12:00:55 local time CHINA
* China’s garment exports up 31.6 pct:
China exported garment and textile products worth 42.3 billion U.S. dollars in the first two months of 2013, up 31.6 percent from last year, according to China National Textile and Apparel Council statistics.
The increase was 34.1 percentage points higher than the same period in 2012 and 8.3 percentage points higher than the country’s overall export growth from January to February, according to the statistics.
Nearly 70 percent of the increase came from export price rises, according to the council. It estimated that garment export prices rose 9.8 percent in January from a year earlier.
“The industry is growing steadily and moving to the higher end of the production chain,” said Wang Tiankai, head of the council. read more. & read more.
* Shoemaking firms urged to be more innovative:
Mayor of China’s ‘footwear capital’ says companies need to do more to reduce massive inventories
China’s footwear makers need to improve their innovative and design capabilities in order to overcome the industry’s ongoing high inventory crisis, according to the mayor of the nation’s “footwear capital”.
Liu Wenru, mayor of Jinjiang, in Fujian province, which produces 20 percent of the world’s sports shoes and 40 percent of domestic supplies, said that it is time for Chinese footwear makers to emphasize innovation and designs as well as to enhance differentiation in marketing to compete with high-end foreign brands.
11:00:55 local time VIET NAM
* EU to allow GSP certificate for Vietnam’s footwear exports:
11:00:55 local time CAMBODIA
* Garment sector: Protests go on in spite of wage rise:
Four days after the Labour Advisory Committee approved a monthly minimum wage increase to $75 starting in May, more than 500 workers at the Su Tong Fang garment factory yesterday demanded that their company begin the wage increase one month early.
Chea Sophat, president of the Cambodian Rights Workers Union Federation, said workers striking in front of the factory asked that the company offer holiday bonuses, seniority benefits and several other perks.
The factory, however, rejected the workers’ requests, Sophat said. “They said they have to follow the government and LAC announcement that the new wages will start in May.” read more.
* PM urges raises tied to growth:
Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday that the government would scrap its recently announced policy to offer civil servants yearly 20 per cent raises in favour of a system in which raises were tied to economic growth – a scheme he said could also apply to workers in the private sector.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh, the premier said the new policy – which would take effect next year – would offer a path to sensible wage increases, unlike past promises by the opposition to increase the salaries of those drawing a government paycheck to a minimum of $250 a month, and garment workers to $150 a month. read more.
11:00:55 local time THAILAND
* There’s no law to charge Somyot:
As Somyot’s case to be brought to Appeal Court on April 1, stiff debate on the Printing Act predicted by Lee Yu Kyung / Bangkok
She is gentle pretty, listening to patiently and soft spoken but articulates things while conversation. “I’m a hot temper, comparing to my husband” argued Ms. Sukunya Prueksakasemsuk however, wife of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, who’s been in jail ever since he was arrested on April 30, 2011. It was days after he launched a petition campaign to collect 10,000 signatures required for a parliamentary review of the draconian lèse-majesté law.
Somyot himself has become lèse majesté convictee afterward. On January 23, the Thai Criminal Court sentenced him 11 years in prison including one year for a defamation charge. The rest of ten years are for the two articles which are deemed to violate Article 112 (lèse-majesté). The life-long activist is now a decade-long prisoner. The verdict has provoked world-wide condemnations including European Union and prominent human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch.
* Soaring wages equals rising prices:
Koda Ltd Executive Director Ernie Koh has a message for clients in 50 countries who complain about the Singapore-based furniture maker’s first price increase in two years: Take it or leave it.
Koda’s factories in China, Malaysia and Vietnam are battling rising costs as governments in Asia increase minimum wages to curb discontent over a widening wealth gap. While weak global growth and increased competition limited the ability of producers to raise prices during the past five years, Koh says they cannot go on absorbing the additional expenses.
“We aren’t even passing on the full costs,” said Koh, who counts United States retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc (WSM), owner of Pottery Barn, and Cost Plus Inc among customers. “Wage escalation in China these past few years has been crazy. We have collective bargaining with the union in Vietnam, and in Malaysia there is a big outcry among manufacturers over the minimum wage.”
Average pay in Asia almost doubled between 2000 and 2011, compared with a 5% increase in developed countries and about 23% worldwide, according to the International Labour Organisation in Geneva. The gain was led by China, where average remuneration more than tripled during the period. Southeast Asia is catching up, with new minimum pay levels in at least five nations eroding companies’ ability to make cheap toys, clothes and furniture. read more.
10:00:55 local time BANGLA DESH
* Gazipur garment workers demand pay hike:
Workers of a garment factory in Gazipur called strike demanding to increase their wages and removal of General Manager of the factory on Tuesday.
They blocked Dhaka-Tangail highway and vandalized some glasses of the factory. SI of Nojur highway police outpost, Iqbal Hossain, said, hundreds of workers of SMH New Generation Apparels Limited at Naojur area under Gazipur City Corporation created demonstration demanding to increase their wages (piece rate) and removal of General Manager of the factory, Nasir Uddin.
The angry workers attacked on the factory and vandalized the glasses and furniture of the factory.On being informed, highway and industrial police took the situation under control. read more.
* Workers agitated by extortion bid:
Workers take to the streets yesterday after an extortionist, Photo:Amran Hossain
demanded money from managers of garment company Khalil Group at Kamalapur in Dhaka. Photo:Amran Hossain
The workers had earlier confined the extortionist to the factory premises and were unwilling to let the police take the man away, fearing “corrupt” officials might let him off.
They barricaded the police vehicle, to stop them leaving the factory compound. The police were finally able to lead the extortionist away. more here.
* RMG exporters face trouble in air shipment due to rush:
Readymade garment exporters, who have failed to send their products to foreign buyers through the Chittagong port due to political unrest and frequent strikes in last few weeks, are also facing trouble in sending the items by air because of huge rush.
The exporters are piling up their products at the cargo village of Hazrat Shah Jalal International Airport and are waiting for freight schedules for a week, exporters and airport sources said.
More than 2,000 tonnes of export products are now remained piled up at the cargo village and of the volume, 98 per cent are RMG products, said freight forwarders.
* Ctg’s share in garment exports on the decline:
Garment exporters in Chittagong expressed concern and called for urgent steps as their contribution to the country’s total apparel exports is slipping below 10 percent.
They said the authorities have to take actions in infrastructure development for the industry to flourish in the port city.
The total exports of garments from Bangladesh in 1991-92 were worth $1.5 billion, with Chittagong’s contribution being $500 million, that is, a third of the nation’s exports.
But, in 20 years’ time, the share dipped to 22.6 percent. In 2011-12, Chittagong’s share was $4.5 billion out of the country’s total exports of $19.89 billion, an exporter said, quoting official figures.
If urgent steps are not taken, this figure would soon drop below 10 percent, said Nasiruddin Chowdhury, the immediate past first vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
Garment factories should be relocated outside the city as has been done in a planned way in places like Ashulia, Gazipur and Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka with proper infrastructure development, said another exporter. read more.
* Journey of a small entrepreneur:
Mustafa Imrul Quayes, managing director of Versatile Attire Ltd, was all worked up over a phone conversation with a clearing and forwarding agent.
The small garments entrepreneur was concerned as the fabrics would not arrive in his factory in due time due to a long-queue at Petrapole, the Indian side of Benapole land port.
The C&F agent said it might even take 12 days to bring fabrics to the Savar-based factory from Petrapole.
A little later, he called up one of his US buyers, assuring him that he could deliver the apparel items on time despite political turbulence and frequent shutdowns across the country.
“It should hardly take three days to get the fabrics after customs from both the land ports,” said a frustrated Quayes says. He imports fabrics from India to execute orders for buyers in the US and Europe. read more.
* BGMEA will introduce service book in RMG units within three months to document workers’detailed info:
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) will introduce ‘service book’ within three months among its member units to document detailed information of the apparel workers.
The apparel apex body will also introduce the data base-regionally and centrally and BGMEA will centrally monitor the activities.
The association will stop providing further service to the factories that will fail to ensure the introduction of the service book within the stipulated time.
“We have already written to all our members in this regard,” BGMEA President Atiqul Islam told the FE Monday.
We are committed to doing the task by June with an aim to keep records of all the workers including their social and employment conditions in details, he said adding it will help to pinpoint the compliance standard of a unit and take necessary action for further improvement.
The association will take harsh measures like suspension of services in case of failure in introducing the service within the stipulated time, he added.
“The main objective of introducing the book is to ensure transparency in the sector by collecting appropriate information that will enable the workers to establish their legal rights on controversial issues, if any,” an exporter said.
The book will contain the basic information about a worker’s identification including family details, the record about the worker’s service details including the factory and employer, dates of his or her joining or leaving the job and the reasons. read more.
* Tannery relocation looks uncertain, costs to environment mount:
The relocation of tanneries to Savar from Hazaribagh has run into a dead-end due to friction between the industries ministry and Bangladesh Tannery Association (BTA), putting the environment and human lives in danger.
“The tanners have already ruined Buriganga river, the heart of Dhaka. Now, they will do the same to other rivers like Dhaleswari and Shitalakkhya,” said Abdul Matin, general secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, a platform of green activists.
For many years now, the level of oxygen in the waters of Buriganga has been zero, and the ecosystem of Hazaribagh and its adjacent areas is completely damaged, Matin said.
“The relocation of tanneries has become a must. Otherwise, we will not be able to save Dhaka city,” he said, adding that setting up effluent treatment plant (ETP) at Hazaribagh is not viable. read more.
09:30:55 local time INDIA
* Meeting on minimum wages for textile mill workers:
A committee constituted by the State government recently to suggest minimum wages for textile mill workers in the State will visit and have meetings in the southern districts from April 3 to 5.
Chairman of the committee and Deputy Labour Commissioner (DCL) – Coimbatore, R. Balachandran, said that the nine-member panel comprises officials, representatives of textile mill managements, and labour unions. The members will visit the mills at Ambasamudram on April 3 and have a meeting at the office of the deputy labour commissioner, Tirunelveli (for Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Ambasamudram areas) on April 3.
They will visit textile mills at Rajapalayam on April 4 and have a meeting at the office of the DCL, Madurai (for Madurai, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram and Virudunagar areas) the same day. On April 5, they will visit the mills in Dindigul and have a meeting at the office of the DCL, Karur (for Karur and Dindigul areas). The meetings will be held in the afternoon on all the three days. to read.
* Apparel likely to be costlier by 10-15% :
Manufacturers take cautious move to deal with high yarn prices, amid threat of a slowdown in demand
Apparel manufacturers and exporters are considering increasing prices of their products by 10-15 per cent in the next few weeks to get partial relief from rising raw material prices. They are, however, worried if this will dampen demand.
Prices of cotton and cotton yarn have increased significantly over the past two months. While cotton prices have gone up by 14 per cent, that of cotton yarn rose a staggering 22 per cent in the past two months alone. With the current rise, the benchmark Shankar 6 variety of cotton is quoted at Rs 10,940 a quintal. The widely-traded cotton yarn of 30’s count is now quoted at Rs 220 a kg, up from Rs 180 a kg two months ago.
Apparel manufacturers waited for two months for proportionate increase in the prices of their finished products amid expectations of a comeback. However, the price continued its upward spiral even in April, which has exporters with little option but to pass a part of the additional raw material burden on to consumers. read more.
* Rampant pollution killing Cauvery, say TN farmers:
‘Untreated effluents released by textile dyeing units main culprits’
Rampant pollution caused by untreated effluents let into the Cauvery river and its tributaries in Tamil Nadu by mainly textile dyeing units, has resulted in the virtual “death” of large stretches of the river system, according to a conference of farmers and water users.
Among the branch rivers of the Cauvery, “the Noyyal is already a dead river,” flush with raw, untreated effluents, while some other tributaries of the Cauvery are in the intensive care unit, the farmers’ conference held on Saturday, said in a resolution.
* Demand to rollback NREGA wage cut in Bihar:
People’s groups on Monday condemned the Bihar Government’s decision to reduce the wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), terming the move “unprecedented”.
The State recently cut down the MNREGA wages by Rs.6 from Rs.144 to Rs.138 a day, bringing it at par with the Government of India rate.
The National Alliance of People’s Movement in Bihar and People’s Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG) said in a statement that they “strongly condemn the anti-poor stand of the Bihar Government to lower the NREGA wages. The State has not only gone back on its progressive stand to pay the minimum wage to its NREGA workers but has taken an unprecedented step to reduce the existing wage”.
* Textiles Ministry wants extension of interest subvention scheme:
With the financial package for exporters becoming a bone of contention between the Commerce and Finance Ministries, labour-intensive sectors such as handlooms, handicrafts and cotton textiles are crying for attention, and are seeking a quick resolution of issues impacting them to avoid further loss of jobs and closure of manufacturing units.
In the run-up to the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), now rescheduled to be released in the third week of April, instead of the first week earlier, the Textiles Ministry had submitted proposals to the Board of Trade (BoT) and the Finance Ministry for giving a boost to exports from the handloom, handicrafts, cotton textiles and readymade garments sectors.
With exports showing no sign of revival and exporters facing tough competition in various markets, the continued delay in taking decisions for inclusion in the FTP are hurting these sectors badly. read more.
09:30:55 local time SRI LANKA
* India grants greater market access for Sri Lankan apparels:
09:00:55 local time PAKISTAN
* APTMA says it’s full tax-compliant industry:
Acting Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Wisal Monnoo has said that the textile industry is fully tax compliant and responded responsibly to pay Rs 4 billion to the FBR on behalf of unregistered buyers. He said APTMA members are honest and fully law compliant businessmen and there was a wrong impression that textile industry has evaded tax. In actual, it was the liability of the buyer and not the seller.
He said two different tax slabs by the FBR led to registration of bogus companies. Those who claimed as zero rated referred to the FBR website where their names were available as operational and tax compliant companies. According to him, the industry made no mistake by selling raw material to such buyers. He said 95 per cent of the industry has paid outstanding liability and remaining 5 per cent are likely to dispose of the liability by 15th of April. read more.
* Textile industry settles tax issues with FBR:
The textile industry has settled the tax issue with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) after paying Rs4 billion in tax liabilities for the last two years following the implementation of SRO 154.
Two years ago, an SRO was introduced by the FBR in which the export industry of the textile sector was zero rated and five percent sales tax was imposed on locally consumed textile. The FBR then unearthed a sales tax scam.
The textile sector was accused of evading Rs500 billion in taxes. The FBR registered FIRs against the culprits, who reportedly evaded billions in taxes.
* Textile industry not a tax evader: APTMA:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Acting Chairman Wisal Monnoo has said that the textile industry is fully tax compliant and responded responsibly to pay Rs 4 billion to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on behalf of unregistered buyers.
He said APTMA members are honest and fully law compliant businessmen and there was a wrong impression that the textile industry has evaded tax. In actual, it was the liability of the buyer and not the seller. read more.
* APTMA pays Rs4 billion in taxes to ‘save image’ :
Member companies of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) have paid Rs4 billion in taxes in a bid to protect the goodwill of the industry as the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) could not track down manufacturers of finished textile products for collecting 5% withholding tax on exports.
Speaking at a press briefing here on Tuesday, Aptma’s Acting Chairman Wisal Ahmad Mannoo dismissed the perception that Aptma members did not pay due taxes. He cited SRO 154 according to which a refundable tax of 5% should be paid by the company producing end products for export. The SRO does not bind the spinners to pay the tax and their liability is zero.
“Owing to such tax system, people started registering fake companies. They purchased raw material from us and after processing sold it in the local market instead of export. The FBR, after failing to find out these bogus companies, called us and asked to pay the tax, which should actually be paid by the manufacturers of end products,” Mannoo said. read more.
* Textile sector: ‘Crest’ and filing of special return not interlinked:
The Computerised Risk-Based Evaluation of Sales Tax (Crest) and filing of special return by textile sector under SRO.171(I)2013 are not linked to each other, as the Crest is an independent system and special sales tax returns are managed by the FBR Web-Portal.
An official told Business Recorder here on Tuesday that the Crest and filing of special return under SRO.171(I)2013 are two different processes and cannot be mixed. An impression has been created that FBR newly established Crest is not user-friendly. It is further alleged that filing of the special return under SRO 171(I)2013 is fairly complex. In this context information gathered from the tax machinery and the sales tax registered persons, revealed that active problems is with special return and its uploading. read more.
* Faisalabad textile industry suffering:
The textile industry has been registering a huge annual loss of Rs200 billion for the last four years due to the energy crisis and any additional cut in gas supply to industries in Faisalabad would further aggravate the situation, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) in a statement issued on Monday said.
In the statement, PTEA chairman Asghar Ali said the former government was unable to develop a long-term strategy to tackle the energy crisis and as a result the textile industry was suffering heavily.
Bumper cotton production was recorded in the country during this period, however due to gas and power shortage the industry was unable to utilise the crop for value-added production, he said. read more.