14:14:39 local time CHINA
* Textile and garment exports had a growth of 70% in Quanzhou :
* China will release cotton from state reserves till July 31:
* Are Small European Brands Too Late to China? :
Although the Italian jewelry maker did try to break into the Chinese market almost a decade ago – it had no luck finding a retail partner there – CEO Guido Grassi Damiani has finally announced his brand’s foray into the nation, the Wall Street Journal reports. “We should have launched in China much earlier, but we waited until we were strong and brave enough to do it ourselves,” Mr. Damiani said.
15:14:39 local time NORTH KOREA
* Patience demanded with noisy neighbour:
It has been three weeks since North Korea closed its border to commuters and vehicles carrying textiles and other materials to South Korean factories operating in the Gaeseong industrial complex. It does not even permit the shipment of foodstuffs to South Korean staff manning the factories, whose number is now cut to 190, one-third of the usual level.
The 123 South Korean companies, mostly garment manufacturers, whose employees are waiting for entry permits, are fretting over snowballing losses. As the South Korean government says, what is most important for them is restarting factory operations that came to a halt when 53,000 North Korean workers were withdrawn two weeks ago.
But an early resumption of operations appears to be out of the question, with the North turning down an offer by the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business to send a delegation for negotiations. read more.
14:14:39 local time PHILIPPINES
* Wage hike unlikely on Labor Day – DOLE:
Workers in Metro Manila may look forward to non-wage benefits, instead of a wage hike during the Labor Day celebration, on May 1, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz stressed this at a press conference yesterday after the regional wage boards in the National Capital Region (NCR) announced it will defer deciding on the merit of the P85 wage petition filed by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) after Labor Day.
Baldoz said a wage hike before May 1 is highly improbable since there is no supervening event, which will allow the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) to process the new wage hike in the NCR before the anniversary date on June 3. read more.
13:14:39 local time THAILAND
* 98 exporters collapse in first quarter:
Nearly 100 export companies went out of business in the first three months of the year after the baht started to shoot up.
“However, the baht’s appreciation is only one of many reasons for business closures,” Deputy Commerce Minister Natthawut Saikua said yesterday.
The Business Development Department reported 98 export firms collapsing in the first quarter, of which 42 were in January, 25 in February and 31 in March.
According to the department’s survey, 19 per cent of the businesses winding up last month said they had faced losses. About 99 per cent had not earned enough profit, 26 per cent had not operated the businesses that they had registered for and 16 per cent had conflicts with partners.
Natthawut said that although the situation has not reached a critical stage yet, the department would closely monitor the circumstances to ensure that enterprises would not suffer from any policies or factors, such as the strong baht and Bt300 daily wage, that should be under the control of the government.
Last month, among the 31 exporters that shut down,17 were in the garment and coffee-growing businesses, six in steel and iron, six in consumer goods and two in frozen food. read more.
* Nanotech coating to enhance durability of Thai textiles:
13:14:39 local time CAMBODIA
* At factory, a tale of two lunches:
In the rising heat of the midday sun, garment workers in long-sleeved shirts and hats lined National Road 4 yesterday.
Many milled outside factories – congregating around mobile food vans – while others trekked along the road in search of somewhere better to find lunch.
Those who wandered past the lone restaurant at the gateway to the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone (SEZ) kept walking: a meal at this restaurant could set them back a whole month’s salary – and then some.
Diners at Luu Meng’s Yi Sang restaurant can pay exorbitant amounts to have their hunger satiated.
Shark fin soup sells for $78, as do servings of papaya bird’s nest stew. Those longing for abalone with seafood in a clay pot, meanwhile, will fork out $88 for the delicacy.
The restaurant’s assistant manager, Neak Sophea, said the majority of Yi Sang’s patrons are foreign businessmen visiting the SEZ to deal with the interests of their factories, many of which contribute to Cambodia’s biggest export industry by producing garments for the US and European markets. read more.
11:59:39 local time NEPAL
* Garment export continues to decline:
Export of Nepali readymade garments has observed a decline of 40 per cent. It has been observing a fall of around 40 per cent on average since the last three months, states the central bank statistics.
There was an average drop of 39.8 per cent in the first six months of the current fiscal year and the trend continued in the seventh and eighth months with a fall of 40 per cent and 36.9 per cent, respectively.
According to garment entrepreneurs, the government has failed to prioritise the major exportable products of the country. They also stated that currently Nepali exporters are exporting their products with high value addition to Europe.
Meanwhile, Garment Association – Nepal has said that the European market provides duty free access to Nepali garments and most of the queries and orders are through personal efforts of the exporters. read more.
12:14:39 local time BANGLA DESH
* Cabinet clears proposal to amend Labour Act:
The Cabinet on Monday approved in principle a draft proposal for amendment to the ‘Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006’, aiming to ensure the welfare of workers through various measures and thus uphold their rights.
The decision came from the regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said amendment to the law has been proposed to make it more time befitting considering the global context, election pledges of the government and the existing reality.
Under the proposed amendment, he said, the workers who have completed over 15 years in their jobs will get increased gratuity.
Earlier, workers used to get annul gratuity equivalent to one month’s basic salary. Now, they will get annual gratuity equivalent to a month and a half of the basic salary, showing a 50 percent increase.
The Cabinet Secretary said the draft of the new labour law has been finalised in consultation with all the stakeholders and ILO to create an atmosphere of productivity in industries and other sectors.
The new law will help address the basic problems of the working-class people and implement ‘Better Work Programme’ of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and international conventions and earn GSP facilities.
Besides, there will be provisions for setting up clinics if over 5,000 workers work under a mill or factory, forming a welfare fund for garment workers and it would be run by a separate board, outsourcing companies would be brought under legal framework and those companies would have to be registered, the overall safety and security measures of an organisation would have to be modernised, internal electricity system should be secured, exit-ways could not be kept lock as well as there should be no barriers and the staircases should be opened.
* Cabinet approves labour law amendment:
The cabinet, in principle, gave its approval Monday to the proposed amendment to the Bangladesh Labour Law 2006 with some changes including exclusion of the provision for sharing a 5.0 per cent profit with workers of garment industry.
In place of profit sharing, a new provision for creating of a welfare fund for the workers has been incorporated in the proposed amendment, a senior official told the FE.
He, however, said the provision for sharing profit with workers has been excluded from the proposed amendment upon request from the apparel sector leaders.
Some other new provisions including allowing trade unions at the ready made garment (RMG) units, workers’ safety and their welfare have been included in the proposed amendment to the labour law. read more.
* Labour NGOs need to get nod:
The cabinet on Monday approved in principle a bill seeking amendments to the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 requiring non-government organisations to take permission from labour ministry for working in the industrial sector.
The labour ministry placed the bill at the weekly cabinet meeting at the cabinet division.
‘The amendment to the 2006 act has been initiated to ensure better work environment for the workers, cabinet secretary Muhammad Mosharaf Hossain Bhuiyan told reporters , adding that the International Labour Organisation and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank also wanted the changes in the law to ensure workers’ safety and welfare.
Each of export-oriented readymade factories will have to raise workers’ welfare fund and any factory having more than 500 workers will have to set up a clinic to ensure heath care to the workers, the cabinet secretary said. read more.
* Govt allowing trade union at factories:
The government has moved to retain the generalised system of preference (GSP) facility in the US market by allowing workers at factories to form trade unions.
The Cabinet on Monday provisionally approved a proposal to amend the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 that also aims at ensuring the workers personal security, organisational safety, increase in gratuity facilities, health services and their rights, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told reporters.
The approval was given on principle at the regular Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He said that the law proposed inclusion of provisions to have collective bargaining agents (CBA) in large organisations and ‘participatory committees’ in the small ones.
read more. & read more.
* Govt to set minimum wages under proposed labour law:
The Cabinet on Monday approved the Bangladesh Labour Law (Amendment), which enables the government to declare minimum wages for the workers of any industrial sector after taking special circumstances into consideration.
The approval was given at a Cabinet meeting held at the Cabinet Division, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
“If necessary, the government can declare a minimum wage structure for workers of the industrial sector by issuing gazette notification after bringing changes to the current wages,” stated the proposed amendment to the law.
“The wages of the workers can be paid through the banks accounts of the workers by electronic transfer,” the proposed law stated.
Under the new amendment to the law, group insurance must be extended to cover a minimum of 100 workers instead of the earlier 200 workers.
* Govt to recast labour law to retain GSP:
The cabinet yesterday approved in principle a proposal to amend the labour law with an aim to ease the procedures of forming trade unions at factories.
Currently owners decide on who will represent the unions that ultimately fail to safeguard workers’ interests.
The approval was given at the weekly cabinet meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan briefed reporters after the meeting.
The move comes as the government has expedited efforts to improve labour and safety standards under pressure from international communities.
The US, the single largest export destination for Bangladeshi products, threatened to discontinue a trade benefit after the devastating fire at Ashulia-based Tazreen Fashions that claimed 112 lives.
After the fire, Bangladesh had to attend an emergency hearing of the United States Trade Representative on March 28 to explain its position to retain the benefit — generalised system of preferences (GSP) — in the US market.
At the hearing, Bangladesh promised to bring changes to the labour law and improve safety standards at factories. read more.
* BTMA urges govt to continue tax holiday for new units:
* Garment exporters eyeing expanding domestic mkt:
The country’s apparel manufacturers, mainly dependent on imports of fabrics from Thai, Indian and Chinese, have now set their eyes to grab multi-billion-taka local market, alongside their usual exports, insiders said.
Around 25 leading apparel exporters including East West Industrial Park Ltd., Bevelon Group, Millon Clothings Ltd., Beximco and Giant Group of Companies now look forward to doing business in the local market, keeping their export activities in tact. read more.
* RMG export to US likely to increase:
Bangladesh can get vast export orders from the US apparel markets as they are diversifying sourcing instead of largely depending on China mainly due to the high labour cost, reports BSS.
“US apparel buyers are not looking to replace China, but minimize their risks and for some production to lower costs with lower cost options,” Bob Berg, director of International Business Development, MAGIC International, USA, said while presenting a keynote paper at a seminar in the city on Monday.
He listed high labour costs, shortage of labour, continual devaluation of currency and rising costs of electricity, environmental requirements and new safety laws are among the major concerns of US buyers with China.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Ensuring compliant industries can boost export: seminar:
Ensuring compliant industries and quality products can strengthen the export prospects for Bangladesh in the US and EU markets, said speakers at a seminar in the capital on Monday.
They made the remarks at the seminar on’ Promotion and strengthening of export prospects for Bangladesh-made products in the US and EU markets’ organised by Sourcing at MAGIC, an organisation which organises North America’s largest sourcing event.
Stressing the business opportunities in the US for Bangladesh’s apparel, shoe and handicraft products, the speakers said there were a number of issues that were causing US buyers to diversify their sourcing to alternative potential markets.
* Exporters strongly against strike as industries hit hard:
The country’s top exporters on Monday called upon the opposition alliance to refrain from calling frequent shutdowns for the sake of the apparel industry.
The newly-elected BGMEA president also called for keeping all the garment manufacturing and supply chain outside the purview of the strike so RMG exports do not get hurt.
“Please don’t strangulate the industry with frequent hartals as every citizen of the country has stake in the industry’s success,” Md Atiqul Islam, president of BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) urged the political parties.
He was talking to journalists after emerging from a seminar held in a city hotel focusing on export promotion to the USA and EU markets. read more.
11:44:39 local time INDIA
* Fire in knitwear unit destroys property worth more than Re 1 5cr:
A major fire broke out at a knitwear unit in Tirupur early Sunday morning, destroying raw material for garments, machineries and packed consignments for delivery, worth more than Rs1.50 cr.
Around 1am, a major fire broke out at the ground floor of Sri Ponni Knitters, a knitwear unit owned by M Ponnusamy (64) of Kumaranandhapuram in Tirupur. The fire spread to the second and third floors of the building.
Five workers of the unit, who were sleeping on the fourth floor, had a miraculous escape as they jumped onto the roof of the adjacent building while the fire had already spread to the third floor.
Meanwhile, locals alerted the Tirupur north and south fire stations. More than 18 private water tankers were deployed to put out the fire. More than 20 firefighters were pressed into action to douse the fire. It took more than six hours for the firefighters to put out the fire. “A short circuit might have caused the fire. It took more than six hours to douse the flames,” said Senthilkumar, fire officer, Tirupur north fire station.
* Powerloom weavers seek trade licences:
Members of the Mysore Powerloom Silk Manufacturers Cooperative Society staged a protest here on Monday seeking issue of trade licences for powerloom weavers by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike.
They also demanded that the powerloom sector be excluded from the purview of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board. They submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister, the Governor and the BBMP Commissioner.
Puroshotham L. (59), a third-generation weaver in Cottonpet who owns a powerloom, said that owners of several powerloom units in certain localities had failed to obtain their licences over the past three years as they had not got clearances from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).
“Powerloom sector has been flourishing in the city for long and the noise is a part of our lives. In fact, the noise-level due to vehicles is much higher than that due to operation of powerlooms,” he added. Mr. Puroshotham also pointed out that the powerloom weaving industry was in “crisis” as the trade licences of a large number of weavers in Cubbonpet, Adugodi, Suddaguntapalya, Vinayaka Nagar and Azad Nagar had not been renewed. read more.
* ‘Potential high for technical textiles’:
The technical textile sector has huge potential in the country and it will progress in the coming years, according to Mohan Kavrie, president of Indian Technical Textile Association.
Mr. Kavrie was in Coimbatore recently for the opening of the regional office of the association. He told The Hindu , “India cannot be different from the rest of the world. In other countries, technical textiles have helped improve the quality of life.” Hence, there are opportunities in India for the growth of the sector. However, it is a knowledge-based industry. The entry of new players is restricted as each interested entrepreneur should find a niche area to focus on. It is relatively capital intensive too. However, there are units that are into this segment for several years now.
A number of industries do simple conversion work. Technical textile units cannot operate the way normal textile units do. The country has about 20 well-established players in this segment and over 300 units, including those in the unorganised sector. read more.
11:14:39 local time PAKISTAN
* Textile exports posts 7.09 percent increase in 9 months:
Textile exports from the country during first three quarters of current financial year posted an increase of 7.09 percent growth as compared to the same period of last year.
According the figures released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) textile group exports from country during the period from July-March 2012-13 reached to US$ 9.630 billion which was recorded at US$ 8.993 billion in corresponding period of last year. On the other hand textile group exports from the country recorded 13.21 percent increase on month on month basis and reached to US$ 1.167 billion in month of March 2013 as compared to US$ 1.030 billion of March 2012, the data revealed. read more.
* US buyers reestablish links with exporters:
American buyers are re-establishing links with Pakistan’s textile and clothing manufacturers, following supply disruptions in Egypt, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) recently reported.
Amir Hussain, an economist at Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), said that there were some supply issues in Egypt. The US was buying textiles and clothing worth a billion dollars a year from Egypt, he said. If the US buyers opt for Pakistani products, it is a significant opportunity for local producers, he said. “Pakistan could easily capture business worth $400 to $500 million if it seizes this opportunity,” said Hussain.
Haroon Agar, President Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), reported that big clothing and textile buying houses in the US are placing orders with Pakistani producers.“More business will be beneficial for the country’s industry,” said Agar. read more.
* Opportunities for growth:
With the Chinese opting out of basic textiles and Pakistan likely to receive GSP plus status in 2014, industry experts talk about the numerous growth opportunites present in this sector
The textile sector is buoyant and rightly so as entrepreneurs see numerous opportunities for growth with the Chinese opting out of basic textiles and Pakistan likely to receive GSP plus status in 2014. Their main worry is losing these opportunities if investment in the sector dries up.
Industry experts point out that the opportunities that are available even now are beyond the existing capacity of the industry. Spinners are unable to meet the demands of Chinese importers due to capacity constraints.
“Whatever we produce is consumed immediately, either in the local or foreign markets,” said a spinner. He said the Chinese are the main buyers of yarn from Pakistan. “They are now looking towards India for yarn but the type of coarse yarn produced by Pakistan is available in limited quantity in India, most of which is consumed by its domestic industry.”
Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), Ahsan Bashir, said that in China wages are high, which makes producing low value added yarn unprofitable. He said the capacity of the Chinese to produce yarn is three times higher than the combined yarn-making capacities of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. read more.