20:13:35 local time CHINA
* Apparel sales jump in May:
The China National Garment Association said on Wednesday that apparel sales in May rose 6.6 percent year-on-year, 5.5 percentage points faster than a month earlier.
So strong are the inventories, the association said, that if all the garment factories closed there would be enough for three years.
The China National Textile and Apparel Council cited two reasons for the high inventories. First, Chinese clothing brands have developed too fast in recent years and the purchasing power of potential customers has not increased.
Second, some clothing companies went into massive production to reduce costs, leading to a “sameness” in products, something that would-be buyers do not like.
20:13:35 local time PHILIPPINES
* Workers storm SSS office, oppose premium hike:
Workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno again stormed the Social Security System’s main office along East Avenue, Quezon City today to voice opposition to a plan to increase premium contributions, saying the latter would add to the burden borne by the country’s workers.
Last Labor Day, Pres. Noynoy Aquino called for an increase in premium contributions to the SSS, citing the agency’s P1.1 Trillion “unfunded liability” which, dialogues with SSS officials reveal, is merely a projection of such liability after 60 years.
SSS officials, however, said that the premium hike will be used to fund improvements in the benefits provided by the agency to its members, including an unemployment allowance, and will be implemented starting June or July this year.
19:13:35 local time VIET NAM
* Garment sector dressed for success:
The textile and garment sector is working to get itself in shape for brighter horizons.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade is drafting the textile-garment industry development planning to 2020, with vision towards 2030 for submission to the prime minister for approval.
This plan will see landmark changes compared to the previous plan approved by the government via Decision 36/2008/QD-TTg in 2008.
In the new planning, the sector envisages an export value of $31-$32 billion by 2020, which will double to $60-$65 billion by 2030 and hiking localisation rate to 60 and 80 per cent, respectively.
Under current planning, by 2015 the sector is set to report $18 billion in total export value and to $25 billion by 2020, and respective localisation rates were set at 60 and 70 per cent.
* FTAs offer business opportunities:
Workers make clothes for export at Nha Be Garment Company. Small and medium-sized enterprises, especially those in the textile and garment sector, are urged to take advantage of the country’s new Free Trade Agreements. — VNA/VNS Photo Ha Thai
Small- and medium-sized enterprises should learn how to take advantage of new Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that will take effect within the near future, ministry officials have urged.
Vuong Duc Anh, a high-ranking official with the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Import-Export Department, said that SMEs were often not aware of the benefits of trade agreements with other countries.
Anh, along with other leading officials, spoke at a seminar on Monday with representatives of Japanese companies based in Viet Nam.
Viet Nam is currently negotiating FTAs with the EU and Hong Kong as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with Canada and the US.
* Vietnam to benefit greatly from RCEP, say experts:
Vietnamese enterprises will enjoy many benefits from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) between 10 ASEAN nations and six partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, Japanese experts said.
Speaking at a seminar on free trade agreements (FTA) organized by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in HCMC on Monday, Kazunobu Hayakawa of JETRO’s Bangkok Research Center said that it is complicated to make use of FTA incentives within the ASEAN region.
Kohei Shiino, deputy director of JETRO Singapore, said that RCEP will bring about big advantages for Vietnam’s garment and textile industry.
Currently, to enjoy tax incentives of the ASEAN-Japan FTA, materials of Vietnam-made apparel products exported to Japan must have ASEAN and Japan origins. Meanwhile, over 33% of Vietnam’s apparel materials are imported from China.
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19:13:35 local time THAILAND
* Thailand’s Islamic Fashions To Be Promoted On World Stage:
Efforts have been intensified to promote Thailand’s Islamic fashions on the world stage, paving the way for the Kingdom to become a global export base of Islamic apparels in the future, especially to the oil-rich Muslim-dominant Middle East, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.
As part of the efforts, the Department of Industrial Promotion, under the Thai Ministry of Industry, and Srinakharinwirot University on Wednesday jointly organised a contest of Islamic clothes to support Thailand’s goal on reaching worldwide Islamic garment demand, worth 2.88 trillion baht (RM295.9 billion), annually.
19:13:35 local time CAMBODIA
* PM: Stop striking, or the economy gets it:
M&V garment factory workers block Phnom Penh’s National Road 2 during a protest yesterday. The workers have been on strike over a week, demanding higher pay and better working conditions. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday appealed to the approximately 500,000 workers employed in Cambodia’s garment industry to avoid strikes or risk losing factory owners’ business to other countries.
Speaking at the inauguration of a high school in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district, home to 38 garment and footwear factories, the premier noted that garment workers’ monthly minimum wage rose in May to $80 – a rate significantly better than in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
“Now salaries are not in line with [workers’] demands, but at least salaries have increased more than in some countries that are competing with us,” he said. “Do not allow investors to leave our country or there will be consequences for us.”
Without naming the worker or factory, the Prime Minister said that after a prolonged strike caused a factory to close, the strike’s leader had been unable to find other factory work because of his “bad background”.
Hun Sen urged that worker representatives, the Labour Ministry and employers convene regularly to balance wage increases against the risk of overpaying workers, which, he warned, could result in a situation like Greece’s debt crisis.
The premier’s speech came amid daily strikes for better working conditions and higher salaries. At a demonstration yesterday morning, about 1,000 workers from the M&V garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district blocked National Road 2 for an hour.
In response to Hun Sen’s speech, Eak Chan, M&V representative for the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’s Democratic Union, said “workers’ demands are never too excessive, because they’re legal and show that companies must respect the law.”
* Cambodia PM says garment firms may quit over wage rows:
Cambodia’s strongman Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday warned garment workers that protests demanding higher wages could push manufacturers to quit the country.
His appeal came after unions last week said hundreds of workers had been fired from a factory making sportswear for US giant Nike after a series of pay protests.
Cambodian workers have repeatedly demonstrated against low wages and tough conditions in the multibillion-dollar textile industry, which produces goods for top western brands.
Currently workers can earn around $110 a month with overtime.
Hun Sen said repeated protests may imperil the country’s lucrative garment industry by persuading firms to relocate to Myanmar, Laos and India where labour is cheaper.
“If the investors move out, it will be a big disaster for our country,” Hun Sen said in a speech broadcast on national radio.
“It is easy for garment and footwear factories to flee the country,” he said, warning workers to be “cautious over high pay demands”.
The premier said some $480 million was paid to workers across the country each month.
The textile industry, which employs about 650,000 people and produces clothes for top western brands, is a key source of foreign income for the country.
18:43:35 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* ILO lifts remaining restrictions on Myanmar:
In a historic move, delegates attending the International Labour Conference (ILC) have voted to lift all remaining ILO restrictions on Myanmar.
The remaining restrictions, imposed by the Conference in 2000, included the need to discuss Myanmar’s application of the ILO Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No.29) at special sittings of the ILC, and a recommendation to ILO constituents to review their relations with the country.
The ILC had already suspended some restrictions on Myanmar when it met last June.
The ILO restrictions were initially introduced in 1999 and 2000. They were based on article 33 of the ILO Constitution, which the organization invoked for the first time in its history.
* ILO Lifts All Restrictions on Burma:
The International Labor Organization (ILO) announced on Wednesday that it would lift its remaining restrictions on Burma, in a move that Burma’s government hopes will boost trade and increase foreign investment as the country’s economy continues to open after decades of isolation.
The restrictions, which were imposed by the UN agency in 2000, included a recommendation that its 185 member states limit relations with Burma to avoid perpetuating forced labor in the country, a major problem under the former military regime, which ceded power to a nominally civilian government in 2011.
Last week, the European Union readmitted Burma to the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) scheme, allowing the country to benefit from lower duties on exports. The EU’s decision was a result of ILO reports last year that Burma had made necessary improvements to stop the use of forced labor, according to a statement by Ireland, which holds the EU presidency.
However, rights activists say forced labor remains a major problem in many of Burma’s border states, where clashes continue to break out between ethnic armed groups and the government’s army despite ceasefire agreements.
* EU Officials Discuss Aid, Trade, But Warn Naypyidaw on Arakan Crisis:
Senior EU officials said they met with Burmese government officials this week to discuss the development of EU-Burma trade and investment relations, and the implementation of the union’s large aid program in the coming years.
The officials, however, also warned Burma’s government that its treatment of the Rohingya Muslim population in Arakan State was being viewed as “a test case” of its commitment to reforms and rule of law.
“Our overall view of what is happening is extremely positive… what has been achieved in the span of two years,” he said. “There has been a lot of progress in terms of labor standards, child labor, [and] what is happening in the peace process is very encouraging.”
Last week, the EU readmitted Burma to the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) and allowed it to join the EU’s Everything but Arms initiative, under which products from least-developed countries can be imported to the EU market duty- and quota-free.
In 1997, Burma was banned from the GPS scheme because of its poor democratic and rights record under the then military junta.
The EU’s rapid re-engagement with Burma’s government has also been met with criticism, however. The New York-based group Human Rights Watch said in April that the EU’s scrapping of its sanctions against was “premature and recklessly imperils human rights gains made so far.”
* Myanmar’s clothing industry promises growth:
Myanmar’s clothing industry is expected to grow as a result of the country’s readmission to a preferential EU trading scheme, according to sources from the industry.
The European Union readmitted Myanmar to its trade preference scheme on June 12 which grants developing nations preferential access to the 27-nation bloc for several products in the form of lower tariffs.
“This is a great chance for us, but it is also a challenge. The businessmen here are not familiar with it. Especially we need to look at the quality of our products to export. Some of them didn’t care about quality for a long time. We should care about it more now because our products must meet the EU standards,” said Dr. Aung Tun Thet, a local economist.
The EU agreed in April to lift all sanctions on Myanmar except on arms trade, economic and individual sanctions, and says it wants to support economic reforms in the country. Experts estimate that the clothing industry could employ up to two million people provided the minimum wage remains unchanged.
17:58:35 local time NEPAL
* Nepal’s garment, pashmina & wool exports continue to fall:
18:13:35 local time BANGLADESH
* RMG unit shut for indefinite period at Ashulia:
The authorities closed a readymade garment factory at Kathgora of Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital, for indefinite period amid workers’ unrest on Wednesday.
Several hundred workers of two other garment factories in the industrial belt also observed work abstention to press for 13-point demands on the day.
The witnesses and workers said the management of Magpie Garment Ltd at Kathgora put up a notice on the factory main gate, declaring closure of the factory for an indefinite period.
Saiful Islam, a worker of the factory, said the factory management asked the workers to come to the factory for negotiation a day before, but all on a sudden closed the factory for an indefinite period.
* It’s urgent to address RMG workers unrest:
Simmering unrest in the country’s ready-made garment (RMG) sector is continuing for the last few days. Tens of thousands of garment workers are taking to the streets at a regular interval and are engaging themselves in clashes with law enforcers, damaging factories and blocking highways.
After Rana Plaza building-collapse tragedy, workers’ agitation has been on the increase in Ashulia and Savar industrial belt and is spreading to Gazipur, Dhaka city, Narayanganj, Chittagong etc. Besides demanding adequate safety and security measures at their work places, they are now pressing for substantial wage-hike and other fringe benefits.
The developments in the ready-made garments (RMG)sector have seriously blurred the prospects for earning $3.6 billion dollar in export receipts by the units in the Ashulia garment belt as a good number of orders, already placed by foreign buyers, are about to be cancelled. The trouble has hit the entrepreneurs when the country’s garment sector is facing some adverse circumstances, caused by global recession which has reduced the country’s export orders to a considerable extent.
Thanks to the hard work of the millions of workers, the apparel sector has emerged as one of the highest foreign exchange earners for the country. It earns over three-fourths of its total earnings from exports of goods. Safety at the work place is an inalienable right of the workers. The death of a single worker means severe economic hardship for the victim’s family, having four or five members of it. After-death compensation cannot be the answer to the problem. Casualties for neglect of duty in ensuring safety of workers should be dealt with an iron hand, so that such neglect does not recur.
In fact, workers in the apparel-making sector are the least rewarded section of the society now. They are sending a message to the owners and country’s political leaders for the last few years that the industry cannot keep on neglecting them. More than 4.0 million people, the majority of whom are women, are now directly or indirectly dependent on the garment factories.
* Keys to RMG and knitting industry development:
Every country needs cooperation of others in its efforts to move forward. Import and export of goods, services, technology and manpower figure prominently in the international cooperation, which is indispensable for a country that desires sustainable development and requires foreign currency.
The garment and knitwear sector fetches the highest amount of foreign currency for Bangladesh. It is contributing to the gross domestic product (GDP) growth as well as the per capita income.
The sector still has far greater potential to develop. Garment and knitting factories are employing unskilled and semi-skilled poor women, creating new industrialists, professional managers and technical experts.
For example, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) supplying different inputs to the garment and knitting factories have flourished. A good number of traders like those working for buying houses have emerged.
All have contributed to the increase in employment generation. On the other hand, the increased income of the people concerned has created a demand for goods and services resulting in enhanced production and trading activities as well.
But the recent devastating Tazreen Fashions fire and the Rana Plaza collapse have created a situation that threatens even survival of the sector. Many factory buildings in the garment and knitting sector have not been designed by professional architects and constructed by professional civil engineers. Many of the multistory factory buildings have not been designed keeping in view the load and vibration generated by power generators and other equipment as well as the load of production inputs and labour.
The fire safety has totally been ignored during designing and constructing the buildings.
Demonstrations of readymade garment (RMG) workers and destruction of many factories have been witnessed in the recent years. Frequent labour unrests disrupted operation of the factories and caused loss of lives, production and properties.
No doubt the too low wage of workers is one of the major factors behind resentment amongst hundreds of thousands of workers as their living costs are very high now.
Many factories have failed to arrange safe working environment. But factory buildings are to be designed and constructed by professional architects and engineers by following the government-approved building codes and the fire safety guidelines.
Otherwise, the devastating loss of lives and properties will recur as we saw in the cases of Rana Plaza, Tazreen Fashions etc. Export licences should be issued based on the certificates of architects and engineers to the effect that the factory buildings have been designed and constructed by following the building codes. The fire safety clearance from the Fire Service and Civil Defence Department should also be looked into during issuance of the export licence.
The workers must be remunerated fairly so that they can lead decent life. The government has formed a Wage Board to re-fix the minimum and other wages of garment and knitting factory workers. Advice may be given to the board not to fix the minimum wage at a figure less than the minimum aggregate wage of a public sector worker. Group insurance covering life and accidental risks for every worker is to be made mandatory for the garment and knit factory employers.
* RMG factory catches fire in city:
A fire broke out at a readymade garment (RMG) factory in the capital’s Dakkhin Kamalapur area on Thursday.
Fire service sources said the fire originated from an electric short circuit on the second floor of a three-storey building that houses Binni Garment Factory in the area around 8:25am.
On information, five firefighting units rushed to the spot, but the factory authorities and locals managed to put out the blaze by that time.
The loss from the fire could not be ascertained immediately.
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* BGMEA urges retailers not to leave Bangladesh:
The garment sector’s apex trade body has urged international retailers not to stop buying from Bangladesh as measures are underway to enhance safety measures at factories.
The move comes following the British retailer Tesco’s decision to cancel an order worth $2 crore from a Savar-based factory and Wal-Mart’s de-listing of 245 factories from their supply chain.
“We will hold consultation with the international retailers soon to explain the safety measures taken by both the garment makers and the government,” Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said.
He found Tesco’s withdrawal from Liberty Fashions on Saturday rather “heavy-handed”.
“Tesco could’ve conveyed their concerns to us instead of enlisting a foreign firm to conduct tests at Liberty Fashions. It was not right of them, given that the BGMEA along with RAJUK have been testing the country’s factory buildings one after another since May 2.”
* UD to be cancelled for subcontracts to non-member: BGMEA:
The utilization declaration (UD) certificate facilities will be cancelled instantly if the export-oriented companies provide subcontract to non-member factories.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Vice-President M Shahidullah Azim came up with the forewarning on Wednesday.
He said BGMEA or Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) would not provide utilization declaration (UD) certificate services to the export-oriented companies if they give subcontracts.
* BGMEA sticks to stance on removing rooftop BTS as operators call for talks:
Stance raises major concern amongst the country’s telecommunications operators.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association(BGMEA) is standing firm on its call for the removal of Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) from roofs of buildings housing garment factories, raising major concern amongst the country’s telecommunications operators.
The RMG apex body is seeking support from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) for its demand and sent a letter on the issue to the BTRC on Tuesday.
BGMEA wants BTS towers removed from all garment buildings, especially those located in the Savar, Ashulia, Gazipur and Kanchpur areas. The organisation says it has found many garment buildings, on which mobile BTSs were established without properly examining their infrastructural design.
* $30.45b export target may be set for FY’14:
The country’s export target for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2013-14 will be proposed to be set at $30.45 billion, according to sources in Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
This target is being proposed, in view of the current fiscal’s better export performance, amidst the uncertainties in the global market.
The EPB is going to propose within a week the next fiscal’s export target, up by 12.53 per cent or $ 2.0 billion from that of $28.0 billion in the outgoing fiscal, 2012-13.
But many entrepreneurs in the major export-oriented sectors, including those of woven apparel items, jute and frozen fish, termed the proposed export target for the next fiscal ‘not achievable’ for a variety of factors.
Exporters of woven garments termed the proposed target ‘ambitious’ while the knitwear sector entrepreneurs supported the higher growth projection. Apparel items account for about 80 per cent of the country’s total export earnings.
* US ‘very happy’ over Ticfa endorsement:
The cabinet gave the green light to Ticfa after 10 years of negotiations
Washington has expressed its satisfaction about the endorsement of Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) by the cabinet.
“We are very pleased that cabinet has endorsed the agreement,” US embassy chargé d’affaires Jon F. Danilowicz told Dhaka Tribune after attending a programme at the Ruposhi Bangla hotel Wednesday.
The cabinet gave the green light to sign Ticfa with the US after having negotiations for over 10 years.
* TICFA to promote Bangladesh-US trade:
Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), has termed the signing of the Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (TICFA), between Bangladesh and the US, as a remarkable historical initiative in expanding trade and investment between the two countries.
He also lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and commerce minister GM Quader, for taking such timely initiatives.
Akram was speaking at a post-budget meeting, organised by the FBCCI, at the Officers’ Club in the city. He chaired the meeting, while finance minister AMA Muhith was the chief guest. National Board of Revenue (NBR) chairman Golam Hussain addressed the meeting, as a special guest.FBCCI’s first vice-president, Monowara Hakim Ali, vice-president Helal Uddin, former first vice-presidents, Md Jashim Uddin and Abul Kashem, board of directors, and leaders of distinguished chambers and associations also attended the meeting.
Akram said the US is a big export market for Bangladesh. “The recently signed agreement with America will provide duty-free access for Bangladeshi ready made garments, to the US market,” he added.
* ILRF Statement on US Tax Breaks for Bangladeshi Businesses:
The International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) calls on the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to end tax breaks for Bangladeshi business and instead use the resources to invest in a brighter future for Bangladeshi workers.
For more than five years, the USTR has been continuing to review whether Bangladesh business should benefit from tax breaks granted under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade program in what has been an unsuccessful effort to convince the Government of Bangladesh to end labor abuses in the garment industry and to hold its business community accountable for the abuses.
Unfortunately, failing to take action on the AFL-CIO’s long-standing petition to end GSP benefits, even in the face of phenomenal, unprecedented deaths of Bangladeshi garment workers, the US government has been sending the wrong signal to the Bangladeshi government and business community.
Since the petition was filed in 2007, the Bangladeshi government has failed to take any serious action to ensure workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively or to hold accountable those responsible for the murder of Aminul Islam and the deaths of thousands of garment workers who have lost their lives in preventable fires and building collapses while producing goods for US consumers.
Instead of taking serious action to address the abuses in response to the US government review, the Bangladeshi government has denied the severity of the violations on record to the USTR and continued business as usual by supporting policies that deny workers their fundamental rights.
At the same time, the Government of Bangladesh redoubled efforts to lobby key US government officials to minimize the issues and audaciously request even more tax breaks for its businesses.
ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE
* HC asks chief inspector of factories, BGMEA to report on compensations to Tazreen fire victims:
The High Court on Wednesday directed the Chief Inspector of factories and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exports Association to submit a report to it by July 18 on compensating injured workers and families of deceased workers in the deadly fire incident of Tazreen Fashions Limited.
The HC also wanted to know from the chief inspector Md Moshiur Rahman and the BGMEA president Md Atiqul Islam the criteria that were followed while allocating compensations to the Tazreen victims, our staff correspondent reported.
The fire service department was also asked to report to the court by July 18 about its actions after the fire in the apparel factory on November 24, 2012, which caused deaths of 112 workers due to ‘negligence of the factory owner Md Delwar Hossain’.
The bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain passed the order after deputy attorney general Biswojit Roy submitted before the bench the government probe committee report over the Tazreen fire.
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17:43:35 local time INDIA
* Workers demand police protection from burglars:
Factory workers under the banner of Textile-Hosiery Kamgar Union (THKU), Karkhana Mazdoor Union (KMU) and Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS) staged a protest in front of the deputy commissioner’s office against increasing incidents of robbery and snatchings, and demanded more security for the workers.
The members said that labourers and poor living in colonies of factory workers were facing incidents of robbery, thefts and snatchings and were easy targets of burglars and snatchers.
KMU convener Lakhwinder Singh said: “Incidents of robbery and snatching increases when the workers get their salary. The situation is so serious that even police are indulging in snatching money from poor labourers by intimidating them in different ways. And when the labourers go to lodge a complaint, police not only refuse to register their complaint, but also abuses them.”
* Garments sector targets 7% growth this year:
The readymade garments industry, excluding exports, is set to double to Rs 4 lakh crore in the next five years with the removal of excise duty and increased demand for branded garments.
According to Rahul Mehta, President of the Clothing Manufacturers Association (CMA) of India, the industry has started moving in the positive trajectory after growth was stalled by the 10 per cent excise duty imposed last year.
The industry is now looking to target a growth of six to seven per cent this year, and 10-12 per cent next year. The apparel market is estimated at Rs 200,000 crore, with the unorganised sector accounting for Rs 110,000 crore, followed by unstitched apparels such as dhoti and sarees amounting to Rs 50,000 crore. “Even as demand appears buoyant, rising cotton and yarn prices and the shortage of skilled labour pose a major challenge. Besides, the huge competition between leading brands has led to a price war with over 65 per cent of merchandise being sold at discounted prices as compared to 40 per cent earlier,” Mehta said in a press conference.
* CMAI expects $17bn garment exports from India in 2013-14:
* KS Rao assumes charge as India’s new Textiles Minister:
* Govt sets export target of $50 billion this fiscal: K S Rao:
The new Textile Minister, K S Rao, today said the government has set an ambitious export target of USD 50 billion this fiscal, hoping realisation of the target will help in containing the high current account deficit.
“CAD is affecting the nation’s economy and textiles sector is one sector where we can increase the exports substantially,” Rao told reporters after taking charge of the ministry.
“I am given to understand that our textiles exports is about USD 34 billion today, which I wish to make at least USD 50 billion by end of the current fiscal,” Rao said.
* Falling Re makes the going tough for apparel retailers:
Brands relying on international sourcing for apparels and accessories are in for tough times as rupee continues its downward swing.
Companies said that price rise on globally sourced products may have to be effected if the fall in rupee continues in the long run.
In the immediate short-term, most retailers said they will absorb the costs. Retailers currently don’t have a hedging mechanism and said they are looking to include one for future deals.
* Textile traders mull moving out of Hyderabad:
Prolonged tension over separate Telangana movement and increasing polarization in society is forcing traders running the centuries-old textile industry in the Old City and other areas to move out in an effort to save their flagging business.
The wholesale textile business worth Rs 3,000 crore is a lifeline for thousands of families who have traditionally been in this trade for generations, but with both T-protests and communal disturbances playing havoc with annual turnovers, the traders say they have had enough.
Hyderabad for decades has been the key trading point in textile, with bulk consignments being shipped to states like Kerala and Orissa among others. But with every passing year, losses are mounting and trade bodies estimate it at a staggering 40 % this year. They have now asked the government to give them land on the city outskirts.
* The COTTON revolution:
INITIATIVE ‘Paruthi’, an organic cotton brand, aims to promote rain-fed cotton grown in Madurai in the Indian fashion scenario, writes A. SHRIKUMAR
In 13 villages around Arasapatti near Tirumangalam in Madurai district, cotton is more than just a crop. It’s a symbol of life and livelihood for farmers in the black-soil belt, who have silently engaged themselves in a revolution to change the environment for the better.
Nearly 400 farmers in the region have adopted organic cotton farming, saying a strict no to the usage of pesticides in their fields. From here the organic cotton cultivation extends into Mahalingam hills and the Western Ghats in Rajapalayam in Virudhunagar district and parts of Sivaganga and Ramnad districts.
“The farmers follow rain-fed cotton farming that involves multiple-cropping technique. It’s a short-staple cotton variety coming from indigenous seeds,” explains N. Muthuvelayutham, Secretary, Covenant Centre for Development (CCD) – an NGO working with cotton farmers around Madurai since 2006 to inculcate organic practices. “Organic cotton farming is labour-intensive and not lucrative. The farmers have to be encouraged to continue with the age-old techniques.”
17:13:35 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Uzbekistan urged to end forced labour:
During the International Labour Conference (ILC), workers, employers and governments condemned Uzbek authorities for their non-compliance with International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour.
“State-sponsored forced labour remains serious, systematic and continuous,” denounced EI Senior Coordinator for Human and Trade Union Rights Dominique Marlet, addressing the representatives of workers, governments and employers at the ILO Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS). “Children, some as young as 10, are forced to pick cotton under threat of punishment, including expulsion from school. About 60 per cent of school teachers are forced to pick cotton and supervise the quotas.”
Work in cotton fields detrimental to quality education
The most conservative figures estimate that up to half a million college and lyceum students were involved in the 2012 Uzbek cotton harvest. As in previous years, children forced to pick cotton worked excessive hours, conducting hard physical work in hazardous conditions.
* United States urges Uzbekistan to end forced labor:
Today the US placed Uzbekistan in the lowest rank in the Global Trafficking in Persons Report, for failing to end forced labor and curb human trafficking in 2012
(Washington) – Today’s decision by the Department of State to place Uzbekistan in Tier 3 in the Global Trafficking in Persons Report (J/TIP) reaffirms the United States commitment to supporting victims of human trafficking in Uzbekistan and around the world, said the Cotton Campaign in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. The report is an annual assessment of human trafficking around the world and the efforts of individual governments to combat it. The Tier 3 ranking is a statement that the Uzbek government has failed to make significant efforts to end forced labor and curb human trafficking.
“We commend the State Department’s decision to place Uzbekistan in Tier 3,” said Dr. Sanjar Umarov, Sunshine Coalition. “This placement adds urgency to the international community’s calls on the Uzbek government to end forced labor of children and adults in the cotton sector.”