in the news on-line, 14 March 2013

JUSTICE FOR FASHION VICTIMS

21:15:00 local time map of china CHINA

* China’s income gap needs new solution:

China’s economic rise has brought fortunes to many Chinese people, but there are still millions of Chinese living below the poverty line. We show you just how wide can be among ordinary people in China.

Jia Haixia was not born in Guangzhou. She’s one of the tens of thousands of people who move to the booming city every year to share in its prosperity.
Jia Haixia said, “Guangzhou has flourishing economy, and offers many opportunities for people in my field of expertise, which is foreign legal affairs and capital management, I think this is a place for people to realize their dreams.”  read more.

20:15:00 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Vietnam to host 4th ASEAN Traditional Textile Symposium:

Vietnam will host the 4 th ASEAN Traditional Textile Symposium, which is expected to see the participation of more than 200 international and domestic guests and 100 traditional weavers from 10 ASEAN nations, Canada, Japan, India and the US from March 15-18.

The event, themed “Traditions, Innovations and Interactions: Paving a Creative Path for Traditional Textiles of Southeast Asia”, will be held in the northern province of Thai Nguyen .
Vietnam will be represented by members of the Vietnam Textiles Association, craftsmen from traditional weaving villages of 11 ethnic groups , designers, manufacturers and researchers.  read more.
TUOITREnews

20:15:00 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Hun Sen Says Wage Changes Are Not Up to Government:

Prime Minister Hun Sen said Monday that the government has no role in setting the minimum wage, as Cambodia is a market-driven economy, and shot down unnamed people who have been calling for the government to significantly raise the country’s floor wage of $61.

“It is impossible to make such a requirement,” he said, just one day after Kem Sohka, deputy president of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party rallied hundreds of garment workers and promised a minimum wage of $150 should his party be elected to power.

“For those who said the government must pay this payment or that payment, it is wrong. That is not how a market economy works,” he said. “The requirements of a market economy are based on the enterprise’s profits.”

Representatives of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) have previously said that factory owners cannot afford the minimum wage increases being proposed by labor unions, and called instead for a free-market approach, in which wages would rise as factories compete for the country’s limited supply of labor.

But Dave Welsh, country manager of the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, said that on matters of national policymaking, such as setting the minimum wage, the government must make the ultimate decision.  read more.
The Cambodia Daily

 21:15:00 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* State companies accused of exploiting workers:

An alliance of labor unions has denounced worker exploitation at several state-owned enterprises, demanding that the government bring an end to such practices and force the companies to comply with the existing labor law.

The unions also criticized the targeting of labor unions at state owned enterprises, saying that the companies should set a good example to the private sector.

The alliance, Geber BUMN, comprises the Indonesian Workers Organization (OPSI), Indonesian Workers Union Association (Aspek), Unity of Action for Indonesian Workers (Kasbi), Indonesian Power Company (PLN) Workers Union and the Federation of Merpati Workers (FPM).  read more.
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21:15:00 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Malaysia Raises Concerns Over Market Access For Textiles At TPP Negotiations:

Malaysia raised concerns over market access for textiles during the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) multilateral trade negotiations here and hopes there would be a good outcome to it.

Chief Negotiator of Malaysia, J.Jayasiri said:”As you know the coverage in the TPP negotiations is very wide, including market access, disciplines in intellectual property and investments.
“Our interest is mainly in market access. We currently have some difficulties in certain markets, and one sector that we have always highlighted is textiles.
read more.
BERNAMA

19:15:00 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* The deadly cost of cheap clothing:

Workers put the bodies in line as they bury unclaimed bodies from an accidental fire in a mass funeral at a grave at Jurain in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The government handed over the bodies of 52 unidentified workers to Anjuman Mofidul Islam (a social organization) for burial after taking DNA samples.  More than 100 people were killed after a devastating fire took place at Tazreen Fashions Limited garment factory at Nischintapur, in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, late on 24 November 2012. Abir Abdullah

Both man-made arson and accidental fires are an omnipresent threat bringing death and injury to the working class communities of Dhaka in the basti (slum), garment factories and the shopping malls. Corrupt officials who ignore building codes, and greedy businessmen who bypass fire protection have both home and work spaces are death traps. Because the city has grown too quickly, lack of fire safety precaution is everywhere.

The impact, however, is most visible in the garment industry of Bangladesh, which is also the country’s most successful business sector, earning $19 billion from exports last year alone. Factory fires have killed 600 garment workers since 2005.

Global headlines came with the horrific fire at Tazreen Fashion factory in November 2012. At least 112 people were confirmed dead in the fire (and activists claim more bodies were “disappeared” by authorities), making it the deadliest factory fire in the nation’s history. 53 workers bodies could not be identified due to severe burns and were buried in mass grave. read more and see more photo’s.

* Call upon Tazreen brands to deliver the goods:

C&A

Three months after the fire at Tazreen, many families of the 112 dead workers are still waiting for compensation. The majority of the workers with injuries from the flames are also barely able to live from hand to mouth without help. So far the amounts paid by the brands are made up out of whole cloth, they are far from full and fair compensation.

It doesn’t have to be so difficult: within one month after a fire killed eight workers at Smart Export, not far from the Tazreen factory, two brands sourcing from this factory negotiated a compensation package with local unions.  They illustrate how brands can very well show their responsibility. Tell the Tazreen buyers C&A, Kik, WalMart and Li&Fung to follow this good example!

Last week, C&A said it wanted to meet with the Bangladeshi trade unions that support the Tazreen victims. Now it’s time for them, and the other brands involved, to negotiate a full and fair compensation, and to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety agreement to ensure no more workers will die while making their clothes.
Take action!Read & Support & Sign Please here.
CCC

* RMG exports go up by 10pc:

Exports of ready-made garments (RMG) have registered satisfactory growth during the July-February period of the current fiscal defying the global recession and political turmoil at home, industry insiders said.

According to an official figure, RMG exports posted a growth of 10.13 per cent during the July-February of the current fiscal compared with the growth of 13.37 per cent during the corresponding period of the previous year.
Bangladesh is the biggest RMG exporters after China and it fetched over $19 billion from export of garment in last fiscal year accounting for nearly 80 per cent share of its export basket.

This was possible due to certain favorable factors like aggressive entrepreneurship of garments owners, dedication of the workers, low wage level, value addition of apparels and reliability of the global buyers, Abdus Salam Murshedy, President of Exporters Association told The New Nation yesterday. read more.
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* India refutes new CVD on BD apparel exports:

No new Countervailing Duty (CVD) has been imposed in the Indian Union Budget 2013-14 on Ready Made Garment (RMG) imports into India. The CVD of 12.36 per cent  which existed on RMG imports in 2012-13 continues without any change, according to a report published in fibre2fashion.com, an India based fashion marketing web site disclosed.

India has granted duty-free, quota-free access to 46 textile tariff lines of greatest sensitivity to Bangladesh which was notified on 6 September 2011. Subsequently, with effect from 9 November 2011 India granted duty-free, quota-free access to all items except tobacco and alcohol and their products to SAARC LDCs, including Bangladesh.
The above notifications provide ‘national treatment’ to exports from Bangladesh to India. In the present instance, Countervailing Duty is a Duty which is charged in lieu of Excise Duty which is payable by Indian manufacturers. Levy of CVD provides a level playing field to imported goods on par with locally manufactured products. The CVD that is already in existence is non-discriminatory and non-country specific.
read more.
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* Govt to urge India to waive countervailing duty on Bangladeshi RMG:

The commerce ministry plans to seek a waiver of the countervailing duty on Bangladesh’s garment exports to India to cut trade imbalance between the neighbouring countries.

The commerce ministry will send a letter to its Indian counterpart today asking for a level-playing field for Bangladeshi garment exporters, Shawkat Ali Waresi, a joint secretary of the ministry, told The Daily Star.
At present, Bangladeshi RMG exports to India bear a countervailing duty of 12.36 percent, which the local Indian products do as well under the guise of excise duty.
A countervailing duty is a duty imposed on imports to offset subsidies accorded to producers in the exporting country, in a bid to bring the imported price to its true market price.
The non-country specific countervailing duty has existed for long on India’s garment imports.  read more.
daily star bd

* Govt to inject Tk 4bn to jute sector in FY13:

The government is trying to rejuvenate the jute industry by injecting Tk 4 billion in the current financial year (FY) as loan to jute exporters.

Each of four state-owned banks will allocate Tk 1 billion under the auspices of the Banking Division of the Ministry of Finance, according to a decision that came from a meeting held with all the stakeholders at the secretariat recently.
Meanwhile, private sector jute exporters demanded immediate release of subsidy amounting to Tk 5.88 billion for jute exports which remained pending with the finance ministry.  read more.
DAILY SUN

* DU gets CSR course outline:

AAMS Arefin Siddique, vice-chancellor of Dhaka University, attends a programme to present the CSR course outline, jointly developed by the university, Manusher Jonno Foundation and MRDI, to the faculties of business studies, social science and the IBA of the university in Dhaka yesterday. Hasibur Rahman, executive director at MRDI, was also present.

Academic intervention is essential to generate workforce with clear understanding of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as it is drawing increasing attention in the business world, experts said yesterday.
They spoke at the CSR course outline handing over ceremony to the faculties of business studies, social sciences and the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) of Dhaka University.  read more.
daily star bd

18:45:00 local time map of india INDIA

* 4 trapped factory workers die in shoe unit blaze:

Four labourers, including a 13-year-old child, were killed and an 18-year-old critically injured after a fire broke out at an illegal shoe unit in a residential area of Mangolpuri, Outer Delhi, early on Tuesday. Five fire tender battled the blaze for two hours.

The police have arrested factory owner Rajpal and supervisor Amar Singh and booked them for causing death due to negligence, a police officer said. He said deaths happened because of suffocation, not burns. A short circuit in the electricity meter set off the blaze, an officer said.

Neighbours said the house had been locked from outside to avoid detection and the labourers couldn’t escape. An electrical wire danging outside the building, suspected to be the source of fire, worsened matters.

The deceased were identified as Salman (13), Kuldeep (22), Chandrashekhar (20) and Rajkumar (25). Salman’s sister told the police that she had finished her shift and was headed home when she met her brother who told her he was on a double shift as the owner had promised more money. Salman had been working to support his family after his father’s death. Fire official received a call around 3.30am and fire tenders were scrambled. read more.
TOInew

* Four charred to death in fire in shoe factory:

Four young men were charred to death and another critically injured when a major fire broke out in a shoe factory in Outer Delhi in the wee hours of today, fire brigade officials said.

The blaze was reported from the factory located in Mongolpuri at around 3:30 AM and fire tenders were rushed to the spot.
The fire gutted three floors of the factory and rescue workers found five persons inside the debris.

All of them were rushed to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital where the four — aged between 13 to 25 years — were declared brought dead. 19-year-old Mithilesh was critically injured and undergoing treatment.

The fire brigade took about an hour to douse the fire.
Investigators said the labourers died due to suffocation as they could not escape from the building because of an electric wire hanging outside it.
A case has been registered and investigations are on to ascertain the cause of fire.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Indian garment exporters seek enhanced presence in Europe:

Intending to boost its presence in leading European markets, India’s Apparel Exports Promotion Council (AEPC) would participate in the buyer-seller meets scheduled to be held at Copenhagen, Denmark on May 6, at Iksat, Denmark, on May 7 and in London, UK on May 9 and 10. 
Apparel exporters would convene a meeting with members of Garment Importers Association of Denmark, and would meet key buyers at the association’s Iksat based office.  read more.
fibre2fashion

* Reebok scam: One accused gets bail:

Punjab and Haryana high court has granted bail to one of the four accused in the Rs 870 crore Reebok fraud case that is being investigated by the city police.

Police had filed a chargesheet in the case naming former Reebok managing director Subhinder Singh Prem, ex-COO Vishnu Bhagat and several others including Sanjiv Mishra.
The court was hearing Mishra’s petition seeking bail in which he had submitted that he did not have a major role in the case. The police probe had revealed that Mishra was working as manager in one of the company’s warehouses. read more.
TOInew

* Cotton body against using inventory to control prices:

Cotton Association of India (CAI) has urged the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) not to use its inventory for controlling prices in the market.

“The CCI should not support the private textile industry alone. It should sell cotton to any entity – be it a mill, trader, exporter or foreign buyer, whoever offers the highest price for its cotton on a given day,” said Dhiren N. Sheth, President, CAI.
Last week, the Cotton Textile Export Promotion Council (Texprocil) requested the Government to direct CCI to offload a portion of their stock to bring down domestic prices which breached international prices.  read more.
Return to frontpage

* Indian cotton body reacts on textile sector plea to Govt:

The Cotton Association of India (CAI) has reacted strongly against the recent plea by certain segments of the Indian textile sector, with regards to government’s intervention in cotton supply.

Dhiren Sheth, President of CAI, said, “It is the opinion of CAI that Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) should not be supporting the private textile industry alone. CCI needs to maximize its return and therefore, it should be selling cotton to any entity – be it a mill, a trader, an exporter or a foreign buyer whoever offers the highest price for its cotton on a given day.”  read more.
fibre2fashion

* Silk board preparing for zero imports in 10 years:

The Central Silk Board, upbeat about the recent increase in customs duty on raw silk import, says it wants to wipe out imports by 2022 with a string of pro-grower measures.

It has begun, according to silk board member-secretary Ishita Roy.
“Just five years ago our dependence on [silk from] China was around 10,000 tonnes. It has now reduced to 5,700 tonnes. We hope exports will start picking up,” she said.

Exports in 2011-12 were worth Rs. 2,523 crore. Days after the Finance Minister raised the duty from 5 per cent to 15 per cent in the Budget, there is a buoyant sentiment in the silk growing industry and it will start telling on the prices in the domestic market, Ms. Roy told a news conference here on Wednesday.  read more.
Return to frontpage

* Textile bandh enters fifth day:

The textile bandh launched against the imposition of high rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) by the wholesale and retail textile merchants entered the fifth day on Wednesday.

The strike, meanwhile, is gaining sympathy from people belonging to different walks of life who are visiting the ‘dharna’ camps of the merchants at Jawahar Road and Ahmedi Bazar to express their solidarity.
The Opposition parties such as the BJP, the Left and the TRS have already expressed their support to the bandh, demanding the abolition of the tax.
Nizamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry representatives Bhaktavatsalam Naidu and Hariprasad also expressed their solidarity to the striking businessmen on Wednesday.  to read.
Return to frontpage

* What is killing our weavers?  :

While Indian handlooms are being celebrated the world over, back home in Andhra Pradesh, weaver suicides continue due to abject poverty and lack of avenues to better their living conditions.

Clad in nine yards of stunning Indian handloom, Vidya Balan has branded herself as the quintessential Indian beauty today. The Sabyasachi saris that transformed her from a fashion disaster to an elegant diva, sell like hot cakes.
Hyderabadi designer Gaurang Shah’s handwoven saris that are adorned by the likes of Tina Ambani and Kirron Kher are priced at anything above a neat `1,00,000. Such is the demand of Indian weaves and handloom, that our designers take great pride in showcasing them at Paris, Milan or New York.
And each piece of cloth has a story to tell. But dig deep into the tale of Andhra Pradesh’s looms and you’ll find nothing short of a tear-jerker. And Puttapaka weaver Shravan Kumar’s is one such sad story.

Just weeks before his master-weaver uncle Gajam Anjaiah was to be conferred with the Padma Shri for his contribution to arts, the 36-year-old handloom weaver, Shravan Kumar, committed suicide by hanging himself. It was mounting debts that drove him to take such an extreme step.
(….)
Living hand to mouth
Shravan’s story is not an isolated one. Even basic sustenance is a challenge for most weavers in Andhra Pradesh, which is home to around 3,50,000 looms. “each loom is worked on by one family, and their collective income is not enough to take care of even their basic needs,” says master weaver Gajam Anjaiah. “In my village of Puttapaka, there are around 400 families who are into weaving. The average income of a four-member family is between `2,000 to `5,000, per month. At times, it’s lesser than `1,500.  read more.
TOInew

18:45:00 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* ‘Sri Lankan garment sector needs to revisit wage formula’:

The wages in the Sri Lankan apparel sector have not risen at the same pace as the growth in GDP, export earnings or cost of living, and hence, there is a need to revise the wage formula, a noted economist has said.
Speaking at a seminar on “Foreign Investments & Garment Industry: What’s Wrong, Where”, Dr. Nishan De Mel, Director of Verite Research, suggested that wage increases be tied to net export earnings per worker.
The Sri Lankan apparel sector registered remarkable growth in terms of net export earnings per worker in 2011 and 2012, but wage rises have not been at par with export earnings, Dr. De Mel said. read more.
 fibre2fashion

* Lumiere opens door to fashion orders:

Lumiere, the state-of-the-art knitted fabric manufacturing facility in Sri Lanka, which commenced operations a few months ago, has provided a unique opportunity to all garment manufacturers serving fashion orders. Hitherto garment manufacturers were hesitant to undertake these (fashion) orders despite the potential for better margins.

This is due to many difficulties faced in fabric sourcing which mainly stem from the smaller quantities needed for these orders. The fabric manufacturers on one hand are reluctant to undertake smaller quantities and on the other hand the lead time taken to produce these quantities is also comparatively more. This is against the market requirement, which is to deliver the quantities in double quick time.

Having identified this gap in the market need and the industry capacity to fulfill it, Lumiere has made a timely investment in a number of small capacity dyeing machines. All of them are high temperature jets of world renown Sclavos manufactured in Greece. Lumiere’s investment in these machines is such that it can produce up to 600 batches of smaller quantities between 50m to 200m per month. To facilitate this high small quantity production, Lumiere lab is equipped with high precision ‘Mathis’ Labomat machines from Italy which could produce up to 5280 submissions of lab dips per month.  read more.

18:15:00 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

 * Textile exporters facing shortage of raw materials:

The market is witnessing shortage of raw materials for the value-added textile sector, particularly polyester yarn, as importers have stopped clearing their shipments because of the uncertainty regarding new taxes.

Javed Bilwani of Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA) said that around 1,200 containers of raw materials were stuck at the port and importers failed to get them cleared, as there had been no notification of reducing five percent withholding tax on raw material imports as committed by the chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

The export-oriented textile sector is facing shortage of raw materials including yarn, dyes and chemicals etc., while the prices of these items have also surged, exporters said.  read more.
thenews.com.pk

* Fresh levies on raw material: zero-rated sectors to hold countrywide protests:

Five zero-rated sectors have announced countrywide protests against imposition of 2 percent sales tax and five percent withholding tax on import of raw material. Addressing a joint press conference at PHMA House on Wednesday, representatives of five zero rated sectors associations announced that their decision to hold first protest today (Thursday) at Karachi Press Club.

“All industries of five zero rated sectors will be compelled to go on strike, if SRO 154(I)/2013 dated 28th February, 2013 is not withdrawn by the Federal Board of Revenue in two days, they added. The joint press conference was addressed by Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association Chairman Jawed Bilwani, Pakistan Leather Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association Chairman Fawad Ijaz, Pakistan Towel Manufacturers Association Chairman Mehtab Chawla, Pakistan Bedwear Exporters Association Chairman Zain Basheer, Pakistan Readymade Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association Zonal Chairman Shafiq, Kamran Chandna, Jabbar Ghajiani, Amir Hyder But and others.  read more.

* Textile sector comes out swinging against FBR’s new taxes:

The value-added textiles sector launched an all-out offensive against the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Wednesday, saying that the tax collection body should stop its anti-taxpayer policy.

Representatives of the sector targeted the FBR here at a press conference against the issuance of SRO 154, and say they have planned to stage a protest outside the Karachi Press Club on Thursday.

“We want the FBR to withdraw SRO 154, because this will not only tie up huge refunds with the FBR, but also discourage the formal and registered value-added textile sector,” Pakistan Central Hosiery Manufacturers Central Chairman Jawed Bilwani told The Express Tribuneread more.
The Express Tribune

* Textile profit reaches Rs13.2b as China stockpiling yarn:

Profitability of textile units has reached Rs13.2 billion in first half of fiscal year 2012-13 as compared to Rs1.1 billion in the same period last year as China continues to stock more and more yarn.

Industry experts said that the multifold increase in profitability is primarily on the back of higher regional demand and absence of inventory losses that turned many loss-making companies into profits.

On quarterly basis, profitability of 70 listed textile mills, representing 97 per cent of the market capitalization (excluding Azgard Nine) has improved by 29 per cent to Rs7.4 billion in 2QFY13 as compared to Rs5.8 billion last quarter and loss of Rs0.1 billion loss in the same quarter last year.  read more.
The Nation Newspaper Pakistan

* Textile sector’s profits multiply 12-fold:

Profits of textile companies multiplied 12 times in the first half of fiscal year 2012-13, reaching Rs13.2 billion compared to Rs1.1 billion in the same period of previous fiscal year, says a research paper of Topline Securities.

In FY13 to date, the listed textile sector has given 70% price return, outperforming the 30% return of the Karachi Stock Exchange 100-share index.
The brokerage house assessed the financial results of a sample of 70 listed textile companies (excluding Azgard Nine) that represented 97% of the sector’s stock market capitalisation, estimated at more than Rs100 million each.

“We continue to see the sector under a favourable light with our conviction coming from consistent regional textile demand (especially for yarn) and downward sticky cotton prices. Further support to profitability is likely to come from the rupee depreciation, lower finance cost and improved gas supply beyond winter,” it said.
read more.
The Express Tribune

map of Asia

HEADLINES TODAY:

CHINA
* China’s income gap needs new solution:

VIET NAM
* Vietnam to host 4th ASEAN Traditional Textile Symposium

CAMBODIA
* Hun Sen Says Wage Changes Are Not Up to Government

INDONESIA
* State companies accused of exploiting workers

MALAYSIA
* Malaysia Raises Concerns Over Market Access For Textiles At TPP Negotiations

BANGLA DESH
* The deadly cost of cheap clothing
* Call upon Tazreen brands to deliver the goods
* RMG exports go up by 10pc
* India refutes new CVD on BD apparel exports
* Govt to urge India to waive countervailing duty on Bangladeshi RMG
* Govt to inject Tk 4bn to jute sector in FY13
* DU gets CSR course outline

INDIA
* 4 trapped factory workers die in shoe unit blaze
* Four charred to death in fire in shoe factory
* Indian garment exporters seek enhanced presence in Europe
* Reebok scam: One accused gets bail
* Cotton body against using inventory to control prices
* Indian cotton body reacts on textile sector plea to Govt
* Silk board preparing for zero imports in 10 years
* Textile bandh enters fifth day
* What is killing our weavers?

SRI LANKA
* ‘Sri Lankan garment sector needs to revisit wage formula’
* Lumiere opens door to fashion orders

PAKISTAN
* Textile exporters facing shortage of raw materials
* Fresh levies on raw material: zero-rated sectors to hold countrywide protests
* Textile sector comes out swinging against FBR’s new taxes
* Textile profit reaches Rs13.2b as China stockpiling yarn
* Textile sector’s profits multiply 12-fold

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

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