11:58:00 local time MONGOLIA
* Loans to manufacturers set to support economic diversification:
At its regular meeting on Saturday, Mongolia’s cabinet approved 86.2 million USD in loans for companies in the cashmere, clothing and dairy industries, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The decision is reportedly part of an effort to diversify Mongolia’s economy and reduce economic dependency on the mining industry.
The loans will be for a period of four and a half years. Cashmere companies will receive 45 million USD, clothing manufacturers 13.5 million USD, and dairy producers will receive 27.7 million USD. The government statement regarding the loans, released on April 13, did not provide information about the interest rates on the loans. read more.
12:58:00 local time NORTH KOREA
North Korea today rejected an application from a delegation of South Korean companies based in the Kaesong Industrial Complex to visit the manufacturing zone on the inter-Korean border.
Kim Hyung Seok, a spokesman for the Ministry of Unification told a regular briefing this morning, “North Korea has notified us through the Kaesong Industrial Complex Management Committee that it is unable to agree to the application from ten representatives of enterprises in the zone,” adding, “We find it disappointing that North Korea would even reject this humanitarian measure from the South Korean tenant companies.”
read more. & read more.
10:58:00 local time VIET NAM
* Textile exports sharply rise in new markets:
A sharp rise in Vietnam’s textile exports to foreign markets that are not traditional importers was recorded in the first quarter by the General Department of Customs.
According to a report released on Tuesday, apparel exports brought home US$3.7 billion in the first three months, surging 18.3% year-on-year, with shipments bound for numerous new markets picking up markedly.
For instance, export value of Vietnamese garment items shipped to ASEAN members reached US$111.4 million in the first quarter, soaring 44.4% year-on-year.
Among these nations, Cambodia was the biggest buyer of Vietnamese textile products in January-March with an export value of US$45.7 million, a staggering 103% rise over the same period last year. Similarly, garment shipments to Myanmar doubled year-on-year. read more.
* VN to host ASEAN traditional textile symposium:
The ten countries in Southeast Asia along with Canada, Japan, India and the US will join a workshop, exhibition and demonstration of the fourth ASEAN Traditional Textiles Symposium in Thai Nguyen City, Thai Nguyen Province.
The symposium will be attended by 200 international and local guests and 100 textile artisans.
The event themed “Traditions, Innovations, and Interactions: The Creative Lives of Textiles in ASEAN Context” is designed to address the issue of shared traditions that link and bind together the diverse cultures of the region’s countries and ownership and custodianship of traditional textile production within ASEAN. read more.
10:58:00 local time CAMBODIA
* Bandith hearing set for May:
A svay Rieng Provincial Court official said yesterday it would hear the case of former Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith – who is accused of shooting three garment workers during a protest last year – within a month.
“Judge Leang Sour and I agreed that we will set a date not later than mid-May,” said provincial prosecutor Hing Bunchea. “I am waiting for the judge to set a date, so I can sign the summons.”
Bunchea also dismissed media reports that authorities had planned a hearing before Khmer New Year, saying they had only agreed to meet on the matter before then.
Three women were shot at Kaoway Sports, a supplier to Puma, during a strike involving thousands of workers in Svay Rieng province in February last year.
In December, the provincial court dropped Bandith’s unintentional injury charges, but in March, the Appeal Court re-charged him and ordered the lower court to hear the case. to read.
* Cambodian garment exports likely to grow in 2013: GMAC:
According to him, the garment manufacturers are looking forward to new markets including Japan and China. “We may continue to see growth primarily driven by exodus from China for the Japanese and European markets,” Mr. Ken Loo opines.
11:58:00 local time INDONESIA
* Toxic Threads: Polluting Paradise:
A story of big brands and water pollution in Indonesia
Greenpeace International has commissioned a new investigation that delves even further into the hazardous chemicals used in the production of high street fashion, going beyond previous investigations in China and Mexico. This latest report builds on the Detox campaign’s work, which reveals how textile manufacturing is a major contributor to water pollution in the Global South.
Our research focuses on a large textiles facility in Indonesia, where we found that a wide range of hazardous substances is being discharged directly into the Citarum River. The responsible facility is PT Gistex, located near Bandung in West Java – where the modern textile industry is concentrated – with 60% of production located in the Citarum River watershed. This factory undertakes polyester weaving and wet processing such as dyeing, printing, and finishing of polyester.
Greenpeace collected samples of wastewater discharged from the PT Gistex facility via three outfalls in May 2012. A diverse range of chemicals was identified in the samples, many with known hazardous properties. Some examples are toxic to aquatic life, while others are persistent pollutants, which means they will remain in the environment long after their release.
read more. & yoy can download the Report here .
* Indonesian govt hopes textile industries able to increase market contribution:
The government hopes Indonesia`s textile industries could increase their market contribution up to five percent in the future.
“Right now their contribution to the world`s market is still at 1.8 percent. I hope it will increase to four or five percent in the next ten years,” industry minister MS Hidayat said after opening a national meeting of the Indonesian Textile Association (API) here on Thursday.
He said Indonesia`s textile industry is indeed not the biggest in the world but has been among the ten biggest. read more.
* Indonesia relies on textile industry for competition in AEC:
Industry minister MS Hidayat said the government relies on textile industry for the international competition especially in the ASEAN Economic Community to be set up in 2015.
“Textile industry is the government`s bet for the international competition especially in the AEC,” he said after opening a national meeting of the Indonesian Textile Association (API) here on Thursday.
He said total population in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reaches around 600 million and 240 million of them are Indonesians. read more.
09:58:00 local time BANGLA DESH
* Probe labour leader Aminul’s death: HRW:
Human Rights Watch in a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked for a thorough and speedy investigation into the killing of prominent labour rights activist Aminul Islam.
The international research and advocacy organisation on human rights in the letter issued from New York on April 17 also asked the government for publicly report on the progress made into the disappearance, torture and killing of the labour leader.
Islam, 39, was a trade union organiser with the Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity (BCWS).
He disappeared from Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital on April 4, 2012.
His body was discovered two days later from Tangail, almost 100 kilometres from where he was last seen, the letter added.
His body showed signs of torture that raised concerns of involvement by Bangladeshi security forces.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Garment workers demonstrate causing huge tailback in Gazipur:
The workers of a garments factory on Thursday demonstrated blocking the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway and submitted memorandum to the Gazipur deputy commissioner following a procession causing long tailback on the high way.
The workers of SQ Crystal Sweater Limited at Teknagapara area under Sadar uapzila staged the demonstrations on Thursday for the 10th consecutive day pressing for nine-point demands including increase in overtime allowance and the rate of wages.
The workers took to the street in the morning halting the traffic on the highway. After a rally for half an hour, they brought out a procession that marched to the deputy commissioner’s office and submitted a memorandum of their demands to the deputy commissioner.
Several thousand vehicles were stuck on both sides of the highway.
The workers said that the factory was not providing them with a rate of wages per unit of works fixed four years ago. read more.
* Garment factory closed in Ashulia:
A garment factory of S21 at Ashulia was declared closed for an indefinite period on Thursday amid workers protest.
Workers started protest sighting a notice of factory closure on the main gate when they went to join in the work in the morning.
Industrial police, however, convinced them to go back to their home.
Workers of S21 limited have been observing work abstention and staging other agitation programmes to press home their 11-point demand for last five days.
read more. & read more.
ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* ‘I Jumped to Save My Body’: Walmart Slammed Over Nicaragua Stabbings and Bangladesh Fire:
The Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire on November 30, 2012. (Reuters/Andrew Biraj)
Survivors of a factory fire in Bangladesh and an armed assault in Nicaragua both called this week for Walmart to crack down on abuses in its global supply chain.
Former garment worker Sumi Abedin, who jumped from a third story window to escape Bangladesh’s Tazreen factory, will lead a mock “funeral procession” tonight to the New York City home of Walmart board member Michele Burns. Tomorrow, students and other supporters will converge on the New York and Los Angeles offices of SAE-A, a Walmart contractor accused of fomenting violence against union activists. Walmart did not respond to a request for comment on either case.
* Families of each Tazreen fire victims will get Tk 0.1m more:
Families of each of the Tazreen fire victims will get Tk 0.1 million more from the Dutch fashion and retailer chain C&A, apparel sector leaders said Thursday.
The compensation will formally be handed over to 62 family members of the victims of country’s worst industrial blaze tomorrow (Saturday) at the BGMEA. to read.
09:28:00 local time INDIA
* Continuous rise in cotton yarn prices worries weavers:
Over 60 per cent of the yarn produced in the country is being consumed by the units in the StateAbout 50 per cent of the units in Erode region have already stopped their operations due to power crisis
The weaving industry in Erode region has expressed serious concern over the continuous rise in the cotton yarn prices.
The industry, which is already under severe stress due to power crisis and slump in orders, is finding it difficult to the stay competitive in the market as the prices of yarn registered a 20 per cent increase in the recent past.
The prices of 20s and 40s count yarn, which were used by a majority of the power loom units in the region, witnessed a 30 per cent increase when compared the prices two months ago. read more.
* Indian govt extends EPCG scheme to boost exports:
* Major fillip to textile sector:
Majority of the measures are aimed at giving a big boost to the labour-intensive handicrafts, handloom, ready-made garments and man-made fabrics sectors which form a major chunk of the textiles exports which have been on the decline for the past many months. In addition, a new reformist policy for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) was announced. read more.
* New FTP evokes mixed response from industry:
The Foreign Trade Policy 2013-14 has evoked a mixed response from the industry and the business chambers. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) President S. Gopalakrishnan said the steps announced could help in reviving investors’ confidence in SEZs. “Granting interest subvention to all the sectors will help in strengthening exports performance,” he added.
FICCI Senior Vice-President Sidharth Birla said the package contained a number of positive measures which would help boost exports in 2013-14. “Having a single zero duty EPCG scheme that will now be available to all sectors is a much-needed step in the right direction,” he said.
The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) and EEPC India welcomed the policy, saying it would help in boosting textiles and engineering exports.
“Measure like expansion of zero duty EPCG scheme, extension of TUFS benefits to EPCG, announcements on promotion of incremental exports and widening the ambit of market and product focus scheme will help in promotion of garment exports from India,” AEPC chairman A. Shaktivel said in a statement. read more.
* Textile mills welcome FTA announcements:
The textile mills here have welcomed the announcements in the annual supplement to the foreign trade policy saying that these will improve textile and clothing exports.
According to the Chairman of the Southern India Mills’ Association S. Dinakaran, the Union Budget this year had a special package for the textile industry. The annual supplement announced on Thursday has several schemes to boost textile exports.
* Demand, prices looking up for cotton yarn:
The projections of steady demand for cotton yarn by fabric and garment manufacturers are likely to revive the spinning industry. The Yarn Advisory Board estimates output would be 4,000 million kg this year as compared to 3,400 mn kg last year.
It met yesterday in Mumbai and said production was rising due to bullish demand in the textile sector and export potential. In 2012-13, cotton yarn export was an all-time high of 988 mn kg. The Board feels 1,150 mn kg would be available this year for export. Huge demand has emerged from China, the biggest importer. read more.
* Cotton demand, production, likely to rise:
The Cotton Advisory Board (CAB), which met in Mumbai recently, has estimated cotton production during 2012-13 (October 2012 to September 2013) to be 340 lakh bales as against the earlier estimate of 330 lakh bales.
Imports are expected to be 25 lakh bales (it was 12 lakh bales in 2011-12). Consumption is also going up and is likely to be 267 lakh bales.The CAB estimated at its meeting in January this year that exports this season would be 80 lakh bales. At the meeting on Wednesday, it expected exports to be 81 lakh bales this year.
* Cotton body raises output estimate to 340 lakh bales:
The Cotton Advisory Board (CAB) meeting held on Wednesday increased the cotton production outlook to 340 lakh bales (lb) for this cotton year (October to September) against 330 lb estimated at its meeting in January. The rise in production outlook was largely due to better crop prospects in the southern States including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Imports may rise
However, the Board’s production estimate for this year is lower than 355 lb achieved last year due to farmers’ preference to other crops in major cotton growing States.
A.B. Joshi, Textile Commissioner, said that cotton imports may increase to 25 lb against 20 lb estimated in January as a few mills in the South find it cheaper to bring in consignments from Africa and Australia.
“Besides freight advantage, they also find quality of imported cotton better and there is also certain financing advantage for imports,” he said. Imports were at 12 lb last year. read more.
09:28:00 local time SRI LANKA
* JAAF aborts plans to import foreign labour for apparels:
Sri Lanka’s garment industry umbrella body – the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) has decided to abort its controversial proposal requesting the government to allow the import of cheap foreign labour to fill up the shortage of local labour.
“The members of JAAF have unanimously agreed not to proceed with our previous plan of requesting the government to allow the import of foreign workers,” stated JAAF Secretary General, Tuli Cooray exclusively to Ceylon FT. Earlier JAAF was hopeful of importing close to 35,000 workers from cheap labour markets such as India, Bangladesh and Myanmar as a solution to the grave labour shortage faced by the apparel sector. read more.
* Uplifting Sri Lanka’s apparel industry:
Sri Lanka Institute of Textile and Apparels (SLITA) Awards 2013 was held on 9 April at the BMICH.
Operating under the Industry and Commerce Ministry, SLITA, Sri Lanka’s apparel training, development and consultancy giant, not only conducts sessions for Sri Lankan participants but also for students from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
The 9 April event, the second awards to be held after 2010, was in fact three events in one —awarding of apparel diplomas, awarding of Sri Lanka’s first trained batch of leather and footwear students, as well as awards for 36 SME apparel factories for achievements in productivity. 182 new apparel graduates — skilled at middle level — received awards from Minister Bathiudeen.
SLITA, which reported earnings of US$ 757, 000 in 2012, also provides its services outside the country on requests made by the Apparel Export Promotion Council of India. to read.
08:58:00 local time PAKISTAN
* Cost of living climbs higher:
The cost of living has gone beyond the means of not only the poor but the middle class as well during last five years, market surveys reveal. The prices of all essential products, including food, transport, housing, health or education have reportedly increased.The prices of vegetables, pulses, spices, edible oil, and sugar showed constant hikes. Atta (wheat flour), the staple food of the country, registered a phenomenal increase from Rs18 per kg in 2007-08 to Rs35 per kg now.
Meat and beef have been already out of reach of lower middle class families, while exorbitant increase in prices of vegetables and pulses forced many of them to even reduce their caloric intake.Food is not the only necessity of life, said Salman Karim, a semi-skilled worker earning Rs10,000 per month in a garment factory. He said shelter is the first priority of poor families.
He said minimum wage of Rs8,000 is not applicable in most of the small enterprises. Only the big firms adhere to the minimum wage law. “It is unfortunate that there are no labor colonies in or near most of the industrial estates of the country,” said Hakim Ali, a clerk at an engineering concern near Rai Wind. read more.
* ‘US should enhance scope of GSP scheme for textile sector’:
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) organised a webinar on US imports from Pakistan under Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Programme in collaboration with US Embassy and Ministry of Commerce.
Zafar Bakhtawari President ICCI said USA was already the Pakistan’s single largest export market taking almost 16 percent of our total exports but there was a greater need to take measures for further promoting Pakistan’s exports under GSP scheme to USA.
Pakistan is very strong in textile sector and this sector contributes more than 60 percent to our total exports but most of our textiles products are not eligible for GSP duty-free access to US market.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* APTMA delegation calls on Governor Punjab:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) delegation called on the Governor Punjab Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmud on Thursday to apprise him of the discrimination of the federal government towards the Punjab-based industry in energy supplies. Group leader APTMA Gohar Ejaz led the delegation, consisted of central Chairman Ahsan Bashir, central Vice Chairman Wisal Monnoo and Senior Vice Chairman Punjab Manhood Ihsan.
Gohar Ejaz told the Governor Punjab that the SNGPL was supplying gas for five days a week in April 2012 to the Captive Power Plants (CPPs) of textile industry, generating 1,500MW electricity to keep production capacities operational. Resultantly, the textile industry in Punjab was providing employment to 10 million workers and contributing 55 per cent to the country’s exports.
Also, the industry was paying fixed charges to the Discos the electricity supply during remaining two days in a week. However, the federal government kept gas supplies off to the textile industry from the month of December 2012 to February 2013, followed by resumption of gas supply for three days a week in the month of March. read more.
* SNGPL to resume four-day gas supply to Punjab textile industry:
Four days a week gas supply to textile industry in Punjab will be resumed with improvement in supplies, said reliable sources from the SNGPL. The gas supply on the SNGPL network has reduced to 1725mmcfd from earlier over 1800mmcfd while the demand is yet around 2300mmcfd, according to sources.
It may be noted that the gas pipeline was ruptured by the miscreants recently, hitting the supply side heavily. Resultantly, the gas supply to the textile industry in Punjab was reduced to three days a week. This situation irked the textile industry by and large and the APTMA leadership threatened of rejecting the load management plan and filing of FIRs in case the SNGPL staff tried to cut supply lines from Monday onwards. read more.
* Cotton prices fall in lacklustre trade:
Cotton prices fell by about Rs 150 per maund (37.32 Kgs) this week in a dull and subdued market.
Both the New York cotton futures and sundry commodities prices lost notable ground which later also triggered a fall in global equity and gold values. The Karachi Cotton Association (KCA) also lowered its ex-gin price of grade three cotton by Rs 50 on Thursday, or a total drop of Rs 150 per maund (37.32 Kgs) this week, and pegged it to Rs 6,650 per maund.
Buyers both locally and at the international level are buying cotton sparingly. In Pakistan, power and gas shortages, particularly in Punjab, are inspiring mills to buy slowly. Now the ginners are said to hold less than 300,000 unsold bales of cotton with them from the current crop (August 2012 – July 2013). read more.
08:58:00 local time UZBEKISTAN
* US State Department urged to punish Uzbekistan for child labour:
The US State Department has been urged to downgrade Uzbekistan in The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report in order to force the country to end forced child labour.
Fifty companies, members of the Cotton Campaign global coalition, including organisations and investors in the USA, have signed a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry demanding that Uzbekistan be placed in Tier 3 of the 2013 Global Trafficking in Persons Report.
In its letter to John Kerry, the Cotton Campaign, a global coalition dedicated to ending forced labour of adults and children in the cotton sector in Uzbekistan, urges the USA to take special measures with regard to the Uzbek regime. read more.
* H&M takes steps to stop complicity in Uzbek forced labour:
In response to our campaign and the hundreds of emails sent by Anti-Slavery supporters, H&M moved to take some steps to limit the risk of its products being linked to modern-day slavery.
H&M now requires direct suppliers to sign a commitment to not use Uzbek cotton. In addition, H&M has asked its 300 most important fabric suppliers to stop sourcing Uzbek cotton. H&M has made a commitment to stop doing business with direct suppliers and strategic fabric mills that do not stop sourcing Uzbek cotton. Going forward, H&M plans to conduct random checks to ensure compliance.
Although H&M has not gone all the way and fully implemented all the steps set out in the so-called Daewoo Protocol, we believe it right to give H&M time to implement the commitments it has made. to read.
* Asia and Pacific: ILO call for wage policy:
The Director of the Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ILO-ACTRAV), Dan Cunniah called for the strengthening of wages in the Asia and Pacific region to facilitate job creation and the establishment of social justice in the region.
“We argue and believe that wage is a contributing factor for national development efforts. Fair wage or living wage promotes peace and harmony at the work place and society. It is a vehicle to achieve social justice in a community. It helps to create employment. ILO supports a policy on wage –led employment growth”, said Dan Cunniah during the opening session of a Regional Seminar on Wage Policy, which held in Bali (Indonesia) from 16 to 18 April 2013.
« Many countries in the Asia and the Pacific region lack such protection and that makes workers depend much more on wages only as the source of income. In many countries they depend on minimum wage only ». read more.