12:30:40 local time CHINA
* China to increase state cotton sales next month:
China, the world’s top cotton consumer, will increase sales from state reserves of the fibre from April, in a bid to boost dwindling domestic supply, a government official said in a speech published Wednesday.
To help meet demand from textile mills, Beijing will step up sales from its bulging reserves, particularly of high-quality cotton, beginning in April, Li Yan of the country’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, told a meeting on Tuesday, but gave no further details.
Cotton supplies have been under pressure as a result of China’s controversial state stockpiling policy, which has seen the government buy nearly 10 million tonnes, or about 60 per cent of global cotton stocks, since 2011. read more.
* Labor shortages, rising rents, falling sales:
Nation’s entrepreneurial hub finds it hard to adapt to changing business conditions
It’s early afternoon. The weather is getting warmer. The dusty roads in the shoemaking capital of China are empty except for a few teenagers in bizarre hairstyles and gaudy attire that make them look more like punk rockers than, well, jobseekers.
They aren’t looking for jobs at nightclubs. There are none in this neighborhood of factories and more factories making shoes by the million.
A few years ago, such unconventional teenagers wouldn’t have stood a chance of landing a job in any factory here. They probably wouldn’t even have got past the gate.
But times have changed. Employers have not become more tolerant, but are faced with the big problem of finding enough people to work for them.
The labor shortage is troubling factory owners in industrialized coastal regions from Tianjin to Foshan in Guangdong province. But the problem is hitting Wenzhou particularly hard simply because of the harsh working conditions in many factories churning out copious quantities of small goods and selling them to overseas buyers at razor-thin profit margins. read more.
* Lady sparks interest in home brands:
Chinese fashion label Exception is leading an unexpected surge in interest in domestic fashion brands after Peng Liyuan was spotted wearing the label during a four-nation state visit with President Xi Jinping, also her husband.
Footage of Peng stepping off a plane wearing a double-breasted black coat and carrying a leather handbag quickly went viral online, with Peng winning praise for her elegance and fashion sense.
“Her handbag will become a hot item!” said “shishangbozhu-YY” on Sina Weibo, China’s major microblogging service.
“Domestic brands are on the road! The Chinese dream is on the road!” said “Chenjiangningv” on Sina Weibo. read more.
11:30:40 local time CAMBODIA
* ‘Triumphant day’ for shuttered garment factory workers:
About 220 workers at the shuttered Kingsland Garment factory in Phnom Penh yesterday received a combined $230,000 in wages and benefits owed to them after their bosses fled in late December, workers and the government said.
Soeung Mon, a Ministry of Social Affairs director, said workers were paid as promised after two vendors, New Archid and Saramax, pledged $145,000 early this month and the factory’s assets were sold.
Workers received between $400 and $1,800 each, Mon added.
Dave Welsh of the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, which helped workers be paid, said it was “a triumphant day”.
“The government insisted that 16 workers who had already taken severance pay… also be included, which was fine, but it meant workers were paid about 94 per cent [of what they were owed],” he said.
Worker Nhek Chenda said she was very happy. “I worked at Kingsland for six years.” to read.
* Unrest in B’desh may push garments to Cambodia:
The ongoing political unrest in Bangladesh continues to upset the country’s garment sector as buyers are now arranging to meet apparel makers in India or China, to avoid the turbulences in Dhaka.
Many buyers have already suspended trips to Bangladesh, and some have even expressed their intention to purchase garments from other countries at higher prices due to the uncertainties in Bangladesh.
If the situation worsens further, it will be difficult to achieve the export target of US $21.53 bln at the end of the current fiscal year, exporters said.
The sector earned US$13.83 bln in the first eight months of the current fiscal year, which is around 3 per cent higher than the target set for the period.
“Buyers are very cautious now,” said a European buyer operating in Dhaka. He had cancelled three trips in the last one month due to shutdowns, he said.
Failing to arrive in Dhaka, the senior officials of the company called the garment makers to meet in India or China, he added.
The buyer has also decided to slash 50 per cent of its orders and shift those to other countries, even at higher prices, to cope with the lead time. read more.
10:15:40 local time NEPAL
* Tripartite committee to review minimum wage:
The government has formed a tripartite committee consisting of representatives from the privaste sector, government and trade unions to review minimum wages.
The government has been mulling a sector-wise minimum wage rate, however, the final course of action will be based on the committee’s recommendation. Presently, the minimum salary is the same across all sectors.
The private sector and trade unions affiliated to political parties have started pressuring the government to start work on revising the salary scale on schedule. As per labour laws, the minimum wage is reviewed every two years. read more.
10:30:40 local time BANGLA DESH
* Action plan finalised for RMG units to ensure fire safety:
The government has finalised a tripartite action plan setting a timeframe for the local ready-made garment (RMG) manufacturers to ensure fire safety and comply with other requirements, officials said.
The move has come following the worst ever fire incident the apparel sector saw in November last that killed 112 workers of the Tazreen garment factory and left many others injured while the Smart factory fire later further underlined the need for an urgent tripartite action.
The action plan has come at a time when Bangladesh is at risk of losing the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) facility for apparel products in the US market on the ground that Dhaka did not make much progress in addressing the issue of workers’ rights. read more.
* BD team appears before USTR hearing today:
Bangladesh will appear before the United States Trade Representatives (USTR) public hearing today (Thursday) on the generalised system of preferences (GSP) facility provided by the US government to Dhaka.
The Bangladesh delegation left Dhaka on March 25 for Washington to clarify country’s position to the USTR for retaining the GSP facilities.
The USTR will hold the public hearing on workers’ rights situation in Bangladesh on the basis of the observation made by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organisations (AFL-CIO). read more.
* 50 garment workers fall sick after taking food:
At least 50 workers of a readymade garment (RMG) unit in Ashulia were hospitalised as they fell sick after taking food given to them reportedly by the factory authorities on Wednesday.
Factory and hospital sources said the workers of `Heun Apparels Ltd` a RMG unit situated at Jamgora, took bread, egg and banana served to them by the factory authorities at about 8pm.
Following the intake of the food, 50 workers fell sick one after another.
The sick workers were admitted to Ashulia Nari O Shishu Hospital, Doctors` General Hospital and Nightingale Hospital. to read.
10:00:40 local time INDIA
* Special package for weavers, artisans:
State government has launched a special package for weavers, artisans and silk farmers at Aska, about 40 km from here. Under the package, the government would bear the insurance premiums of the beneficiaries under health insurance scheme and Mahatma Gandhi Bunakar Bima Yojana (MGBBY), official sources said on Wednesday.
An amount of Rs 45,000 would also be provided for construction of worksheds and solar lantern to each weaver family in phases.
The landless weavers and artisans would also be provided assistance under the ‘Mo Kudia’ scheme. Similarly, weavers and artisans aged above 60 would be included in Madhubabu Pension Yojana. As part of the package, state Textiles and Handloom Minister Sarojini Hembram distributed solar lantern among 200 weavers families of Ganjam and Nayagarh districts at a function in Aska. to read.
* Tirupur textile exporters feel relief with new order flows:
Rs 20,000-cr industry turns around in first three months of 2013, after 3 years of negative growth; labour, power issues persist
After reporting a decline for three years, the Rs 20,000-crore textile industry at Tirupur, knitwear hub of India, has reported a growth in exports during the first three months of 2013.
Iry has attributed the growth to new markets, explored in the past 10-12 months. Meanwhile, labour and power shortages are going to be major obstacles, say industry representatives.
Exporters from this town, about 450 km from Chennai, said the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) expected to be signed anytime with the European Union, would help them compete with Bangladesh, which is now enjoying duty-free benefits.
10:00:40 local time SRI LANKA
* India eases restrictions on SL exports:
India yesterday announced that it would raise the quota on apparel exports from Sri Lanka under duty free concessions from five million pieces to eight million, while textile exports to India would be slapped a lower 5 percent duty from the earlier 11 percent. India also doubled the validity period for sanitary import permits for processed meat products from 6 months to one year.
“During the visit of Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce, Industry & Textiles, Government of India to Sri Lanka from 3-5 August, 2012 the Government of Sri Lanka had made a request that, in respect of the export of Sri Lankan garments to India under the India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement, the condition of sourcing of fabric from India for 5 million pieces be removed so that the total quota for duty free apparel exports from Sri Lanka to India becomes 8 million pieces, without any condition on fabric sourcing,” the Indian High Commission said in a statement yesterday (27). read more.
09:30:40 local time PAKISTAN
* Pay tax or face trial for Rs300 bn discrepancies, textile mills told:
The tax authorities have unearthed huge discrepancies to the tune of Rs300 billion in the sales record of textile giants and have now fixed March 31, 2013 deadline for making payments of agreed due tax at the rate of 2 percent or face prosecution.
The FBR has disclosed the names of major tax defaulters allegedly involved in tax evasion. “We have estimated that the first 300 textile units will have to pay 90 percent of due tax to the tune of Rs10 billion,” a senior official of FBR disclosed to The News here on Wednesday. read more.
* Market access constraint hampers textile sector growth:
Head of the Economics Department, Embassy of France in Pakistan, Marc Murcia visited All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab on Wednesday.
Chairman APTMA Punjab Shahzad Ali Khan welcomed him at the APTMA Punjab office while Senior Vice Chairman APTMA Punjab Mian Mahmood Ahsan, S M Imran and other Executive Committee members were also present on the occasion.
Chairman APTMA Punjab said the APTMA members travel to Europe frequently. He urged the French envoy to ensure easier visa facility for APTMA members to increase bilateral trade between the two countries.
Head of International Trade Committee Amir Fayyaz made a detailed presentation on APTMA. He said APTMA was established in 1957 and number of members has reached 395. Sustainable Production Centre, Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Initiative, Cotton Research, Support & Management, Textile Education and Better Cotton Initiative are a few major steps taken APTMA recently in the larger interest of its members, he added. Further, APTMA is very active on Corporate Social Responsibility under the APTMA Welfare Foundation. read more.
* Zero-rated apparel textile sector disapproves two percent sales tax:
Zero-rated apparel textile sector doubts whether Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) consulted with the Ministry of Textile Industry, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Industries on the two percent sales tax imposition.
Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA) dispatched letters to the Ministry of Textile Industry, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Industries, showing wonder at whether the FBR has consulted with these ministries on the relevant SRO.
The association said regretfully, “It is surprising that the genuine stakeholders were also not taken on board,” and they feared “the imposition of the subject SRO will no doubt ruin the Textile Export Sector”. Addressing the secretaries of the ministries, the PHMA invited their attention towards the already “adverse” factors striking the value-added textile sector, saying that the entire sector is undergoing financial troubles. read more.
* Chamber backs PRGMEA call for SRO 154 withdrawal:
While putting its weight behind Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) call for withdrawal of 2 per cent sales tax on export-oriented industry, the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Wednesday urged the Federal Board of Revenue to stop taking such anti-business measures that are detrimental to much-needed industrial growth.
In a statement issued here, LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that as per international law and under WTO regime no export sector can be taxed. “Since the whole industry has already rejected the SRO 154, therefore the FBR has no justification to remain stick to this anti-business proposition.” It is unethical the FBR is playing arm-twisting with those who are generating revenue for the government and thus pushing them to wall, the LCCI President said. read more.