21:19:45 local time CHINA
* Chinese textile industry aims for ‘green’:
A Chinese textile industry official says it will “work very hard” in the next four years to clean up its messes.
The industry will strive to “create a green environment” that will permit sustainable growth, Zhang Yankai, vice-president of the China National Textile and Apparel Council, told China Daily at a major textile and apparel show in New York City on Tuesday.
“In the next four years, we are going to work very hard to create a green environment so (the industry) continues growth in the future,” Zhang said through an interpreter at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in midtown Manhattan where the three-day Texworld USA show is being held.
A directive issued by China’s State Council last year as part of its latest five-year plan calls for the creation of a “circular economy” that reuses waste materials and reduces pollution. Environmental groups have criticized China’s textile businesses for their role in causing pollution, waste and carbon emissions.
20:19:45 local time VIET NAM
* Firefighters tackle textile factory blaze:
A large fire at a factory in HCM City’s Tan Tao Industrial Park has been successfully stamped out after firefighters spent five hours tackling the blaze.
The fire, at a property in Binh Tan District belonging to the Pou Yuen Viet Nam Company, has caused significant damage, leaving the textile firm’s employees fearing for their jobs.
Workers on a night shift discovered the fire on the fourth and fifth floors of the building’s A4 block at 4am today. The flames then spread rapidly to the next block.
The district’s Firefighting Police Division joined colleagues from the park’s division without delay. Forces were also mobilized from neighbouring districts, including Tan Phu, Hoc Mon and Cu Chi.
The fire may have been started due to a short circuit, according to police who are investigating.
None of the company’s 8,000 workers were injured, as only a few staff worked in the building at night.
20:19:45 local time CAMBODIA
* Labour negotiations begin at SL Garment factory:
A meeting between factory management and representatives of more than 5,000 striking workers at one of Asia’s largest garment-processing factories yielded no progress.
The Ministry of Social Affairs coordinated the sit-down between SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd and the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) nine days after workers first walked off the job, C.CAWDU officer Suth Seam said.
In addition to eight other demands – including a $150 minimum monthly wage – SL employees are calling on the factory to cut all ties with shareholder Meas Sotha, who they say hired military police to stand guard inside the factory to intimidate unionised workers.
19:19:45 local time BANGLADESH
* Suspension of GSP and Bangladeshi RMG sector:
The USA suspended the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) facilities on the entrance of Bangladeshi product into the US market which has created lack drop in our economy.
Because of this suspension each and every Bangladeshi is very upset. The USA is our long outstanding partner of development.
In fact, there was no such kind of GSP facilities in garments sector in the USA. They have talked about the safety, development of the standards of the laborers, pending justice of murder of Aminul and some other minor issues.
It is unfortunate that, they have brought into consideration the accident of Savar Rana Plaza, Tazrin Fashion, unsolved case of Aminul murder case. Since 2007, the biggest labor union of the USA, AFL- CIO has been persuading the USA to stop the GSP facilities for Bangladesh. The New York Times (July 25, 2013) writers “Bangladeshi garment industry`s trade group has seen its influence soar as the country has become a global garment power”. Meanwhile, US congressman Sander Levin visited in Bangladesh to assess the progress of workers safety of the country.
* US retailers’ team for RMG unit safety may visit BD in mid-Sept:
A team of the North American Alliance, a platform of US-based clothing retailers for Bangladeshi workers’ safety, is likely to visit Bangladesh in mid-September.
Its aim is to work out the detailed framework of the safety programme for the country’s ready-made garment (RMG) factories, sources said.
Before visiting Bangladesh, the Alliance executive committee (EC) held a two-day meeting in Chicago that started Tuesday to discuss the technical aspects of their action plan.
* Levin concerned over BD labour rights issues:
Visiting US Congressman Sander Levin expressed Wednesday his concern over some labour rights issues in Bangladesh.
He said additional steps are needed, particularly in the EPZs and the private sector, to make the recently reformed labour law a universally standard one.
“In EPZs, the (labour)reform is not at all effective. In rest of the private sector, there are some steps forward, but some outstanding issues have to be worked on.”
read more. & read more.
* Exports in the news:
Bangladesh’s exports have been in the news recently. Most of the news reports are encouraging while some are seen as giving caution. On the whole, exports of various goods, traditional and non-traditional, show an upward trend.
The few items that lag behind are due to structural reasons and as such are within the capacity of the country to overcome. As regards decline of exports in the markets of developed countries exporters have to give them time to ride out the slump and near recession.
Since adoption of the strategy of export-led growth Bangladesh economy has, more or less, remained on course. There have been setbacks and shortfalls but the overall progress leaves no doubt about the robustness of the sector.
The positive aspects of exports have been re-affirmed by the recent news published in papers. Bangladesh, of course, is far away from attaining surplus in current accounts. The medium-term goal is to bridge the gap between imports and exports. With rising trend in imports (the current decline is not indicative of a trend) on year to year basis, export performance is thus of the essence.
According to a news report published last week in most of the newspapers Bangladesh’s exports earnings in July, the first month of current fiscal (2013-2014), marked a significant growth despite the ongoing political unrest in the country and economic crisis in major markets for Bangladeshi products in the European Union (EU) and America.
The country’s export earnings witnessed a 23.99 per cent rise to US$ 3.024 billion in July 2013 compared to that in July 2012, mainly driven by apparel exports. Earning in last July also surpassed the target set for the period by 12.17 per cent.
Private sector entrepreneurs attributed the achievement to success in opening up non-traditional markets including Japan, China, India, Russia, Australia and South Africa.
They are hopeful of continuing the growth of exports in both traditional and non-traditional markets, particularly of garments. According to them, the target of US$ 3.5 billion set for the current fiscal will be achieved short of a cataclysm at home or abroad.
* Bangladesh Country Study online:
FWF is pleased to announce the publication of the Bangladesh Country Study 2013. It provides an overview of labour law, labour conditions and industrial relations within the garment industry in the country.
Fair Wear Foundation has been active in Bangladesh since 2006 and has a long history of sharing information, expertise and networks with other groups active in the country.
Companies can use the Bangladesh study as a guide: it provides general country information, an overview of the garment industry and a description of the trade union situation. Readers can also find information on local stakeholders and details on local laws concerning the implementation of the Code of Labour Practices.
read more. & download Study here.
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Bring initiatives under single umbrella:
Initiatives redressing the loss suffered by Rana Plaza victims must be brought under a single organisational umbrella to create a more transparent system for providing compensation, urged Dr Kamal Hossain at a discussion yesterday.
“A lot of people are donating money to funds created by different organisations but there is no actual record of the amount of money provided to victims so far and to whom. Moreover, there are several lists of the number of the dead, injured and missing victims but nothing absolute,” he said.
Representatives of 20 garment workers’ organisations and lawyers convened the discussion in the capital’s Supreme Court Bar Association premises.
They also demanded that the Prime Minister’s Office and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association provide details on the amount of money which had accumulated in their funds and to whom it was being given.
A separate tribunal could be created to deal with cases, like those of the Savar victims, where victims could seek compensation for having been wronged, advised Barrister Amirul Islam.
“This is because the normal civil court proceedings are delayed by a backlog of cases,” he said.
18:49:45 local time INDIA
* Trade unions plan strike in September:
September will witness widespread labour unrest in the country as trade unions across party affiliations are planning major strikes.
CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta told TOI, “After the last nationwide strike by the trade unions in February, government had set up a committee of ministers consisting of A K Antony, P Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar and Mallikarjun Kharge. But nothing has come out of it. None of our demands have been met.”
The major demands of unions were Rs 10,000 as minimum wage, implementation of labour laws, right to form unions and no disinvestment of profit-making PSUs. He said with Kharge moving out of the labour ministry all hopes of getting any justice is over.
* Reduce duties on cotton fabric, India tells China:
India has asked China to slash import duties on cotton fabric and expedite implementation of the pacts signed for export of buffalo meat and fishery products in order to bridge the growing trade deficit with the country.
In a meeting between senior Foreign Ministry officials here on Tuesday, the two sides discussed ways to increase exports from India in order to contain the trade deficit that has widened to $40.8 billion in 2012-13 from $39.4 billion in 2011-12, despite a 10 per cent contraction in total trade during the year.
* Cotton yarn exports registration jumps 55% on huge Chinese demand:
Enquiries have started after four years from Europe, exports to set new record this year if the current trend continues
The registration for cotton yarn exports has jumped 55% in the first four months of the current financial year due to a resurgence in Chinese demand. If the trend continues, cotton yarn export will likely hit a new record this year.
Data compiled by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade showed traders and exporters had registered for a shipment of 488.15 million kg between April and July 2013, compared with 314.19 million kg in the corresponding period last year.
* Knitwear exporters sore over high cost of import materials:
Many knitwear exporters in Tirupur cluster have started feeling the pinch of the constantly falling rupee as they are recording financial losses on specific orders because of the higher cost being paid to import apparel accessories and due to increase in transportation charges.
On Wednesday, the rupee plunged against dollar and stood at 64.11 at the market close.
With major cost cutting at the production stage not been possible in the case of apparel export business, the exporters here are in a dilemma of how viability could be sustained in the coming months.
“Unlike in some other businesses, the foreign buyers in the apparel trade are insisting on using accessories like tags, buttons, zips and laces of only ‘nominated manufacturers’ who are basically situated abroad. In this scenario, we are forced to import the accessories at high rates because of the heavy rupee depreciation,” G.R. Senthilvel, exporter and secretary of Tirupur Exporters’ and Manufacturers’ Association, pointed out to The Hindu .
* Bifurcation may tear Andhra Pradesh textile industry:
* Cotton output seen higher by 5% next season:
Cotton production for the new season starting October is likely to be higher about five per cent than the current season at 372 lakh bales (of 170 kg), according to the Cotton Association of India.
In a statement releasing the first estimate of the cotton crop, the association said that the higher production would be despite the acreage remaining unchanged. According to the Cotton Advisory Board, on which farmers, Government officials, textiles industry, traders and exporters are representatives, area under cotton this season was 116.14 lakh hectares, down 5 lakh hectares from last season.
* ‘Counter Monsanto monopoly’:
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw says the best way to counter such a monopoly is to allow competition to develop similar technologies
Veteran biotechnologist Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw says the best way to counter transnational seed company Monsanto‘s “monopoly” in India’s cotton seed sector is to allow competition to develop similar technologies, maintaining that activism against genetically modified (GM) crops is stifling the efforts of Indian firms.
Though a substantial level of the country’s cotton contains Monsanto’s technology, which is licensed to over 25 Indian seed companies, the Chairperson and Managing Director of biotech firm Biocon said the criticism that this will put India’s seed sovereignty in jeopardy is too far-fetched.
* 3-member team to study reasons for weavers’ suicides:
Collector Buddha Prakash M Jyothi on Wednesday ordered a three-member team to study the pathetic state of weavers at Kappaladoddi in Guduru mandal, where nine of them committed suicide since 2010.
Responding to a report ‘12 weavers commit suicide in Krishna District’ published in these columns, Mr. Buddha Prakash sought a report on what had driven the weavers to take the extreme step and other reasons for the existing crisis.
The team comprising Department of District Rural Development Authority Project Director, Handlooms Department Assistant Director and Machilipatnam Revenue Divisional Officer visited the village.
“The three officers will study the socio, economic conditions, mode of employment to the weavers and their access to the welfare schemes,” Mr. Buddha Prakash told The Hindu .
18:49:45 local time SRI LANKA
* Popularising the apparel sector in rural Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka’s apparels is a high net-worth industry, which plays several major roles, as a significant contributor to the national economy.
Apparels sector that has brought international recognition to the country next to Ceylon Tea and also as one of the biggest employers of manpower and skilled labour.
In recognition of the services rendered by the apparel sector workforce, Hutch is pleased to join a major island-wide awareness programme to assist the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to promote the apparel industry as the rapidly growing sector which offers, besides jobs, substantial economic relief through welfare measures, opportunity to find home-based employment and various incentives.
Through this partnership Hutch mobile services will be robustly promoted across all 25 districts among all the apparel factories. Hutch is confident currently the second largest 3G network in the country would enable all in the apparel sector to make use of the special schemes offered.
18:19:45 local time PAKISTAN
* ‘Harassment at workplace common practice’:
Speakers at a seminar held here the other day said that harassment at workplace was a common practice at different levels in all parts of the country.
The authorities concerned should address the issue, they told the seminar organised by Falahi Tanzeem Ahalian Dherai Talash (FTADT) in collaboration with the Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO).
Teachers, university students, social workers, political activists and elders of the area attended the seminar.
Mohammad Ayaz, the president of the organisation, shed light on the term ‘harassment’ and said that it was a crime under the law.
Mohammad Asad and Mohammad Haleem, the facilitators, informed the participants of the seminar that bonded labour, low wages of workers, deprivation, overwork and denial of holidays or sanctioned leaves were common examples of harassment.
* APTMA, Chinese businessmen agree to form joint working group for investment:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) and leading Chinese textile and clothing industry associations’ business leadership have agreed to form a joint working group for providing match-making services to the prospective investors in realising new projects in textile industry through joint ventures.
In this respect, Central Chairman APTMA Ahsan Bashir welcomed the Chinese business delegation at the APTMA House Punjab the other day.
On the occasion, both sides held detailed discussion on the expansion of trade and investment relations between China and Pakistan through joint venture projects and spreading trade in textiles, including spinning, weaving, processing and garment. Chairman APTMA presented Pakistan textile industry facts to the delegation.
He said APTMA has recently taken vital growth-oriented initiatives including Sustainable Production Centre (SPC), Renewable Energy && Energy Efficiency (REEE), Cotton Research, Support and Management, Textile Education, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Better Cotton Initiatives (BCI) and Energy Security Initiatives.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Customs stop textile consignments: technical error barred members from submitting ST returns: PHMA:
Customs has stopped textile consignments as exporters have failed to file tax return due to technical problems in export related software, according to an official complaint of Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA).
PHMA central chairman Javed Bilwani has sent a latter to the FBR about the problems being faced by exporters due to error in software to submit their sales tax return for June 2013.
He said exporters were unable to submit their tax returns until Wednesday “because of loading of export GDs – Weboc and manual”, adding that the Pral confirms that “many taxpayers are also facing this problems”. Despite countrywide complaints by the PHMA members, the “systematic” problems at the software still persist and hurting the exporters’ financial interest and global credibility, he said.
* APTMA Punjab discards LCCI’s call for rise in CPPs tariff:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Chairman Shahzad Ali Khan has rejected Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (LCCI) proposal of increase in gas tariff for Captive Power Plants (CPPs), saying that any such move would be the last nail in textile industry’s coffin in Punjab.
He further lamented that such a controversial statement appeared on behalf of the LCCI president. The LCCI president has, as a matter of fact, suggested to juggernaut the sustainability of textile industry in Punjab by floating this proposal.
Already, he said, the Punjab-based textile industry is being hit hard by unprecedented electricity and gas shortage. While the textile industry in other provinces, on the other hand, is operating on full throttle under either the constitutional cover or court stays against load shedding, he added.
read more. & read more.
* Weak rupee ups textile exports:
Pakistan’s textile exports have surged by over 10 per cent in July 2013 mainly due to sharp increase in dollar value against the Pakistani rupee, which is under severe pressure these days.
According to the figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) released on Wednesday, the country exported textile related goods worth of $1.21 billion during the month of July 2013, which were $1.09 billion in same month of preceding year 2012, showing an increase of 10.96 per cent in one year.
The trade analysts said that country’s exports are increasing due to continues increase in dollar value against the Pakistani rupee, which also enhanced the country’s imports, resulting in higher trade deficit. The local currency hit a record-low level of over Rs 103 in open market that was around Rs 100 a few weeks back.
18:19:45 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Being escorted to school or to pick cotton? :
The government in Uzbekistan uses the police force to escort children to pick cotton; in Sweden, police escort children who are missing school. What is worse? (See link for a video segment).
Many Uzbeks, who received political asylum in Sweden after experiencing persecution in Uzbekistan, are extremely grateful to their new country. In their enthusiasm for their new homeland, however, they often fail to recognize that Sweden is a country with its own rules and traditions. What was acceptable in Uzbekistan can be illegal in Sweden.