05:03:13 local time CHINA
* Chinese cotton textile industry discusses current dilemma:
05:03:13 local time PHILIPPINES
* KMU calls for nationwide pre-SONA protest vs. rising prices:
Condemning the rising prices of basic goods and services, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno called for a nationwide protest one week before Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s fourth State of the Nation Address on July 22, saying the protest, not the chief executive’s speech, will show the real situation of the Filipino people.
KMU condemned increases and pending increases in the prices and rates of what it calls “PaSaKiTT” or Petrolyo, SSS premium contributions, Kuryente, Tubig and Tuition Fee. The phrase comes from the Filipino word “pasakit” which stands for adds to suffering or one’s burden.
“We are calliing on Filipinos across the country to rise up against the rising prices of basic goods and services. Let us hold a nationwide protest one week before Aquino’s SONA and show the real state of the nation,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
04:03:13 local time VIET NAM
* Chinese firms seen scaling up investments into textile industry:
Vietnam’s textile-garment industry will see a wave of Chinese investment, said a source from Vietnam National Garment and Textile Group (Vinatex).
Chinese firms are quick to seize investment opportunities. Vietnamese apparel products would enjoy a zero tariff in the U.S. after Vietnam signs the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, said the source.
The garment industry will be the strongest magnet for Chinese investors, while textile and dyeing will also lure Chinese investment, but at a lower level, he forecast. Therefore, local players will face tougher competition when TPP comes into force.
Currently, Vietnamese garment manufacturers have weak competitiveness because they still depend heavily on materials imported from China.
Vinatex is working on a plan to develop the textile-garment industry until 2015 with an aim of helping local manufacturers improve their competitiveness when TPP takes effect.
04:03:13 local time THAILAND
* Business closures down in May, but 54 export firms shut:
More than 50 export companies shut down last month after the baht’s appreciation, while the overall number of business closures dropped, the Business Development Department reported yesterday.
“The main reason exporters closed is that they faced losses,” said Deputy Commerce Minister Natthawut Saikua.
The department reported a total of 181 export firms collapsing in the first five months of the year, including 54 in May.
According to the department’s survey, 39 per cent of businesses winding up last month said they had faced losses.
Natthawut said that although the baht depreciated slightly last month, its strength since early in the year had affected some exporters, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises.
Export businesses that closed last month included those in steel and ores, consumer goods, machinery, agricultural supplies, jewellery, footwear and garments.
04:03:13 local time CAMBODIA
* Thousands block National Road Two:
Thousands of workers from the Macau-owned M & V International Manufacturing Ltd on Wednesday blocked National Road Two to demand better working conditions.
They used their bicycles and motorcycles to completely block the traffic.
The protestors have 11 lists of demands including bonuses of 4,000 riel ($1) for food, $3 for holiday pay, and $12 for transportation as well as other benefits.
* Eight More Charged Over Violent Factory Protest:
A court official at the Kompong Speu Provincial Court said Monday that a total of 16 union representatives have been charged with damaging property and inciting violence during a protest outside a garment factory earlier this month, twice the number of arrests previously confirmed.
Provincial Judge Chhim Ritthy said Monday the additional eight union representatives from Taiwanese-owned Sabrina (Cambodia) Garment MFG Corp., which produces clothing for U.S. sports brand Nike, are still at large and were charged after the factory filed a law suit against them.
* Cambodian garment workers charged over strike violence:
Sixteen Cambodian garment workers and union representatives have been charged with inciting violence and damaging property during a strike for higher pay at a factory making clothes for U.S. sportswear company Nike, a lawyer said on Tuesday.
Low-cost labor has attracted Western brands to Cambodia and garments now account for around 75 percent of exports from the Southeast Asian country, but strikes over pay and working conditions have become common.
Up to 4,000 workers at Sabrina (Cambodia) Garment Manufacturing Co, which employs more than 5,000 people, went on strike on May 21. Police intervened to end protests on May 27 and on June 3, when some strikers rampaged through the factory.
Lawyer Kuch Ratha told Reuters that eight workers were in custody and the other people charged were in hiding.
“The court has denied our request for bail for the eight,” he said.
The Free Trade Union (FTU), which is active at the Sabrina plant, said last week that 288 workers had been fired on June 6 and 7 for going on strike.
03:03:13 local time BANGLADESH
* 30 RMG workers fall sick in N’ganj:
At least 30 garment workers were hospitalised on Monday night as they fell sick after having dinner served by the factory authorities at Fatullah in sadar upazila.
Hospital sources said authorities of Liberty Garment and Midland Knitwear factories in Khaterpool area served egg and bread to the female workers of night shift around 9:15 pm.
After having the food, the workers fell sick and started vomiting. Later, 30 workers were admitted to Naraynganj General (Victoria) Hospital.
Civil surgeon Dr Dulal Chandra Chowdhury said excessive heat might have caused food poisoning and the workers are now out of danger.
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* 40 apparel workers injured in stampede:
At least 40 workers of a garment factory were injured in stampede following a fire incident at Kalyanpur area in the capital Tuesday afternoon, our correspondent reported.
The fire originated from an electric short circuit at about 3:00pm in ‘Creative Shirt factory’ housed in a 6-storey building prompted the panic-stricken workers to leave their workplaces hastily, witnesses said.
Queried about the fire incident, an official of fire service and civil defence headquarter said no fire incident was reported to them.
Salauddin Khan, officer-in-charge of Mirpur thana, however, acknowledged that there was a fire and it was doused immediately.
* Fire at Jessore jute mill:
Bales of jute and other valuables worth Tk 2.58 crore were gutted by a fire that broke at Afil Jute Weaving Mills here on Tuesday afternoon.
Taposh Kumar Das, manager of the mill owned by Sheikh Afil Uddin MP, said the fire originated at the warehouse off sparks from the welding on it around 2:30 pm and it soon engulfed the whole mill.
On information, firefighters rushed in and doused the blaze after hectic efforts of three hours.
The mill authorities estimated the loss caused by the fire at Tk 2.58 crore.
* Utah Apparels shut, agrees to pay workers’ benefits:
In the face of strong protest, the management of Utah Apparels Ltd on Tuesday agreed to pay termination benefits to workers.
After a daylong meeting with the workers at the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association office, the Utah management announced that the factory would be closed for an indefinite period and all its workers would get termination benefits, including two festival bonuses.
BGMEA leaders, who were present at the meeting, also assured the workers that they would get termination benefits, including all dues, as per the labour law by June 23.
The workers of Utah Apparels Ltd have been staging demonstrations for last 10 days on the factory premises to press their eight-point demand, including Tk 8,000 as minimum wage.
* Gazipur workers go crazy citing ‘ghost’ attack:
Hundreds of workers started protest following a rumour that a female worker fell sick in “an attack by ghost”
Frightened workers at a Gazipur garments factory Tuesday stopped work and went on rampage, demanding that authorities take “necessary steps” to drive a“ghost”away from the premises.
At least 14 people, including two policemen, were injured in an ensuing clash to contain the violence,police and witnesses said.
Gazipur industrial police said about 3,500workers of Norf Knitting Factory at Islampur in sadar upazila were panic-stricken when a rumor spread that a female colleague had fallen sick after being “attackedby a ghost”inside a toilet.
The frightened workers demanded that authorities hold a “miladmahfil” to exorcise the “ghost”. Though the management organiseda milad (a religious rite)in response to the demand, most of the workers were apparently not informed about it.
The workers began demonstrating and refused to work. At one stage, the agitated workers started to vandalise the factory. When police were called in, they hurled brickbats, injuring two law enforcers.
Police then charged batons and fired teargas shells and shot gun pellets to disperse the protesters, wounding at least a dozen workers. The injured were taken to a nearby clinic and hospital.
* RMG workers go on rampage in Ashulia:
Workers of a garment factory in Ashulia vandalised their factory on Tuesday protesting the alleged abduction of one of their coworkers by the authorities.
Workers said Farroque, a swing operator of ‘Magpie Composite Textile Ltd’ in Kathgara area, was allegedly abducted by the factory authorities for his involvement in a pay-hike movement against them.
Outraged by the incident, some 2,000 workers of the factory abstained from work in the morning and went on the rampage.They carried out widespread vandalism from first floor to sixth floor. At one stage, they confined the higher factory officials in a room.
On information, members of Industrial Police rushed in and quelled the agitating garment workers assuring them of taking necessary steps to rescue Farroque.
Later, the factory authorities suspended production for the day.
Additional police have been deployed in front of the factory to fend off further untoward incident.
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* Rumour on ghost at Gazipur garment factory:
The authorities declared holiday at two garment factories in Gazipur for Tuesday amid workers’ strike — over rumour on ghost at a factory and for wage hike at the other.
Witnesses and the police said that the workers of Norf Knitting Factory at Islampur of Gazipur sadar uapazila enforced strike at the factory alleging that the management took no step to drive out a ghost.
Gazipur Industrial Police inspector Shawkat Kabir and Sayed Mannan Ali and workers of the factory said that panic gripped the workers following a rumour that workers were being sick fater being attacked by a ghost in the washrooms at the factory.
The workers on Tuesday enforced a strike as the management paid no heed to their demand for holding a prayer session and distributing food among destitute people to drive out the ghost.
At one stage the agitated workers ransacked the factory.
The workers also clashed with the police, who rushed there to calm the situation.
The clash injured 14 people including two policemen.
The police controlled the situation firing rubber bullets and tear gas shells.
The management declared holiday at the factory for the day to avert any further untoward incident.
Gazipur Industrial Police inspector Md Selim Reza said that the workers of Rabab Fashion at Kunia Boardbazar under sadar upazila enforced a strike at the factory on Tuesday pressing for their demands including an increase in wages and allowances.
The management declared holiday at the factory for the day.
* Mass hysteria hits RMG workers:
Hundreds of factory workers who fell sick in recent weeks could have been struck down by a mysterious illness described as a type of “mass hysteria,” officials said Tuesday, reports AFP
Garment workers at several factories fell sick with stomach pains and vomiting, leading officials to initially suspect contaminated drinking water at their workplaces as the cause.
But doctors and microbiologists investigating the illness said they found nothing wrong with the water supplied at one of the factories where up to 600 workers fell ill earlier this month.
Instead a team from the country’s Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) suspect a condition known as “mass hysteria” which struck the country about eight years ago, and forced dozens of schools and factories to close.
“Water at Starlight Sweaters contained normal contaminants,” the director of IEDCR, Mahmudur Rahman, told AFP, referring to the factory where some 600 workers fell ill.
“We suspect it (to be) a mass psychogenic illness or mass hysteria that affects people from a same group. This happens to mentally and physically vulnerable people,” he added.
The condition appears highly contagious-as soon as one or two workers fall sick, others are immediately struck with similar symptoms, he said, adding that extremely hot weather contributes to their vulnerability.
“This type of illness can be triggered by big events or tragedies. This is obvious because the disaster of Rana Plaza and subsequent highlighting of poor conditions in our factories have panicked garment workers,” Rahman said.
Rahman feared that more workers could fall sick to the “panic attack” linked to mass psychogenic illness, “unless there is counselling for them and assurances that safety standards would be improved”.
* Businesses for more studies on proposed draft bill:
Workers’ Participation Fund
Business people want the government to undertake more rounds of studies on the proposed Labour Act (Amendment) Bill, incorporating the provisions for the workers’ participation in companies’ profit known as Workers’ Participation Fund, devised by the ministry of labour, sources said.
The ministry of labour has devised the process for the private companies, irrespective of the number of workers, providing for making them pay money to a fund established by the government for the workers’ welfare.
The draft bill alongwith its provisions relate to the Workers’ Participation Fund has already been placed before parliament that now awaiting scrutiny of the relevant standing committee of the Jatiya Sangsad (JS) is aimed to promote workers welfare in different sectors.
If the proposed bill is passed in parliament, then a company, having its paid-up capital of Tk 10 million, at least, and the value of its fixed assets at Tk 20 million as at the close of its accounting year, has to deposit money to the workers’ participation fund.
* US okays safety accord bill on Bangladeshi RMG:
The accord will improve conditions in Bangladesh ready-made garment factories
The US House of Representatives has approved a defence authorisation bill that will require the military-branded garments made in Bangladesh and sold at base retail stores owned by the Department of Defence comply with an enforceable fire and building safety accord, reports UNB.
The accord will improve conditions in Bangladesh ready-made garment factories. The amendment was authored by Reps Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill) and George Miller (D-Calif), according to a web press release of Representative Jan Schakowsky.
“We thank Chairman Buck McKeon and Ranking Member Adam Smith of Armed Services Committee for working with us to ensure that it was considered by the full House of Representatives,” said Schakowsky and Miller in a joint statement.
“Military-branded garments made for sale at base retail stores operated by the Department of Defence should uphold our nation’s core values and meet international labor standards.”
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* ‘Ticfa to usher a platform for dialogue with USA’:
Chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) Ghulam Hussain on Tuesday said that the Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (TICFA), which has recently been approved in the cabinet, will work as the platform of formal dialogue with the United States.
“We should not think whether the agreement is good or bad. It is a platform for dialogue”, he said adding that the agreement would ensure dialogue for business purpose with the United States at least once a year.
The NBR chairman said this while addressing a seminar as the chief guest this noon at a city hotel here.
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* Early TICFA move could avert adverse GSP decision:
An early approval of the Trade and Investment Forum Agreement (TICFA) may have helped Bangladesh avert an unfavourable situation with regard to continuation of GSP facilities for Bangladeshi products in the USA, observed government officials.
Bangladesh had been seized of the matter for about 11 years, unable to decide on the steps to be taken. Finally on Monday, the Cabinet approved the draft of TICFA, paving the way for the signing of the agreement.
The officials are of the view that had there been a TICFA between Bangladesh and the USA, Dhaka could have avoided the hearing of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) regarding the GSP. They argue that all trade-related issues could be discussed in the forum that would have been established under TICFA.
“Although there is no direct link between TICFA and the GSP, we could have used the agreement to avoid the USTR hearing on the GSP,” said a senior official while talking to The Independent. He added: “At this point, I don’t think the TICFA approval will have any impact on the GSP decision.”
* TICFA at long last:
With the Cabinet’s nod to give it a go ahead, the proposed Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (TICFA) between Bangladesh and the USA is almost through, awaiting to be signed at a convenient time by the two governments.
This, no doubt, marks the close of a long-drawn debate and the beginning of a new chapter in US-Bangladesh relations.
The original proposal for a bilateral trade and investment agreement dubbed TIFA (Trade and Investment Framework Agreement), to recall, came way back in 2003, and was abandoned on Bangladesh’s objection to some of the paragraphs, particularly those on labour rights, corruption and bribery.
It wanted to drop and rephrase those parts. The present proposal, renamed TICFA, came up subsequently with some modifications.
And here, although the corruption- and bribery-related clauses were conveniently reformulated, the issue that continued to hold the premise of dispute, apparently stalling the progress of signing the agreement, related to labour rights.
The US proposal in the revised draft text referred to all core labour standards adopted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO): freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour, effective abolition of child labour, and elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
* TICFA unnecessary amid multilateral arrangements: experts:
Economists and trade experts on Tuesday said that Bangladesh should not go for any bilateral arrangements like the proposed Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement with the United States for extra facilities in trade and investment sectors as multilateral arrangements exist under the World Trade Organisation.
They also expressed concern that the United States might try to establish its control over Bangladesh’s economy, its sovereignty and the Bay of Bengal region by manipulating the provision of the agreement.
Some others, however, said that the government’s initiative to sign the TICFA with the United States was a positive move for additional benefits in trade and investments.
‘There is no need to sign TICFA to increase trade and investment with the United States as there are multilateral arrangements under the WTO for the purpose and Bangladesh should prefer such arrangements,’ economist Anu Muhammad told New Age.
* Left parties protest against TICFA:
Different left leaning political parties on Tuesday protested against the government move to sign a Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement with the United States.
They made the protests at separate demonstrations in the capital as the cabinet on Monday approved the draft of the TICFA deal.
Communist Party of Bangladesh and Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal held a rally in front of the National Press Club braving police obstacles.
Acting CPB general secretary Mohammad Shah Alam said at the rally that the proposed TICFA deal was against the national interests on Bangladesh
‘The economy of the country will be hampered by the deal as the US would dominate on the economy of Bangladesh,’ he said.
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* 9 new units to start production in Comilla EPZ soon:
Nine new units will start production in Comilla Export Processing Zone soon which will create employment opportunities for about 15,000 workers.
Managing Director of Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA), Comilla, Md Abdus Sobhan said at present there are 20,000 workers in the EPZ and employment will be created for 15,000 more workers when the nine new units will start operation.
Production in these units includes sweater, denim fabrics, garments, electric appliances, shoes, zipper, yarn, poly bag, plastic material and textile.
At present, 15 foreign companies, nine joint-venture and 10 Bangladeshi companies have been operating in the zone. Investments were made here from the U.K. Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, China, the Netherlands, France, USA, Ireland, South Korea, Indonesia and Pakistan.
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THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* DNA testing of Rana Plaza collapse victims uncertain:
BGMEA, govt squabble over bearing the cost
The fate of DNA test to know the identities of dead bodies of Rana Plaza victims hangs in the balance as the apparel apex body and the government are allegedly trying to shift the responsibility of bearing the cost for the purpose onto each other, sources said.
According to an estimate, around Tk 5.0 million is required for carrying out the DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) test for some 100 dead bodies that were recovered from rubbles of the multi-storied building at Savar. The building-collapse left at least 1,130 people killed and about 1,800 others injured.
Both the sides are still in a process of exchanging letters and documents and pushing each other for bearing the cost of the DNA test even nearly two months after the tragedy.
As a result, the families of the victims are still in the dark about whether they would either be able to know the identity of their near ones or get compensation money.
* Families of Rana Plaza victims receive cheques from PM:
A total of 133 family members of the dead garment workers and 18 critically injured victims in Rana Plaza building collapse received financial assistance from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister distributed the ‘Family Savings Certificate’ among them at her office.
Each of the critically injured persons received saving certificate of Tk 15 to 10 lakh depending on the gravity of their injuries. The same amount of money was distributed among each of the family members of the dead garment workers.
Earlier, 452 injured garment workers and family members of the deceased garment workers received financial assistance from the Prime Minister.
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* Railway minister hands over Tk 45 lakh to PM for Rana Plaza victims:
Railway Minister Md Mujibul Haque today handed over a cheque for Taka 45,19,560, one day’s salary of the officers and employees of the ministry and the railway staff, to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the PM’s Office here for the Savar Rana Plaza victims.
Acting Secretary of the Railway Ministry Md Abul Kalam Azad and Director General (DG) of Bangladesh Railway Md Abu Taher were present.
* Three Rana Plaza engineers placed on two-day fresh remand:
A Dhaka court Monday placed three engineers involved with authorising construction of the collapsed Rana Plaza on a fresh two-day remand in a criminal case submitted in connection with the Savar Tragedy.
Dhaka Senior Judicial Magistrate Toybul Hasan granted two days’ fresh remand under police custody against a seven-day remand prayer. The court also rejected bail plea placed by the accused themselves as Dhaka Bar Association announced earlier that they would not represent for any of the accused in the Rana Plaza cases.
Investigation Officer (IO) of the case and CID Assistant Superintendent, Bijoy Krishna Khar, produced the accused engineers before the court and made seven days’ fresh police remand plea.
02:33:13 local time INDIA
* Cheaper rupee & Bangladesh’s troubles cheer India’s apparel exporters:
Exporters have shifted their focus to non-traditional markets like South America, Japan, New Zealand to increase exports
Apparel export of $17 billion is expected this financial year, compared to $14 bn last year, say those in the trade.
A cheaper rupee will help. Exporters are hoping to capture buyers who used to source apparel from Bangladesh. The latter, currently the second largest apparel exporter in the world, has seen several negative happenings which have highlighted the poor working conditions of labour in the segment. These have led to several foreign brands which had outsourced garment making there to try and move away. Indian exporters are trying to attract those foreign retailers to shift their sourcing to India.
* SMEs in textile sector demands reduction in interest rates:
Request PM to make funds available for the SME textile sector at 7% a year
Perturbed by the high cost of production, the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the textile sector in Punjab are demanding a reduction in interest rates offered by banks and financial institutions.
In a letter to Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh the SMEs requested to make funds available for the SME textile sector at seven per cent a year interest on the lines of agriculture sector, enabling them to compete with overseas manufacturers who get funds much cheaper.
Further, this will help SME textile sector to grow in domestic and international markets.
* Cotton textile exports expected to double:
With the textile industry reviving from two years of slowdown, the Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (Texprocil) is confident that cotton textile exports from the country will double in three years.
Chairman of the council Manickam Ramaswamy told The Hindu that the annual cotton textile export now was worth $ 10 billion, consisting of cotton yarn, fabric and home textiles. India is most competitive manufacturer of textile products globally, compared to China and Bangladesh too. It has several advantages such as availability of cotton and modern technology in textile mills.
However, there are some issues that need to be addressed by the Government to ensure that exports grow faster. The cost of labour in China was at least eight times higher than Bangladesh and the import duty higher than India. However, the Chinese manufacturers get Value Added Tax refund of 17 per cent. Bangladesh and China are registering faster growth of exports compared to India, he said.
* Credit policy disappoints knitwear exporters:
Knitwear exporters have expressed their disappointment over the RBI’s stand in keeping the key rates unchanged.
Reacting to the RBI’s credit policy, A. Sakthivel, President, Tirupur Exporters’ Association, said that SME units had lost their competitiveness in the international market because of the high interest rate prevailing in the country.
“Banks in Tirupur district could achieve only 75 per cent of their credit target during the last fiscal. (Against the credit target of Rs 3,661 crore, banks had achieved only Rs 2,742 crore). Poor off-take of credit could partly be due to the high rates apart from market conditions,” he said and stressed on the need lowering the interest rate.
* SIHMA seeks ban on cotton export:
The South India Hosiery Manufacturers Association (SIHMA) has made an appeal to the Union Government seeking a ban on export of cotton and also requested to give directions for stopping online cotton sales by Cotton Corporation of India, for stabilising the yarn prices.
In the representations to Union Agriculture and Commerce Ministries, the SIHMA president A.C. Eswaran said banning the export of cotton at this moment would help ensure that whatever stocks available would get utilised only for domestic consumption till the next cotton season starts in October.
02:33:13 local time SRI LANKA
* Trade agreements that don’t deliver the goods:
A previous Verité Insight found that bi-lateral and regional trade agreements were proliferating, especially in Asia, but Sri Lanka was missing out. Despite once being a regional pioneer in trade agreements, Sri Lanka has not signed a major agreement in almost seven years.
But that is not the only problem. The data analysed in the same Insight showed that Sri Lanka may not be benefiting much from its existing trade agreements either. In short, there are two problems. First is the quantity of trade agreements and second is the quality. This second problem deserves further analysis.
For example, India granted preferential access to eight million pieces of Sri Lankan apparel, provided the fabric used in production was sourced from India. But because Sri Lankan apparel manufactures don’t use Indian fabric, almost no benefit accrued in trade.
In 2008 this was relaxed allowing for three million pieces that were not restricted by rules of origin and that export quota was quickly filled. However, the remaining five-million piece quota still remains largely underutilized, showing just how important rules of origin are in determining a trade agreement’s success.
02:03:13 local time PAKISTAN
* Minimum wage to hit Rs 15,000: Shahbaz:
Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that his government has presented a revolutionary budget for the fiscal year 2013-14 in which a number of important measures have been announced for the progress, development and welfare of the masses.
He said the new provincial budget would usher in an era of progress and prosperity. He said that tax has been imposed on the elite while the poor and low-income segments have not been burdened. The chief minister said that new budget would prove to be a roadmap of consolidated development in social sectors.
He was presiding over a high level meeting. Punjab Finance Minister Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman, Minister for Local Government and Law Rana Sanaullah Khan, Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan, Advisor Azm-ul-Haq, secretary finance, secretary information and other officials were present.
“The minimum wage of labourers has been increased from Rs 9,000 to Rs10,000 and will be gradually increased to Rs 15,000 per month. Instead of putting burden on the common man in the new budget, tax will be recovered from the elite and spent on the welfare and uplift of the poor and low-income people,” said Shahbaz Sharif.
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* US discusses duty-free entry for Pakistani exports:
The United States, with support from the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and the Centre for International Private Enterprise organized a conference on Tuesday to promote exports and diversification of Pakistani goods to the US, especially under the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme and further deepen bilateral engagements.
”US markets are open,” said Consul General Michael Dodman, who arrived in Karachi last month, adding that the purpose of the event was to provide concrete information, discuss trade access and marketing and branding strategies to help boost Pakistani exports to the US.
“Pakistan enjoys a significant trade surplus with the US and its exports have amounted to about $3 billion over the previous few years, with about 90 per cent in textile and apparel, which presents an opportunity to diversify Pakistani exports to the US,” said Dodman.
* Pak textile goods have huge potential in Ukraine :
Pakistani textiles, textile made-ups, pharmaceuticals, rice, fruits, surgical goods, sports goods have a huge potential in Ukraine therefore Pakistani businessmen should avail opportunities in these areas.
This was stated by Ambassador-designate to Ukraine Maj Gen (r) Wajahat Ali Muftee while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday. LCCI Vice President Mian Abuzar Shad presented address of welcome while Executive Committee member Mian Zahid Javaid, former EC members Rehmatulla Javed, Dr Shahid Raza and Shahzad Azam Khan also spoke on the occasion.
Ambassador-designate said that both Pakistan and Ukraine have very strong credentials to give new strengthens to their respective economies but lack of information about each other’s potentials is coming in the way and there is a need to bridge this gap.