in the news on-line, 10 April 2013

01:07:41 local time map of china CHINA

 * China’s workers continue to demand higher pay:

Despite a sharp drop in inflation last month, workers’ demands for higher pay were still the biggest single cause of the 50 strikes and protests recorded on CLB’s strike map in March. Wage arrears and demands for compensation arising from factory relocations or the severance of contracts were the other major factors in strike action last month. See chart below.

China’s consumer price index fell further than expected to 2.1 percent year on year in March, down from February’s high of 3.2 percent. Food price inflation which had surged to six percent in February because of the Lunar New Year holiday fell back to 2.7 percent.  read more.

* China-targeted probes rise:

Trade probes targeting China are becoming more frequent and complicated, and dealing with trade frictions will be a long-term and challenging task, the Ministry of Commerce warned on Monday.

“The outlook of trade-remedy investigations targeting China is, on the whole, challenging this year, and exporters are facing a very complex trade environment,” Song Heping, an official at the ministry’s Bureau of Fair Trade for Imports and Exports, told a news briefing.
“Trade frictions aimed at China will tend to be frequent and complicated. Thus, resolving trade frictions will be a long-term and arduous task,” Song added.

In the first quarter of the year, China was targeted in 22 trade-remedy investigations, up 22.2 percent year-on-year, which resulted in losses to exporters of $963 million, compared with $2.64 billion a year ago. The 22 probes include 18 anti-dumping investigations and four anti-subsidy cases.
In addition, the country was hit by four Section 337 investigations in the first three months of the year, the ministry said on Monday. Section 337 probes, which are launched by the United States International Trade Commission, are mainly related to claims over intellectual property rights.

Twenty-one economies launched 77 trade-remedy investigations targeting Chinese exporters in 2012, up 11.6 percent from a year earlier, causing losses to Chinese exporters of $27.7 billion, up 369 percent year-on-year, the ministry added.
Yao Jian, spokesman for the ministry, attributed the surge in the figure to the solar product probes launched by the European Union last year, which caused export losses of $20.4 billion.  read more.

02:07:41 local time map of korea_n NORTH KOREA

* North Korea warns foreigners to quit South:

North Korea warned foreigners in South Korea on Tuesday to quit the country because they were at risk in the event of conflict, the latest threat of war from Pyongyang.

Soaring tensions on the peninsula have been fuelled by North Korean anger over the imposition of U.N. sanctions after its last nuclear arms test in February, creating one of the worst crises since the end of the Korean War in 1953. “We do not wish harm on foreigners in South Korea should there be a war,” said the KCNA news agency, citing its Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee.
(…)
A spokesman for textile company Taekwang Industrial and at least two other firms said North Koreans workers did not show up for work and that production had stopped.
“North Korean workers didn’t come to work today, and production has halted in our Kaesong facilities,” said a spokeswoman for Shinwon, a women’s clothing maker.
read more.

00:07:41 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Garment exports reach US$3.79 billion in Q1:

Garment exports in the first quarter of this year hit US$3.79 billion to maintain its leading position, said Le Tien Truong, Deputy Director General of Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex).

The country’s major export markets include the US, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) with exports to the RoK enjoying impressive growth of 25 percent, almost twice as much as to the EU.

Truong said many domestic businesses have invested in equipment and workforce to catch up with the shift of Japanese importers to other countries. By far, they all have received adequate orders for production up until the end of the first or second quarters of the year.  read more.
VOV Online Newspaper

00:07:41 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Wary of China, Companies Head to Cambodia:

Tiffany & Company is quietly building a diamond-polishing factory in Cambodia, a country popularly associated more with killing fields and land mines than baubles.

Some of Japan’s biggest manufacturers are also rushing to set up operations in Phnom Penh to make wiring harnesses for cars and touch screens and vibration motors for cellphones. European companies are not far behind, making dance shoes and microfiber sleeves for sunglasses.
Foreign companies are flocking to Cambodia for a simple reason. They want to limit their overwhelming reliance on factories in China.

Problems are multiplying fast for foreign investors in China. Blue-collar wages have surged, quadrupling in the last decade as a factory construction boom has coincided with waning numbers of young people interested in factory jobs. Starting last year, the labor force has actually begun shrinking because of the “one child” policy and an aging population.  read more.

* “H & M took its responsibilities – now we want to take more”:

In Cambodia faint workers in textile factories, imprisoned and harassed union leaders and confiscated poor peasants land to be taken over by wealthy companies. We met human rights activist Yeng Virak who have been in Sweden for information on how bad it is put in his country.

 It’s sad. Cambodia is back to square one.
It was a dismal Yeng Virak, president of the Cambodian human rights organization, Community Legal Education Centre, who met us in Stockholm.
Hit he has come along with two colleagues to participate in a conference where activists from the world’s most oppressed countries participate.

But they should also take the opportunity to meet with Swedish policymakers, to make them aware of the situation in their home country. The topic is how the Cambodian government takes land from poor farmers and then rent it out to wealthy companies.  read original swedish here. & here google  english translation.

01:07:41 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Indonesian Workers to Rally in Jakarta Over Universal Health Coverage:

Thousands of workers are scheduled to rally in Jakarta on Wednesday to demand that the government accelerate the implementation of universal health coverage in Indonesia.

“Some 10,000 protesters will join the demonstration in Greater Jakarta on Wednesday, and the demonstration will start in Bundaran HI at 10 a.m,” Said Iqbal, the president of the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI), said on Tuesday.
He stated that the protesters will march to the Ministry of Health in Kuningan, South Jakarta, at 2 p.m. to demand that the government implement health care coverage for all Indonesians by January 2014.

The government has announced that its health care plan would be instituted in several phases and would cover all Indonesians by 2019.
The demonstrators will also request that the government include workers who get paid minimum wage to be included in the Premium Payment Assistance (PBI) program. They will also protest low wages.  read more.
JG Logo

* RI needs business-friendly leader: SBY:

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who ends his second term in October 2014, said that Indonesia needed a leader with a strong commitment to improving the investment climate.

Speaking to around 1,000 employers, foreign businesspeople and union members at the opening of the Indonesian Employers Association’s (Apindo) national congress on Monday, Yudhoyono said that the country’s next president should concentrate on the role of investment in economic growth.
(…)
Many employers in garments, textiles and footwear have closed down their companies and laid off workers. Others plan relocation to low-wage regions after requests for exemption from the minimum wage increase was turned down.
Only 49 of more than 900 companies requesting exclusion were accepted.
read more.
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* Indonesia introduces chemical standards in kids clothing:

In accordance with the Indonesian Ministry of Industry’s directive no. 72/M-IND/PER/7/2012, the Indonesian government began to enforce a mandatory Indonesian National Standard SNI 7617-2010 related to azo dyes and formaldehyde content in fabrics for baby and children’s clothing effective February 06, 2013.

In order to ensure effective implementation of this directive, the importer or manufacturer is required to certify their fabrics for baby and children’s clothing via one of the testing laboratories assigned by LSPro (Lembaga Sertifikasi Produk – Product Certification Agent) and/or a technical institution equivalent to LSPro appointed by the Indonesian Ministry of Industry.  read more.
fibre2fashion

23:07:41 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Sit for talks, save economy:

Business leaders, journalists urge govt and opposition to fix political mess

Leaders of the community and editors of a number of newspapers and TV channels yesterday expressed deep worries about the current confrontational political situation in the country.

They said the street violence in the name of shutdowns must stop without any delay, and urged the political parties to sit together to sort out differences.
They also called upon the Awami League-led ruling party and BNP-led opposition alliance to find out alternatives to shutdowns that are crippling the economy and denting the country image.
The call came at a meeting between the leaders of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and a number of editors and senior journalists at Dhaka Club in the capital.

FBCCI President Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed said the shutdowns have become a suicidal activity.
“During shutdowns trains were set on fire. Innocent passengers were killed. Trucks and vans carrying export items were torched. Even the law-enforcers were not spared, which is too worrying.”
“The public life has been disrupted seriously. We have already started to lose export orders due to the image crisis and a rise in lead time,” he said.  read more.
daily star bd

* Hartal, political instability and future of the economy:

thinking loud

As I was putting the headline of this write-up, the `spell check’ on the computer rejected the word `hartal’, the local name of strike or work stoppage.

Though Bangladesh by this time has become too much accustomed to `hartal’ as a democratic weapon of the opposition, the people now seem to have become `fed up’ with it. The Awami League reportedly went for 173 days of hartal while it was in the opposition during the 2001-2006 period. However, with hartal causing too much loss of human lives and triggering insecurity among the people these days, the nation possibly can’t afford to accept even the half of the number any more.  read more.

* BGMEA expresses concern over erratic power supply to factories:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has urged the government to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity to all garment factories in the Chittagong region.

In a statement, BGMEA said apparel production in this region has seriously been affected due to erratic supply of electricity.

“Garment factories are facing load-shedding for four to five hours daily”, it said, adding that overall production cost is going up several times as owners are forced to depend on generator for power.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more.
BSS    logo 

* Wal-Mart to fund supplier training after deadly BD fire:

World’s largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc is making its biggest push yet to try to improve conditions at factories that produce its clothing after a fire at a Bangladesh factory killed 112 people last year.

The company also said on Tuesday that it would donate US$1.6 million to help start a new Bangladesh training academy, and outlined its efforts to regain control over the complex and far-flung web of factories that make its products, reports Singapore daily The Straits Times.
read more. & read more. & read more.
banglanews24 Logo   

22:37:41 local time map of india INDIA

* ‘Increase minimum wage to Rs. 20,640 a month’ :

The Karnataka Shramika Shakti Sangha has demanded that the government increase the minimum wage for 77 scheduled employments that will benefit over three crore workers, in both the organised and the unorganised sectors, in the State.

Addressing reporters here on Tuesday, labour advocate S. Balan demanded that the minimum wage must be increased to Rs. 20,640 a month. He said that despite inflation and increase in the price of essential commodities, the minimum wage notified by the government ranged between Rs. 173 and Rs. 246 a day. “With elections round the corner, the political parties are promising rice at Rs. 2 a kg, mangalsutra for couples to be married at mass marriages and even mini laptops.

However, not a single party has spoken for the workers and how unjust the notified minimum wage are,” he said. Mr. Balan said that Article 43 of the Constitution stipulates that “the State shall endeavour to secure, by suitable legislation or economic organisation or any other work, to all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life”. He said that the minimum wage includes food, clothing, housing, etc.  read more.
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* Meeting on minimum wages for textile workers:

The committee formed by the State Government recently to suggest minimum wages to textile mill workers will conduct a meeting with representatives of trade unions in Coimbatore and Tirupur on April 18 and 19.

The committee visited the southern Districts and some of the textile mills last week.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Yarn makers face heat as prices rise:

The spike in cotton yarn prices has raised the prospects of export curbs with the garment lobby pitching hard for restrictions , amid fears that cotton will get costlier in the months ahead on expectation of a projected supply shortage in the next season.

In fact, garment manufacturers are blaming the high yarn prices for their inability to pass on the benefit of lower excise on readymade garment even as they are being blamed for pocketing the 12.5% gain due to the removal of the levy. “For prices to come down, yarn has to be cheaper,” said Vivek Khandelwal, general secretary of the Garment Exporters Association of Rajasthan.  read more.
TOInew

22:07:41 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Pakistan garment makers bank on EU GSP plus status:

The garment manufacturers of Pakistan are pinning hope on the approval of the European Union’s Generalized System of Preference Plus (GSP Plus) status to their country by the EU Commission at Brussels.

According to the industry representatives, if the EU commission qualifies the country for GSP plus, bulk of ‘Made in Pakistan’ apparels will have duty-free access to the European Union and it is expected that rate of export growth in EU member states would increase significantly.

Speaking to fibre2fashion, chairman of Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA), Mr. Sajid Saleem Minhas said, “Pakistan has submitted a formal application to the European Commission to qualify for the duty-free exports status under the new generalized system of preferences (GSP) plus scheme.”  read more.
fibre2fashion

* Textile exporters criticise forced closure of power feeders:

Industry in Faisalabad region suffered massive production losses on account of forced closure of industrial feeders and forcibly cutting off industrial connections. As a result, industrial activities came to a halt rendering millions of workers jobless.

Talking to newsmen, Asghar Ali, chairman and Muhammad Asif, vice chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association criticised the forced closure of dedicated electricity feeders and disconnection of industrial connections by the FESCO authorities and termed it an anti industrial act.

Textile industry alone was suffering a financial loss of over Rs 1 billion daily in production loss due to sudden electricity cuts in order to meet domestic shortages, they lamented. Gas and electricity were basic fuels of the industry and their uninterrupted and adequate supply was crucial for the textile industry to fuel its production divisions, they said. read more.

* Textile sector grinds to a halt due to power suspensions:

The textile sector of the industry’s hub has incurred massive losses on account of forced closure of industrial feeders and cutting of industrial connections by the Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco). Consequently, activities have come to a halt, rendering millions of daily-wage employees redundant.

In a press conference on Tuesday, the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) criticised the closure of dedicated electricity feeders and disconnection of industrial connections by Fesco and termed it an “anti-industrial act”.
Textile sector is incurring a financial loss of over Rs1 billion daily due to sudden power outages.

Gas and electricity are basic fuels for the industry and their uninterrupted and adequate supply is crucial for the textile sector to operate production divisions, they said. Industrial production has already gone down by 50% due to gas suspensions, in addition to the rising cost of business.  read more.
The Express Tribune

* Textile industry subjected to peak hours power cut:

As demand-supply gap increases, the power distribution companies in Punjab have decided to cut supplies to the textile industry on 11kv independent feeders from 6pm to midnight every day for an indefinite period.

A Wapda official told this reporter on Monday the supplies would be restored as soon as production improves, refusing to give a definite date.
Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has resented the decision, saying the industry was receiving warnings from distribution companies of complete shutdown for an indefinite period.

“Faisalabad industry is already without electricity as we talk,” Aptma chairman Ahsan Bashir told a press conference on Monday. “We do not know when the supplies to the industry in the rest of the province would be snapped.”
“We strongly protest Punjab-specific blackouts for the industry,” he said.
The power distribution companies had abruptly cut power supply to the textile industry for eight hours on Sunday, resulting in production losses, he deplored.
read more.
dawn

* Small industrial units on the verge of collapse:

Small industrial units on the verge of collapse

Small industrial units located in Kotlakhpat Industrial Estate, Qauid-e-Azam Industrial Estate, Kattar Band Industrial Estate, Sundar Industrial Estate and Industrial Clusters at Multan Road are facing power breakdowns of up to 20 hours.

Manufacturers said that industrial units were on the verge of collapse due to prolonged and unscheduled power cuts but LESCO authorities are playing the role of silent spectator and paying no heed.
They urged the government to ensure equal supply of electricity throughout the country as the province of Punjab is the worst hit by the electricity shortage.
Expressing grave concern over repeated incidence of unscheduled hours-long power outages, they demanded of the LESCO authorities to ensure power supply to the industrial areas as per industrial schedules. read more.
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* Work on to protect cotton from disease:

A high-level delegation of American cotton scientists visited Pakistan last week to review progress and plan new strategies with Pakistani counterparts to fight the Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCV), a devastating disease that affects cotton yields in Pakistan and caused loss of an estimated 1.5 million bales or 15 percent of this year’s total harvest.

The team visited labs in Lahore and Faisalabad and observed experimental disease-resistant cotton breeds grown in greenhouses provided by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The visit is part of a multi-year collaboration with Pakistani scientists to develop cotton seed resistant to CLCV.
read more. & read more.
logo  dawn

map of asia ASIA

* Living Wage-  Towards Sustainable Labour Costing:

This paper focuses on a specific feature of buying behaviour in the UK fashion retail industry: the negotiation of a manufacturing price (cut-make-trim, CMT, cost) with suppliers that does not separately itemize labour cost.

This practice, tacitly supported by both buyers and suppliers, is examined against the backdrop of ongoing wage defaulting and import price deflation in the global apparel industry.
While wage non-compliance cannot be explained solely by this buying practice, since other commercial practices and factors may have an equal if not greater impact on a supplier’s liquidity/ability to pay on time and in full, the case is nevertheless made that an absence of labour costing must inevitably have an effect on the capacity of a factory to deliver an order at a negotiated price and to meet compliance benchmarks at the same time.

The paper attempts to construct a formula for sustainable labour pricing at the buyer end using industrial engineering principles that appear to have been lost in the truncation of buying firms caused by international sourcing.
The methodology, which can be used to calculate a living wage, has implications for international buying practice and for organized labour in the international global apparel industry and has the potential to accelerate a trend already underway in the sector towards greater consolidation and collaboration between buyers and suppliers in the manufacture of apparel.
read more and via  here you can download the pdf text.

* The  Global Value Chain:

The global value chain concept has become one of the most influential frameworks used in the study of globalization. The paradigm, however, is deficient in explicating the exploitative nature of global value chain governance.

Based on a study of soccer ball production in China and Pakistan, this article analyzes global production from three perspectives: the role of the state in shaping the host countries’ mode of production and legal framework, the issue of how surplus value is created and distributed, and the use of child labor or prison labor to remain competitive in the chain. The article shows, in the case of Pakistan, how a country using a lower-labor-costs strategy to retain a place in a global value chain allows its workers to be exploited and pauperizes its people.
read more and via here you can download full text.

map of Asia

HEADLINES TODAY:

CHINA
* China’s workers continue to demand higher pay
* China-targeted probes rise

NORTH KOREA
* North Korea warns foreigners to quit South

VIET NAM
* Garment exports reach US$3.79 billion in Q1

CAMBODIA
* Wary of China, Companies Head to Cambodia
* “H & M took its responsibilities – now we want to take more”

INDONESIA
* Indonesian Workers to Rally in Jakarta Over Universal Health Coverage
* RI needs business-friendly leader: SBY
* Indonesia introduces chemical standards in kids clothing

BANGLA DESH
* Sit for talks, save economy
* Hartal, political instability and future of the economy
* BGMEA expresses concern over erratic power supply to factories
* Wal-Mart to fund supplier training after deadly BD fire

INDIA
* ‘Increase minimum wage to Rs. 20,640 a month’
* Meeting on minimum wages for textile workers
* Yarn makers face heat as prices rise

PAKISTAN
* Textile exporters criticise forced closure of power feeders
* Pakistan garment makers bank on EU GSP plus status
* Textile sector grinds to a halt due to power suspensions
* Textile industry subjected to peak hours power cut
* Small industrial units on the verge of collapse
* Work on to protect cotton from disease

ASIA
* Living Wage- Towards Sustainable Labour Costing
* The Global Value Chain

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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