy fuel surcharge adjustment (FSA) on the industry for variation in fuel cost and not on cross subsidy, capital cost and arrears.
The current FSA, fixed on the basis of capital costs, cross subsidy and arrears is “absolutely unreasonable and unethical” and was against the principle of fair pricing. FSA burden with reduced power availability had totally crippled the textile industry in the State and led to a situation of “gloom”. read more.
16:57:56 local time PAKISTAN
* High prevalence of respiratory illnesses in textile workers: study:
A recent study shows a high prevalence of various respiratory illnesses and symptoms among textile workers in the city.
The study titled ‘Pattern and predictors for respiratory illnesses, symptoms and lung functions among textile workers in Karachi’ was conducted by the Aga Khan University’s (AKU) department of community health sciences in collaboration with the University of Alabama’s School of Public Health.
Published in an online foreign journal, the study is a cross-sectional survey of 372 adult men working in spinning and weaving sections of 15 textile mills in Karachi — one each from Korangi/Landhi industrial areas and North Karachi industrial area, two from Federal B. Area’s industrial area, four each from the Sindh Industrial Trading Estate and the SITE area on the Superhighway. One textile mill each from Ittehad town, Baldia town and SITE Nooriabad were also included.
Findings of the study show that there is a high prevalence of various respiratory illnesses and their symptoms in textile workers. The symptoms include shortness of breath (46.8 pc), frequent wheezing (39.8pc), byssinosis — a chronic asthma like narrowing of the airways generally caused by exposure to cotton processing — (10.5pc), chest tightness (33.3pc), chronic phlegm (12.9pc) and chronic cough (7.5pc). read more.
* ‘Power cuts to leave millions jobless on 28th’:
The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) on Monday protested strongly against the disconnection of power supply to the textile industry for an indefinite period and warned to lay off 10 million textile workers in the Punjab on December 28 if the supply was not restored.
After an urgent general body meeting of the Aptma, its chairman Shahzad Ali Khan told a press conference that it was a black day in the history of Aptma. He said power to the entire textile sector was suspended on Saturday. “Never before it happened in such a manner,” he said. read more.
* Punjab textile mills suffer $125m loss on power, gas supply cut:
The textile industry in Punjab has incurred production loss of $125 million since disconnection of electricity and gas supply over the last five days.
The textile industry in Punjab is losing $25 million a day due to capacity closure.
The uncertainty level is on the rise and the industry is suffering badly due to its bad image on delivery of foreign orders.
APTMA spokesman Aneesul Haq said it was unprecedented in the history of textile industry mills were being deprived of energy supply altogether.
The energy constitutes 35 percent of the conversion cost in spinning, weaving and processing mills.
But no energy is available for either self-generation or through the system on independent feeders. The Punjab-based textile industry has entered into fifth black day due to non-availability of energy supply to the mills.
There is rampant order cancellation and textile mills are facing acute liquidity crunch with every passing day. read more. & read more. & read more.
* APBUMA, APTMA to join hands in launching protest:
Khawaja Muhammad Younus, Chairman of All Pakistan Bedsheets & Upholstery Manufacturers Association (APBUMA) has expressed solidarity with the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) and announced to join hands with it in launching a protest against the unfair suspension of gas and long duration of power loadshedding.
In a press statement issued here on Wednesday, he said unscheduled suspension of gas to textile sector was not acceptable and “we will be resisted at all levels.” He said textile sector was the lifeline of millions of people who could not be left to starve by the unmindful actions like halting gas to the sector.
He further said “we are in consultation with the other esteemed trade bodies like APTMA to workout an effective strategy to counter such heinous initiatives against industry and poor workers of textile sector. to read.
* Protest demonstrations against gas, power loadshedding held:
Industrialists, textile exporters, hosiery manufacturers, powerlooms owners and workers took out various protest processions against the continuation of two-weeklong gas and prolonged electricity loadshedding, which is yielding negative impact over the national economy.
Protestors stated that the suspension of electricity supply to industrial units of Faisalabad will prove to be a last nail in the coffin.
The leaders of Textile Associations have sounded alarm bell of massive closure of industries in Industrial City, in case government fails to address the issue of gas and electricity supply till December 28. Continuation of gas and electricity loadshedding would compel to stop government payments. read more.
* Textile exporters threaten civil disobedience:
Textile exporters have threatened widespread closure of industry in Faisalabad in case the government fails to address the gas and electricity supply issue by Friday.
Addressing a large press conference here on Wednesday, Pakistan Textile Forum Chairman Asghar Ali said that the government’s non-serious attitude was at the root of the problems affecting the country’s textile industry, which has an annual export turnover of $14 billion and employs millions of workers.
While announcing a schedule for future protests, Ali said that the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has given time to the government till December 28 to resolve the issue, failing which the PTEA will take to the streets on the morning of the 29th.
A large protest demonstration will be held at Khurarianwala, and protesters will rally across the city on December 31. If demands are still not met, all industrial units will be shut down, and millers will stop paying all government taxes and dues.
* Ministry expresses concerns on textile power woes:
Ministry of Textile Industry on Wednesday expressed serious reservations over the power suspension to the textile industry and urged the Ministry of Water and Power and Petroleum and Natural Resources to review the new load management plan under which power has been suspended to the industry, it is learnt.
Well placed sources in the Ministry of Textile Industry revealed to Business Recorder that Textile Ministry had approached both the ministries, arguing that as per the Textile Policy (2009-14), the government had agreed to exempt the textile sector from power and gas loadshedding.
This industry contributes about 80 percent to total export earnings of the country, directly or indirectly, therefore the new plan under which power and gas supply has been curtailed to the industry should be reviewed and energy supplied as per commitment. read more.
* Government appealed to restore power, gas supplies: LCCI supports APTMA’s stance:
Endorsing Aptma’s stance on energy crisis, the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has appealed to the government to restore supply of power and gas properly to the Punjab industries to save millions of jobs.
The LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that the government has indicated closure of power for over a month, the industries are left with no other choice but to lay off millions of workers till the power supply and gas supply will fully restore.
He said that Aptma has already announced to relieve its workers because of total closure of their mills while other affected sectors would soon follow the suit. He said justice demands that all provinces should be treated equally in supply of these important utilities.
He said that gas closure had already put the jobs of over 15 million people and exports of around $14 billion at stake.”Government would have to reset its priorities regarding provision of gas otherwise situation would go out of hands”, he mentioned.