19:16:59 local time VIET NAM
* Japan to become Vietnam’s second biggest textile buyer:
Japan will likely surpass the European Union (EU) to become the second largest importer of Vietnam’s textile-garment products in 2013, according to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS).
As per a forecast of VITAS issued last Saturday, Vietnam’s textile-garment exports to Japan will continue to rise nearly 18% this year with a turnover of over US$2.37 billion. Last year, Vietnam exported US$2 billion worth of textile-garment products to Japan, a growth of 17% from 2011.
As such, Japan is forecast to surpass EU to become the second largest textile-garment importer of Vietnam. EU is currently accounting for some 14% of the textile-garment export turnover of Vietnam. read more.
* Garment industry sets high export targets for 2013:
The garment and textile sector has set an export target of US$18.5-19 billion in 2013, said Le Tien Truong, Deputy Director General of Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), at a press briefing recently.
Vinatex will follow a strategy of fast growth, high efficiency, and suitable usage of investment capital in 2013, Truong said.
The garment and textile sector earned $17.2 billion in revenue from exports last year.
Vietnamese made garments are on the list of priorities of many foreign importers, as they are able to compete with developed countries on textiles such as China, Mexico or Bangladesh. read more.
* Garment makers see orders:
Although the economic turmoils have seriously hit the big markets such as European countries and the US, most local textile and garment enterprises have received orders for 2013, according to Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS)
At present, these enterprises have been manufacturing goods for orders made for the new year 2013.
“We have received enough orders for the first half of the year. Our subsidiaries have taken measures to raise labour productivity, in order to deliver goods to customers in due time,” Vietnam Investment Review (VIR) quoted Bui The Kich, Chairman of the Management Board of Dong Nai Garment JSC (Donagamex), as saying.
To fulfill all contracts in 2013, Donagamex has a plan to recruit 1,000 new workers for its factories which have been become operational in the past few months.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 17/1 (3rd item).
19:16:59 local time CAMBODIA
* Workers Supplying Wal-Mart Continue Protests:
About 80 workers from a garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district—which supplies women’s underwear to U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart—protested yesterday, demanding that the factory owner settle their severance payments, workers and union representatives said.
Workers at the Kingsland Garment Cambodia factory were told in September that they no longer had to come to work due to a lack of orders, but that they would be paid 50 percent of their salary each month until work resumed in January, said Phoung Phearum, 23, a worker at the factory.
In December, however, the workers stopped receiving paychecks and a factory union representative told them that the owners had declared bankruptcy and left the country.
As a result, about 200 workers have taken to protesting outside the factory’s gates since January 1. Twenty of those workers are now sleeping outside the factory at night after they caught factory staff attempting to remove the sewing machines in the middle of the night on January 4. read more.
* Cambodia solid, but vulnerable: World Bank:
Although the World Bank has cut its estimate for global growth this year, a report released on Tuesday shows its prediction for GDP growth in Cambodia remains consistent at 6.7 per cent.
The World Bank predicts a continued Cambodian GDP increase of seven per cent in 2014 and 2015.
“Growth prospects in Cambodia are based on achieving the dividends from a focus on higher rice production, inflows of FDI into the growing garment industry and a growing tourism industry,” the World Bank says.
This growth is not without risk, however, as the East Asia Pacific (EAP) region remains vulnerable to a deepening of the European crisis and financial tightening in the US — scenarios that could threaten EAP countries’ exports and capital flows into the region. read more.
* BetterFactories Media Update:
*To read in the printed edition The Cambodia Daily:
* To read in the printed edition Phnom Penh Post:
BetterFactories’ overview. (Welcome back & thanks! 🙂
20:16:59 local time INDONESIA
* Workers’ Refusal on Wage Increase Postponement Threatens Small-Scale Industries:
Employers do not have much choice related to the workers’ refusal to the postponement request of 2013 minimum wages payment.
According to the Chairman of the National Board for the Indonesian Employers Association (DPN Apindo) Anton J. Supit, the ideal employers’ intention is the increasing welfare of the workers, but without shutting down the factory or existing business.
“However, employers’ ability is limited, especially on small and medium enterprises and labor-intensive industries where the labor cost for garment and footwear, as well as other small industries account for about 32% -35%,” he said in response on workers rally plan, Tuesday (1/15).
The workers will hold a rally on Wednesday (01/16), refusing the payment postponement of increased 2013 minimum wage and electricity prices rise.
* Indonesian Workers Protest in Jakarta Over Minimum Wage Delays:
Hundreds of Indonesian workers joined protests in Jakarta today to urge the government to roll back increases in electricity and gas prices that they say are stalling efforts to introduce higher minimum wages.
The energy ministry raised electricity tariffs by 15 percent starting Jan. 1 to help cut subsidy costs by 14 trillion rupiah ($1.45 billion).
The increase has prompted companies to delay the implementation of higher minimum wages, Subiyanto, secretary general of the Confederation of Indonesian Labor Union, said today in an interview in Jakarta. read more.
* Govt sets up task force to prevent massive layoffs:
Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar has formed a task force to prevent massive layoffs by companies due to the increase in the minimum wage (UMP).
“The task force will find a solution by [offering] some facilities, including the postponement of the minimum wage hikes,” he said as quoted by tempo.co on Wednesday. read more.
18:46:59 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Myanmar converts foreign garment firms to FDI businesses:
18:16:59 local time BANGLA DESH
* ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Five more Tazreen staff on CID watch:
Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is now on hot pursuit to arrest five more employees of Tazreen Fashion at Ashulia, on the outskirts of the city, in connection with the factory fire that killed 111 workers last year.
“Five more names came up as suspects during our investigation into the matter and we have already strengthened intelligence vigilance to capture them,” Senior CID ASP and Investigation Officer Monsur Ali Mondol told BSS today.
“We have already recorded statements of 50 workers who suffered injuries in the fire and interrogated six detained staff of the factory as part of our investigation,” he said.
He, however, declined to disclose the names of the five staff and information extracted from the detainees for the sake of investigation. read more.
MORE AND OTHER NEWS:
* Garment buyers under fire:
Some members of European Parliament on Wednesday discussed what action the EU should take following a tragic fire in a Bangladeshi textile factory in November last year.
Paul Murphy, a member of the parliamentary group, known as GUE/NGL, condemned the failure of European big business to keep to its own “moral but useless” code of conduct, according to a statement posted on the group’s website.
“Bangladesh is the world’s second largest clothing exporter. Its clothing trade was worth $19 billion in 2011 alone, with its factories producing for major brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, Calvin Klein, H&M and Walmart. Yet 40 percent of the population live under the poverty line of $1.25 a day. The workers, 85 percent of whom are women, have a minimum wage of $37 a month and are often forcibly prevented from forming trade unions,” he added.
He highlighted that responsibility for the deaths lies with both the owners of these “death trap factories” as well as with European big business. read more.
* European Parliament opens debate on Bangladesh apparel factory conditions:
Against the backdrop of devastating Tazreen fire, the European Parliament has opened discussion on the work and safety conditions in apparel units in Bangladesh.
The discussion will be part of a three-day plenary session of the Parliament, according to European Parliament website. The parliamentarians are expected to discuss pay structure, health and safety at work, trade union, labour rights and corporate social responsibility in apparel making units in Bangladesh.
Earlier on January 9, the European Parliament took a motion for resolution calling on all European retailers whose orders were being processed at the time of the fires to support the local authorities and involve social partners in setting up an adequate and transparent compensation scheme for the victims and their families.
The scheme should be as such that it takes the view to cover the loss of income and damages for the injured and the families of the dead, as well as free medical rehabilitation for the injured and care and education for deceased workers’ dependent family members.
The Parliament will also discuss labour conditions in Pakistan simultaneously. The January 9 motion calls on foreign companies operating in Bangladesh and Pakistan to favour commercial relations with manufacturers that operate in compliance with the basic ILO Conventions and the laws of the two countries. read more.
* ‘Action Plan on Fire Safety’ to be finalized by Feb:
In a major development, the government and other stakeholders in the apparel sector have affirmed to develop a ‘National Tripartite Action Plan on Fire Safety’ by the end of February 2013 aimed at preventing any further loss of life, limb and property due to work place fires.
In a joint statement after a tripartite meeting on fire safety in the work place, they called upon the international and national partners, and stakeholders to assist them in implementing the National Tripartite Action Plan on Fire Safety after its finalisation.
Jointly organised by the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the meeting was attended by National Coordination Committee for Workers’ Education (NCCWE), Bangladesh Employers’ Federation (BEF), BGMEA, BKMEA, Bangladesh National Council (BNC) and other government ministries and departments.
“The tripartite meeting discussed different issues related to fire safety. Following the daylong deliberations, a tripartite statement of commitment was adopted and signed at the meeting,” said an ILO press release. read more. & read more. & read more.
* ‘All to work together to ensure fire safety in workplaces’:
The government, employers, labour leaders and leaders of BGMEA and BKMEA have made a commitment that they would work together to ensure fire safety measures in the country’s workplaces.
* Bangladesh garment exports swell in July-Dec’12:
* TICFA now awaits PM’s approval:
The signing of TICFA with Washington now awaits approval of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina amid strong discord between Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and Ministry of Commerce (MoC) over the labour issues included in the draft agreement.
Top officials in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Bangladesh mission in Washington a few days back suggested signing of the TICFA with the USA and ensuring proper investigation into the murder of labour union leader Aminul Islam to avoid withdrawal of GSP facility in the case of Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, the US has rejected Bangladesh’s proposal seeking ‘gradual or progressive’ implementation of labour standards — freedom of association and effective recognition of workers’ right to engage in collective bargaining — as included in the draft Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (TICFA).
* US congressmen to take up GSP issue to US authorities:
Two influential US congressmen on Tuesday assured Bangladesh that they would take up the GSP issue at appropriate level of the US authorities taking Bangladesh’s best interest into account.
Congresswomen Betty McCollum and Congressman Adams Schiff gave the assurance when Bangladesh Ambassador to the United States Akramul Qader held separate meetings with them as part of the embassy’s efforts to retain US-GSP.
During the meeting, the Bangladesh envoy explained possible catastrophic effects of GSP (Generalized System of Preference) withdrawal that may cause harm to the Bangladesh’s brand name and millions of women workers of the country.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* GSP and our fluctuating trade fortunes:
The generalised system of preferences (GSP) is one of the key administrative arrangements that govern US’s concessions in foreign trade.
The programme was designed in 1976 with a view to promoting economic growth mainly in the developing world. Since its launch, 128 beneficiary countries and territories have received GSP facilities for exporting up to 5,000 products in the US market. Theoretically, Bangladesh could also be among the beneficiaries. Ironically it is not.
In 2011, Bangladesh’s exports to the USA under the GSP scheme were worth $26.33 million compared with India’s $3.7 billion and Brazil’s $2 billion. Analyses of exports under GSP would give an identical picture for these countries in the current and previous years as well. read more.
* ‘Govt working for continuation of GSP facilities from USA’:
The government is sincerely working for continuation of GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) facilities from USA, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Md Faruk Khan said Wednesday.
He said: “USA should continue the GSP facilities for Bangladesh and the facilities should be increased.” read more.
* Country’s denim products export marks 20pc rise in last one year:
Country’s denim sector is flourishing thanks to increasing orders from global buyers turning from countries like China and Turkey to Bangladesh.
Competitive price range with better quality products help increase the orders of denim goods, industry insiders said.
“Export orders for denim are on the rise in the country. The product’s export growth marked a double digit in last one year, because more and more buyers are coming here for denim goods, thanks to low labour costs and better quality”, Managing Director of Argon Denims Anwar-ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez told the FE.
* US retailer Target boss arrives today:
Tim Mantel, president of the US retailer Target, arrives in Bangladesh today (Thursday) to hold discussion with the readymade garment manufacturers in a bid to source more apparel from the country, official sources said.
Target Corporation, is an American retailing company and it is the second largest discount retailer behind Walmart in the United States, according to Wikipedia.
Another four member delegation from Nike, a retailer of US, will arrive in Bangladesh on January 23 to discuss the issues related to RMG sector especially procurement of more garment and workers’ safety that has become a concern in recent times.
* Woven garment exports up 12pc in H1:
Woven garment exports grew by nearly 12 per cent in the first half of the current fiscal year, helped by a shift in orders from China, exporters said.
Woven garment exports rose to $4.971bn during the six months from July to December, up from $4.457bn in the same period of the previous year.
Knitwear accounted for $4.976bn, a rise of 3.85 per cent, according to statistics from the state-run Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
Knitwear exports moved into positive growth in October, amid signs that global buyers are slowly increasing their orders.
The country’s overall exports grew by 7.01 per cent to $12.60bn during the half-year, despite the economic slowdown in the European Union (EU) and the US.
The government has set an export target of $28bn for fiscal year 2013, which began on 1 July 2012. read more.
17:46:59 local time INDIA
* Cotton textile cos’ losses may affect banks:
The cash losses being run up by the Indian cotton textile companies will hit their debt servicing capacity, creating more pain for Indian banks.
The current exposure of the banks to the textile sector is more than R6,000 crore.
In a recent report, Fitch Ratings noted that while the Indian government’s debt restructuring proposal for the textile sector will provide temporary relief from liquidity pressure, it will not stem deterioration in the capital structure of cotton textile companies, most of which are heavily geared.
The textile ministry recently recommended a moratorium on Indian banks on loans extended to textile companies, after cotton textile manufacturers reported operating losses for first half of FY12. read more.
* Vidarbha sees seven farmer suicides this year:
Seven farmers have committed suicide in Vidarbha in the first fortnight of 2013. Two debt-ridden cotton farmers staring at drought-induced crop loss — Sanjay Mohurle, 42, of Dorli village and Ramu Shende, 34, of Manoli village in the Ghatanji tehsil of Yavatmal district — committed suicide on Monday.
With four of the other five suicides also from Yavatmal (one is from Akola), it has underlined yet again how Vidarbha continues to be the epicentre of the agrarian crisis which has forced nearly 8,500 dryland farmers to end their lives across the district due to debt since 2005.
On an average, three farmers kill themselves every 24 hours in the region, which has been reeling under its worst agrarian crisis. read more.
17:46:59 local time SRI LANKA
* More apparel orders to India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka:
Pakistan had to slow down on its high quality apparel exports, maybe due to the high quality apparel exports in Sri Lanka. According to foreign reports, with the power and energy expenses increasing alarmingly in Pakistan, apparel importers are looking towards Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh for their future export orders.
According to reports, Pakistan had not been able to make ends meet with their export orders which had left European importers in an awkward position.
According to reports, 15 to 20% of the orders received to Pakistan had been diverted to Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh.
Speaking to the Secretary of the Joint Apparel Association Forum of Sri Lanka (JAAFSL), Tuly Cooray told the Daily News Business that a market shift of this sought could be possible. “At the moment, we are unaware of an increase in our apparel orders. However, if it was the situation, the market could change and possibly develop. read more.
* India cotton prices likely to rise on export demand:
Cotton prices in India are expected to rise next week on a likely rise in export demand from neighbouring Bangladesh and Pakistan, after remaining steady this week on buying by state-run agencies.
“Exporters are getting good number of queries from Bangladesh and Pakistan. Both countries are ramping up yarn productions,” said Dhirenbhai Khaitan, a trader based in Rajkot. Fibre prices in local markets steadied on buying by state-run Cotton Corporation of India, who had already purchased more than 1.3 million bales of 170 kg each from farmers at pre-agreed rates. read more.
17:16:59 local time PAKISTAN
* Garments sector demands DTRE scrapping:
The upcoming Trade Policy for three years should rescue measures for the readymade garments industry, which was the biggest foreign exchange earner in the country.
Chairman Pakistan Ready-made Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Sajid Saleem Minhas called for scrapping the DTRE (duty and tax remission for export) that allows this type of fabric import for re-export.