21:11:27 local time VIET NAM
* Few VN workers have social insurance:
Only 10.3 million workers had social insurance policies at the end of last year, accounting for 20 per cent of the country’s total workforce, according to the Viet Nam Social Insurance Agency.
About 30 per cent of labourers for whom social insurance is mandatory do not have the policies because their employers have failed to make their contribution, the agency says.
Companies nationwide owed VND7 trillion (US$333 million) in social insurance premiums to the agency as of last year.
* Five-month garment and textile exports valued at USD7.18 billion:
Garment and textile exports in the first five months this year reached USD7.18 billion, of which garment exports posted USD6.39 billion, a year-on-year rise of 17 percent, while fibre exports were valued at USD796 million.
This was affirmed by the General Department of Customs and the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association.
Total import turnover of cloth, cotton, fibre and materials was worth about USD4.9 billion, a year-on-year rise of 7.8 percent. Of this, imports for re-export were valued at USD3.8 billion.
* Footwear export returns up 11.4% to $3.1b:
Viet Nam earned US$3.1 billion in footwear exports in the first five months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 11.4 per cent, according to the General Statistics Office.
Last month alone, export turnover reached $750 million due to the stability of traditional export markets and increasing orders from new importers.
In the first four months of the year, the industry enjoyed high export turnover from its traditional markets. The US took the lead with turnover of $755 million, followed by Britain with $149 million, Belgium with $140 million, Japan with $121 million and China with $114 million.
* Future FTA to fuel Viet Nam, EU trade:
The European Union (EU) and Viet Nam stand to benefit from a bilateral free-trade agreement to be signed by the end of next year, officials said at a business forum held in HCM City on Wednesday.
The move is expected to turn Viet Nam into a regional production base and business hub.
“The FTA will offer market-access for goods and service providers from both sides,” said Jean-Jacques Bouflet, head of Trade and Economic Affairs for the EU in Viet Nam.
Under the FTA, tariffs on at least 90 per cent of trade and trade lines will drop to zero within seven years.
Negotiations on the FTA are expected to be concluded by the end of next year, according to Bouflet.
Currently, under the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trade status, footwear has a 7.69 per cent tariff, and under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) status, a 3.5-4 per cent tariff rate.
Textiles operate under a 12 per cent tariff under MFN status and a 9.6 per cent duty under the GSP rate.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 7/6 (1st item).
21:11:27 local time THAILAND
* European firms want more skills:
Facing limited impact from the higher minimum wage, European firms operating in Thailand say an inadequate supply of skilled labour is their top concern, with regional integration unlikely to ease the situation.
A recent survey by the European Asean Business Centre found that 67% of respondents cited availability of skilled workers as the main challenge in human resources and employment planning in Thailand.
Such constraints have been identified despite the fact that more than half are planning to increase their headcount over the next 12 months due to their optimistic views of the business outlook in Thailand over the next two years, said Arnaud Bialecki, vice-chairman of the Cross Sectoral Issues Working Group.
21:11:27 local time CAMBODIA
* Bail requested for unionists:
The defence attorney representing eight union members arrested at the Sabrina Garment factory on Monday requested bail for his clients yesterday.
Judge Cheum Rithy said he had received defence attorney Kao Ty’s bail request and would consider it for five days before making a ruling.
About 500 workers stood in front of the Kampong Speu Provincial Court yesterday to show support for the Free Trade Union leaders and members who have been in custody since a demonstration for higher wages in front of the factory turned violent, causing property damage and injuring at least 23 people – including nine police officers.
The melee occurred when FTU members clashed with police and members of the Coalition of the Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, who continued working at the factory – a supplier for Nike – rather than join the strike.
The three union leaders and five workers are charged with initiating deliberate violence and intentional damages. read more.
* Garment makers pressured in Cambodia:
As investment in Cambodia’s textile industry surges, so does labor unrest, putting pressure on suppliers to the world’s big garment brands to raise wages and improve sometimes grim conditions in one of the last bastions of low-cost factories.
Hundreds of angry workers rampaged this week through a textile plant in Cambodia that supplies U.S. sportswear company Nike Inc , clashing with police over their demands for a pay hike.
The violence came just weeks after over 1,100 workers were killed in the collapse of a building housing garment factories in Bangladesh, another impoverished Asian nation where mass-produced textiles are the biggest export earner.
Cambodia is considered one of the better locations in the world for low-cost garment manufacturing with the International Labor Organisation (ILO) monitoring pay and working conditions at many factories.
* Unions Trade Barbs Over Violent Factory Strike:
Two rival workers unions continued to trade barbs Thursday, each blaming the other for a violent clash between striking garment workers and police at a factory in Kompong Speu province on Monday that saw eight people arrested.
The Free Trade Union (FTU) has led strikes for higher pay at Sabrina (Cambodia) Garment MFG Corp.—which produces clothes for U.S. sports giant Nike—in Samraong Tong district since May 21. On Monday, eight people linked to the FTU were arrested and charged after workers stormed the factory’s compound.
* Cambodian garment sector may be at risk: Commerce Minister:
Cambodian garment industry may be threatened by the duty-free agreements that are likely to be signed between its neighboring countries and foreign buyers, the Commerce Minister of Cambodia, Cham Prasidh has said.
Cambodia’s competitor nations including Vietnam and Myanmar have recently proposed free-trade agreements with the US and EU, which may reduce the number of orders for the garment sector in Cambodia, Mr. Prasidh said at a press conference.
The Commerce Minister pointed out that the country’s garment sector will be at risk if Vietnam begins to export its garments to the US without paying any taxes, while the Cambodian garments are continued to be taxed.
Hence, the trade partners from the US, EU and other regions will shift their orders from Cambodia to other countries who have signed the duty-free agreements, Mr. Prasidh added.
19:56:27 local time NEPAL
* Maoist trade union to protest:
Employers have appealed to the All Nepal Revolutionary Trade Union Federation — the labour wing of CPN-Maoist — not to resort to strikes and disturb the good industrial environment by respecting the right to economic freedom that is also a basic human right.
The CPN-Maoist affiliated trade union has announced an industrial strike tomorrow and the day after against the proposed minimum wage set by the Minimum Wage Fixation Committee.
The committee that has members representing employers, employees and the government had — after several rounds of talks — finalised a monthly salary of Rs 8,000 from Rs 6,200, and daily wage of Rs 318 from Rs 231, on May 28. But the CPN-Maoist affiliated trade union has been opposing the hike calling it insufficient. It has been asking for a minimum monthly salary of Rs 15,000.
* Union close to CPN-M calls two-day strike over wage:
A week after the minimum wage of the industrial workers was determined under a tripartite agreement, supposed industrial peace is being threatened by All Nepal Revolutionary Trade Union Federation (ANRTUF),
The federation, which was not part of the deal, on Wednesday announced a two-day strike on Thursday and Friday against the Minimum Wage Determination Committee’s decision to set the minimum wage at Rs 8,000 per month against its demand of Rs 15,000. The committee determined a daily wage at Rs 318 against its demand of Rs 700.
20:11:27 local time BANGLADESH
* Wage board formed for RMG workers:
The government on Thursday formed a six-member wage board to fix the minimum wage for the workers of the country’s trouble-torn readymade garment (RMG) sector.
“The board has been formed, led by former district judge AK Rai, and it’ll submit its report within six months fixing the minimum wage for the RMG workers. And then the government will implement it,” Labour and Employment Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju said.
The minister made the remarks while talking to reporters at his secretariat office.
The other five members of the board are Prof Dr Mohammad Kamal Uddin (neutral member) of International Business Department of Dhaka University, Kazi Saifudin Ahmod (permanent member of RMG owners), labour adviser of Bangladesh Employers Federation Fazlul Hoque Mantu (permanent member of workers), executive president of National Sramik League, Arshad Zamal Dipu, representative of RMG owners, and Sirajul Isalm Rony, representative of RMG workers.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* New wage board for RMG workers announced:
The government on Thursday announced the new wage board for fixing minimum pay of the readymade garment workers.
Led by retired district judge AK Roy, the six-member board includes Dhaka University professor Kamaluddin Ahmed as neutral member.
‘The newly formed wage board for the readymade garment sector is expected to submit its recommendations revising the RMG workers wages before the stipulated time of six months,’ labour minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju told reporters while announcing the formation of the new wage board.
Labour adviser of Bangladesh Employers’ Federation M Saifuddin has been included in the minimum wage board as permanent member from the garment factory owners, executive president of Jatiya Sramik League Fazlul Haque Montu as workers’ representative, BGMEA director Arshad Jamal Dipu as a representative of garment owners and Sirajul Islam Rony as workers’ representative.
Rajiuddin called upon the agitating workers not to go unruly during any demonstrations to push for their pay hike as the issue is now in the process.
* 6-member new wage board for RMG workers formed:
The government formally announced Thursday a new wage board comprising six members for enhancement of wages for the ready-made garment (RMG) workers of the country.
“The board has been formed with district judge AK Roy at its head. The board will submit its report within six months of fixing the minimum wages for the RMG workers, and then the government will implement it,” Labour and Employment Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju said.
The minister said this while talking to reporters at his Secretariat office after a meeting in this regard.
According to the rules, the new wage board will be formed with six members. Of them four are permanent members, and the rest two are the sector’s representatives — one from the owners’ side and the other from the labour groups.
The four permanent members are the board’s chairman, district judge AK Roy, independent member — Professor at International Business Department at Dhaka University Dr Md Kamaluddin, an employers’ representative — labour adviser of Bangladesh Employers’ Federation, Kazi Saifuddin Ahmed, and a workers’ representative — executive president of Jatiya Sramik League Fazlul Haque Montu.
The other two members are Arshad Jamal Dipu, representative of the RMG owners, and Sirajul Isalm Rony, representative of RMG workers.
The minister urged the RMG workers to remain cool and assured them that the board will resolve all their problems.
* Spate of sickness from food a new worry for RMG workers:
Frequent incidents of falling sick from food items served by the factory authorities has stirred fear among the readymade garment (RMG) workers in Ashulia industrial area of Savar.
Workers complained to UNB that owners had bought unhygienic food items at cheap price and distributed those among them and their intake turned them sick.
On May 31, more than 50 workers of Linda Fashion at Jamgarah area fell sick after taking foods distributed by the factory authorities at night.
The next night, some 30 workers of Global Knit factory in Shimultala fell sick having substandard food items served by the authorities.
Earlier, several hundred workers of Nasa Basic, Star Link and Arunima factories in the industrial belt fell sick reportedly from intake of foods given by the factory authorities.
After examining the patients, doctors confirmed food poisoning to be the reason behind their sickness.
* Hundreds rushed to hospital with suspected poisoning at Bangladeshi garment factory:
As many as 600 Bangladesh factory employees have been hospitalized, reporting stomach pains and vomiting after drinking water, suspected to have been deliberately contaminated.
“Primarily we suspect the water supply of the Starlight Sweaters factory was poisoned or contaminated,” local industrial police officer Mahfuzur Rahman told AFP on Wednesday. The factory is located in Gazipur, a suburb just north of the capital, Dhaka.
The estimate of 600 was cited to the news agency by the administrative officer of the factory, with an official from Bangladesh’s Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), stating that the contamination could well have been deliberate.
“We are suspecting that it was poisoning of the water. It could be some sort of pesticide,” S M Mannan, a vice president of the BGMEA, told AFP. He went on to state that the factory has its own water supply from a deep-tube well so the scope for contamination was almost nil. “Someone might have mixed poison in the water,” he said.
* RMG worker’s death in road accident sparks violence:
Workers from different garment factories went on berserk in Kanchpur following the death of a female colleague in a road accident on Thursday.
The deceased was identified as Nasima Khanam, 26, worker of SA Apparels at Nayabari in Kanchpur and resident of the same area.
Witnesses said a covered van of Rahim Steel Mill hit Nasima while he was crossing the road, leaving her dead on the spot about 7pm.
The covered van driver and his helper fled the scene leaving behind their vehicle following the incident.
Angered at the death, workers from different garment factories rushed to the spot and set the covered van on fire and also vandalized a bus.
Informed, two units from Demra fire service doused the blaze. Police later quelled the situation. Vehicular movement on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway through the point was disrupted for about half an hour due to the arson attack.
* Ninety Cents Buys Safety on $22 Jeans in Bangladesh:
In Bangladesh, the difference between a safe factory and an unsafe one comes down to a few cents.
For just pennies per t-shirt or pair of trousers produced, garment manufacturers could build factories where workers get a decent wage, maternity leave, and overtime, where chemicals and fumes are properly vented, and where hallways and fire exits are well lit and wide enough for everyone inside to flee any danger.
Tipu Munshi can explain how. The member of parliament and millionaire owner of Sepal Group, one of the country’s biggest garment manufacturers, charges $1.16 to sew a pair of jeans for Asda, the U.K. subsidiary of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT)
He could make clothing for less and often does, but right now, for a pair of 14-pound ($22) George jeans, he’s charging a Hong Kong-based middleman, Li & Fung Ltd. (494), 90 cents plus 26 cents of profit. Anything less, he cautions, and he would have to start cutting corners and compromise worker safety.
* IndustriALL, UNI and ITUC visit Bangladesh:
A joint mission of IndustriALL, UNI and ITUC visits Dhaka to push for a labour law reform and implementation of the historic Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh which more than 40 leading clothing brands have signed.
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is our strong response to the recent horrific catastrophes in the Bangladeshi garment industry. Negotiated between IndustriALL Global Union, UNI Global Union, and over 40 of the most progressive global fashion brands, the Accord is not just another voluntary initiative. It is a binding agreement with a complaints mechanisms and real consequences for non-compliance.
In the last week of May, IndustriALL Global Union, UNI Global Union and ITUC jointly visited Dhaka, Bangladesh. The purpose of the joint mission was to push for progress on trade union rights, decent work, minimum wage raise, and the acceptance and implementation of the Accord. Meetings took place with the Bangladesh Secretary of Labour and the Deputy Secretary of Labour, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), IndustriALL-affiliated trade unions, and a number of non-governmental organizations working to improve conditions in Bangladesh.
The meetings confirmed the many challenges faced by Bangladeshi workers: inadequate labour laws, inadequate enforcement, a labour movement that is still in many ways just finding its voice, and a powerful but defensive garment industry.
* Barred by Wal-Mart, Bangladesh suppliers feel left on the shelf:
The day after Wal-Mart Stores Inc published Simco Group’s name on its list of banned Bangladesh suppliers, the garment maker learned it had lost an order from U.S. retailer J.C. Penney Co Inc for 500,000 pairs of pajamas.
Khurrum Siddique, Simco’s head of operations, thinks this is no coincidence. He said his factories, named along with dozens of others on Wal-Mart’s “red” list of unauthorized suppliers first published on May 14, have become pariahs for Western brands that are trying to play it safe in Bangladesh after a litany of deadly workplace accidents.
The reputational blow dealt to these businesses exposes a dilemma for multinationals since the April 24 collapse of a building outside Dhaka that killed 1,130 people, most of them low-paid seamstresses. Is it better to sever ties with long-time suppliers that may pose a safety risk, or stay and try to lift standards?
“What Wal-Mart is doing at the moment is nothing but saving its own skin. As a responsible business partner they should stay with us and help improve working conditions for the safety and security of workers,”
read more. & read more. & read more.
* CCC offers to build RMG village at Kalurghat:
Chittagong City Corporation Mayor M Manjur Alam has proposed to set up a garments village at Kalurghat heavy industrial area for relocation of the city RMG factories there.
Mayor Manjur made the proposal when leaders of the BGMEA met with the mayor and detailed the vulnerable state of most of the buildings in city housed by readymade garment (RMG) factories.
The city mayor said the CCC has 11 acres of land at the heavy industrial area where a good number of factories in risky buildings could be relocated. At least 30 buildings of five-floors could be constructed on an area of 0.475 million square feet if the BGMEA agrees to take allotments.
* TK 198 cr proposed for textile & jute sector:
The government has sanctioned Taka 198 crore for the Textile and Jute Ministry in the proposed budget for the fiscal year (FY) 2013-2014.
The allocation is Taka 29 crore lower than the revised budget of the previous FY2012-13 of Taka 227 crore.
Of the allocation, Taka 124 crore has been proposed for the
development expenditure while TK 74 crore for non-development
In the medium term budget framework, the finance ministry shows that the proposed sanction is for enhancing the productivity of the jute, textile and silk sectors to meet the domestic demand and enhance exports and expanding the markets for jute, silk and textile products.
Announcing the budget proposals at the Jatiya Sangsad here today, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said, “We have also strengthened the agricultural research activities and also formulated national agricultural policy and invention of high yielding verities of jute.”
* All options about GSP under consideration: USTR:
The United States administration will announce its decision on GSP benefits for Bangladeshi products by the end of this month and all options are under consideration, including possible suspension, limitation, or withdrawal of the facilities.
“The Administration will announce a decision on the petition by the end of June; and all options remain under consideration, including possible suspension, limitation, or withdrawal of Bangladesh’s GSP benefits,” Assistant United States Trade Representative for Labour Lewis Karesh said while testifying in a US Senate hearing on labour issues in Bangladesh on Thursday.
The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing on Labour issues in Bangladesh on Thursday. Senator Robert Menendez presided over the hearing at the Senate Office Building in Washington.
read more. & read more.
* US senators push for withdrawal of Bangladesh trade privileges:
A prominent Democratic senator Thursday pushed for suspending duty-free privileges to Bangladesh, saying it would send a strong signal that the United States is serious about protecting workers after hundreds died in the global garment industry’s worst accident.
American retailers that source products from factories in Bangladesh also came under pressure at a Senate hearing to adopt common safety standards to prevent a repeat of the April 24 collapse of Rana Plaza in Dhaka that killed 1,127 people.
“No one will want to wear a piece of clothing made in Bangladesh if it’s on the blood of workers,” New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told a hearing on labour conditions in the South Asian nation.
* Emerging from the Rana Plaza Tragedy: A 10-‐Point Reform
Roadmap for a Sustainable Bangladesh RMG Sector :
Last Thursday, June 6 2013, there was an article in the Daily Star:
Is the Bangladesh safety accord enough?
Following the worst industrial accident ever seen in Bangladesh, the loss of 1,131 lives and many more maimed and injured, it is not surprising that the rest of the world wants to step in and help Bangladesh solve its problems.
There has been a need for garment buyers, international trade unions and governments to be seen doing something in the aftermath, and consumers from around the world have been calling for safer factory conditions in Bangladesh.
It is in this context that the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord, more commonly called the Geneva Accord or the EU Accord, has been put together. In fact, planning for this accord had started some time ago, initially as a GIZ plan; the work was then expedited following the Tazreen factory fire. read more here.
* Dr. Syed Tarique-Uz-Zaman, Coordinator, SAPRODEW, Dhaka- Bangladesh,
wrote a comment:
Increase of inspectors –
When the recruitment of new Inspectors will take place not yet known. Then
to make them capable they will have to be trained, and concerned law
needed to be changed with empowering the Inspectors. The process must be
geared up by the Govt.
The Cabinet passed a new Labor Law that makes unionization in RMG
easier – not correct. It has made more difficult.
Mid-level management training –
This is a really weak area now in Garment sector.
In 70’s and 80’s we had two types of Institutions, 3 /4 IRIs (Industrial Relations Institute) for giving round the year training / running different courses mainly on labour laws and 1 BIM (Bangladesh Institute of Management) at Dhaka for giving General admn / accounts and related training to Industrial management people.
At that time we did not have garment factories and number of manufacturing
Industries was quite less.
So those institutes could cater needs of the Industrial sector.
Now we have many more industries and need many more institutes.
But so far I know it is not increasing and existing ones do not run as many courses as they used to organise at that time.
read more here.
* A cry for worker fairness:
Cheap goods from Bangladesh, paid for in the lives of its people, are no bargain. American and European consumers, global retailers, factory owners, the Obama administration and the Bangladeshi government need to come together to make real change, writes Robert Menende
The tragedy at Rana Plaza was a sober reminder that Bangladeshi garment workers still lack basic rights and protections. My mother was a seamstress. She worked in the textile factories of northern New Jersey. I saw how hard and tiring her work was. But it was never lethal. And it shouldn’t be.
The collapse of the Rana Plaza building on April 24 was the worst disaster in the history of the garment industry, killing at least 1,127 people and injuring many more. It should be a turning point for the international community. Just as the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City galvanised action to improve US factory safety standards, the Rana Plaza tragedy is a call to action for consumers here in America and around the world.
That’s why the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday is convening a hearing on worker safety and labour issues in Bangladesh.
* Problems of the Bangladesh RMG sector:
In recent time it is argued that the crisis in the Ready Made Garment (RMG) sector is not only limited to the wages and allowances of the workers.
Productions and exports of the factories have decreased and the price of the apparels is decreasing in the international market. The owners of this industry allege that, the supply of gas and electricity is not continuous, because of which they are to use generators to keep the production process of the factories uninterrupted, resulting in the increasing cost of productions. But it is urgent to reduce the cost of production to comply with the foreign buyers’ demand and the competitive international price. Moreover, serious and untoward incidents in the form of chaos and confusions are frequent in this sector on the basis of rumours and petty demands of the workers. It has become a way of frequently destroying factories by spreading news of misbehaviour of the factory owners with the workers.
The garments owners will have to understand that the minimum wage of a garments worker is Taka 3,000. Actually new wage rate is basically Taka 2,000, of the remaining Taka 1,000, Taka 800 is house rent allowance and Taka 200 is medical allowance, which like other allowances are not usually included in the basic wage/pay in any other services.
(The minimum basic pay excluding other allowances for a government employee is Taka 6,545). It is difficult for the workers to survive with this meagre amount of money under the prevailing high prices of daily necessities.
As a result suppressed despair and discontent is naturally there in the minds of the workers which burst out from time to time, as we see, in the factories causing unrest and disturbances.
To control this is beyond the capacity of the law enforcing agencies and the government cannot and should not always shoulder such selfish interests and responsibilities of the private factory owners at public costs even though the factory owners pay taxes. They are to solve their own problems by consoling the workers by allowing them satisfactory wages, security and congenial working environments. Governments can at best assist them in these regards.
19:41:27 local time INDIA
* Powerloom weavers intensify stir:
Demand wage increase following expiry of 3-year agreement
A total of 138 powerloom weavers were arrested at Sankarapandiapuram near Rajapalayam on Wednesday, when they were proceeding towards the graveyard to “settle there” pressing for their demands.
Powerloom weavers of Sathirapatti, Samusigapuram, Sankarapandiapuram, Vagaikulampatti, Iyanapuram, Rajapalayam and nearby villages are engaged in manufacturing surgical gauze and surgical bandage cloth. They have been on strike since May 4 seeking wage hike following the expiry of a three-year wage agreement.
Their other demands include 8.33 per cent bonus, night shift allowance of Rs.20, nine holidays a year, coverage under Provident Fund (PF) and Employees State Insurance (ESI) Schemes and maternity leave for a month.
* Man-made fibre consumption to increase in next three years:
Weavers and textile processors in Surat are looking forward to an increase in consumption of man-made fibre (MMF) in the domestic market at a compounded annual growth rate of 5.2 per cent till 2015-16.
A recent industry research report says that factors like rise in disposable income, growing consumer class, rising urbanization, increasing retail penetration and limited supply of cotton is set to increase the share of MMFs like polyester and viscose in the market in the next four years.
The sector contributes around 40 per cent of the MMF fabric demand in the country. Around 6.5 lakh power loom machines weave about 3 crore metres of MMF fabric per day worth Rs 30,000 crore. Industry sources said that the MMF and cotton based fabric consumption ratio in the domestic market is 40:60. Globally, the share of MMF is about 65 per cent. However, with limited supply of cotton and price advantage, the market for MMFs like polyester, viscose and blended fabrics is gradually rising in the domestic market also.
* Weak rupee dampens spirits of knitwear exporters in Tirupur:
High vulnerability and volatility against the dollar causing concern
The rupee hitting ‘near one-year’ low of Rs. 57 to a dollar on the intraday before closing at Rs. 56.83 on Thursday, has dampened the spirits of the knitwear exporters in Tirupur cluster.
The high vulnerability and volatility of the rupee against the dollar are causing concern for them.
This is because it makes it difficult to quote prices for the end-products and has also diminished the hopes of any possible rate cuts by Reserve Bank of India in the mid-quarter monetary police review scheduled later this month.
* Denim makers upbeat after better Q4 margins in FY13:
Low cotton prices, value added products help increase bottomline manifold
Despite over supply in the market, the denim fabric manufacturing firms have shown considerable rise in margins for the fourth quarter of the fiscal ended 2012-13.
The denim industry, led by Arvind Limited, Aarvee Denims & Exports Limited, KG Denim Limited and Nandan Exim Limited, among others, saw bottomline increasing manifold for Q4 of FY ’13.
According to industry players and experts alike, it is the growth in domestic market, drop in raw material prices along with success of value added products that has resulted in the positive trend.
* India set to be world’s largest cotton producer by 2022:
India is projected to replace China as the world’s largest cotton producer by 2022 on account of higher growth in output over the next decade, according to OECD-FAO report.
“China’s cotton production is expected to decline 17 per cent while production in India is projected to increase 25 per cent, positioning it as the world’s largest producer,” the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ( OECD) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a report.
“India will trade places with China as the top cotton producer,” it added.
* Ministry asks data to be filed for a ‘cotton balance sheet’:
Aims to collect ‘statistics on production, consumption and closing stock of cotton for preparation of realistic Cotton Balance Sheet, determining NCDP
In a bid to prepare a realistic ‘cotton balance sheet’, the Union textiles ministry has called for data submission on cotton by independent ginning mills, factories and traders.
In a notification issued on Thursday, the ministry has sought for statistics through monthly returns from independent cotton ginning factories, independent cotton pressing factories, cotton ginning and pressing factories, traders, surgical cotton or cotton wadding manufacturing units and cotton textile mills.
19:11:27 local time PAKISTAN
* Textile output to improve as energy crises top of government’s priorities:
The country’s textile sector having enjoyed the government’s sympathy for the longest time has emerged as a leading exporter and one of the major employers in the country.
The sector’s importance in any federal budget therefore cannot be ignored, said analysts at InvestCap Research.
They said FBR had replaced the zero-rating regime for the textile industry with a 2% value added tax for the textile value chain, both for registered and unregistered entities. The refunds, under the scheme, would be available against exports, however, refunds to the unregistered entities would not be allowed.
* Poor need living wage far above poverty threshold:
In an entire year a Bangladeshi garment worker will make less than one of the world’s wealthiest people, Gina Reinhardt, makes in one single second.
Six people in the Walmart family own more wealth than the annual budget of Bangladesh’s government. One percent of the world’s population owns more wealth than the bottom 95% and the global financial crisis has increased inequality even further.
Last Friday a group of UN appointed “eminent persons” presented UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon with a report that could have provided bold and desperately needed solutions to shift the perverse wealth differences that currently exist.
It could have aimed to redistribute some of the world’s resources to promote dignity for the 40% of people who exist on less than US$2 (61 baht) per day.
Instead, the High Level Panel presented the report “A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development”. The report outlines possible new development goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015.
It recommends 12 laudable goals that aspire to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and incorporate sustainable development, governance and some human rights.
But what would these goals mean to women working in the garment industry in Bangladesh working 15 hour days, separated from their children, subject to fires, building collapses and stifling conditions to make the cheapest possible clothes for northern consumers?
What would these goals mean to indigenous communities evicted from their lands to make way for more extractive industries, eroding their lands for generations?
What would they mean for migrant domestic workers, denied wages, time off, personal space and subjected to harassment?
And what do these goals mean for the obscenely rich, earning more in one second than those who have been “lifted out of extreme poverty” earn in an entire year?
I’m sorry to say … very little.