20:15:30 local time CHINA
* Buyers disregard quality concerns of brands:
AS international fast fashion retailers vie for a chunk of the Chinese market, they have also been frequently troubled by quality problems.
But consumers have largely shrugged off those concerns, preferring to focus on the latest fashion trend rather than quality.
Poor color fastness, a high pH index, unmatched fiber content and excessive formaldehyde are the most common problems regularly cited by quality watchdogs.
Fast fashions brands are known for their current trends, fast upgrade of products, quick manufacturing process and affordable prices.
But such swiftness is also becoming a double-edged sword, experts warned.
“Some fast fashion brands cut the production and sales cycle to meet the rising demand, leading to oversight in supervision and quality problems,” said Zhang Dezhi, director of the consumption guidance department of China Consumers’ Association.
At the same time, the frequent change of fabric suppliers and the retailers’ pursuit of lower processing cost hurts quality, Zhang said. In their pursuit to be out in the market quickly and cut costs, some of them loosen control over materials and processing process.
“Due to the rising procurement cost in China, fast fashion retailers usually make procurement overseas in countries like Vietnam, and their lack of control of raw materials is the root cause of substandard products,” said Wang Weiqing, director of the State Supervision and Inspection Center for Garment Quality (Shanghai).
20:15:30 local time PHILIPPINES
* Philippine apparel exports surge 45.71% in Jan’14:
19:15:30 local time VIET NAM
* China pours more money into Vietnam, raising bigger worries:
At least four textile and garment Chinese companies have registered their large-scaled investment projects in Vietnam over the last month.
Yulun Jiangsu Textile & Garment has got the investment certificate on a fiber production, textile and dying factory to be located in Bao Minh Industrial Zone in Vu Ban district of Nam Dinh province, capitalized at $680 million.
According to the Nam Dinh provincial Industrial Zone (IZ) Board of Management, the factory, covering an area of 8 hectares in Bao Minh IZ, would become operational from mid-2016.
A Hong Kong investor has expressed the intention of developing a textile and garment IZ on an area of 1,000 hectares in Nghia Hung district. The Nam Dinh provincial authorities are considering the project before submitting to the government.
Meanwhile, in HCM City, Forever Glorious, a subsidiary of Taiwanese Sheico has committed to invest $50 million in a project on making high end underwater sportswear. The project, located in Dong Nam IZ, would generate 3,550 jobs.
Gain Lucky Ltd, a subsidiary of Shenzhou International Group, specializing in making products for the world’s big brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma, has committed to invest $140 million in a project in HCM City.
The Chinese investment wave in Vietnam is foreseeable. Experts have predicted that Chinese would flock to Vietnam to set up textile and garment factories to take full advantage of the TPP (Trans Pacific Agreement) of which Vietnam is a member.
* Making breakthroughs for garment and textile sector:
Leading economists have forecast a healthy 10% increase in Vietnam’s garment and textile exports for 2014 to US$23 billion.
However, the National Garment and Textile Group (Vinatex) cautions that a number of thorny problems, particularly those dealing with the procurement of raw materials, must be overcome if such an optimistic outlook is to be achieved.
The sector is overly dependent on the importation of raw materials to meet its production quotas, which adds significantly to its production costs Vinatex reports.
Additionally, businesses are under financial pressures resulting from increases in other production costs such as electricity and transportation, which areeven more exaggerated by an increase in the minimum wage that went into effect on January 1 of this year.
* Garment sector boosts export to Middle East:
Vietnam’s garment and textile sector now considers the Middle East a promising market as it is facing product origin requirements from traditional markets like the US and the EU.
According to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, there is an increasing demand for products, especially gowns, shirts, jeans and kids ready-made garments from the Middle East over recent years.
* Leather producers offered assistance for environmental problem solving:
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) has vowed to tackle domestic leather businesses’ difficulties in expanding their businesses, the Vietnam Economic News reported on March 13.
Building exclusive industrial zones with waste treatment facilities for leather businesses is one of the solutions to implement the master plan for Vietnamese leather and footwear sector development towards 2020 with a vision to 2025, which has been approved by the MOIT. So far, however, the solution has not been taken due to a lack of capital and environmental factors.
Former Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Huu Hao said that leather production facilities create solid, liquid waste and exhaust fumes, the treatment of which requires specific technologies, therefore almost no province wanted to encourage investment in leather production.
Although leather production has grown in recent years, leather businesses still face numerous difficulties in expanding production due to the lack of exclusive industrial zones. Leather businesses still fail to cooperate with each other in dealing with environmental problems. Building its own wastewater treatment facility is beyond the financial capacity of a single leather business.
* Workers strike to oppose company’s unfair regulation:
Nearly 900 workers from Shilla Bags Vietnam Co. Ltd on March 12 afternoon stopped working to oppose a company regulation restricting them from going to the bathroom.
According to the workers, they are only allowed to go to bathroom from 9:30 to 10:30am and from 2:00 to 3:00pm.
They are banned from doing so for the rest of time. Even during the allowed time, any worker who wants to use the toilet must be presented with a card with their full names and time for going to toilet written on it.
A production line has 100 workers, but only three cards are granted, so workers have to take turns to use them.
* Quang Ngai: to prepare to launch the National Week on Labor Safety and Hygiene – Fire and Explosion Prevention 2014:
Responding to the 16th National Week on Labor Safety and Hygiene – Fire and Explosion Prevention (LSH – FEP) in 2014, many businesses in Dung Quat Economic Zone , Quang Ngai provincial Industrial Zones have organized many activities in response to this week.
Accordingly, many agencies and businesses have propagandized some contents of danger and risk prevention at workplace; labor safety for family happiness and sustainable development of enterprises; measures to prevent and control labor accidents, occupational diseases, safety and responsibility at workplace as well as building plan of fire prevention and fighting rehearsal and first aids when a tanker catches fire.
19:15:30 local time CAMBODIA
# * Unions and brands mount pressure on Cambodian government:
Unions and brands are increasing pressure on the Cambodian government to address the demands of garment workers in the country.
IndustriALL Global Union, Uni Global Union and the ITUC together with 30 major brands, including H&M, Inditex, Gap, Adidas and Nike, have signed a joint letter to the Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia reiterating the need for an urgent resolution to the minimum wage and to respect the human rights of 21 wage protestors detained since demonstrations in January.
The letter follows a decision by Cambodian unions to postpone a planned strike on 12 March to allow time for dialogue with the government on the minimum wage process. Garment workers are demanding an increase in the minimum wage from US$ 100 to US$ 160 a month.
Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL, said:
“The unions in Cambodia have shown goodwill by postponing the strike, now it is time for the government to come to the table for constructive talks. Global unions and brands are united in their efforts to support this process to seek an end to the stalemate over the minimum wage. All the brands must commit to paying more to suppliers cover the costs of increased wages.”
Philip Jennings, general secretary of UNI Global Union said:
“The time has come for a new approach in Cambodia and that should come through recognition of global labour standards and dialogue. We call, once again, for the government of Cambodia to immediately release the 21 workers still behind bars for simply being brave enough to speak out about injustice.”
Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the ITUC, said:
“Freedom of association is under serious attack in Cambodia right now. The government has frozen all new union registrations and has banned public demonstrations supporting workers’ rights. Workers face retaliation in their workplaces for exercising this fundamental right. We all want to see a sustainable garment industry, and the government and employers need to respect freedom of association. Unions in Cambodia and around the world will campaign to ensure that Cambodian workers can exercise this basic right.”
read more. & read more.& read more.
# * Well-known union leader and colleagues face embezzlement lawsuit:
Ath Thon, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), is facing a complaint over embezzlement.
29 workers from a Chinese-owned E Garment Co., Ltd filed the complaint on Thursday against Ath Thon and his two colleagues, Kong Athith and Ek Sorpheakdey for embezzling US$92,929.
Ath Thon and his group could not be reached for comments over the embezzlement lawsuit.
Ath Thon is one of prominent union leaders who led protest against the garment manufacturers to demand the increase of minimum wage to USD160 per month.
20140315 * Union leader denies embezzlement accusation:
A prominent union leader Ath Thon denies that he embezzled some US$90,000 from workers.
The denial was made after garment workers from E Garment factory filed a complaint against him and his two colleagues for embezzling money.
“They [workers] had already been paid, and that this was made to defame me,” said Ath Thon, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), on Friday a day after he was sued.
29 workers from a Chinese-owned E Garment Co., Ltd filed complaint with Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday against Ath Thon and his two colleagues, Kong Athith and Ek Sorpheakdey for embezzling US$92,929.
* Nationwide Garment Factory Strike Fizzles After First Day:
What was initially planned as a nationwide garment factory strike involving hundreds of thousands of workers has effectively ended after its first day, with only a few factories reporting work stoppages, according to the two union leaders who called for the strike.
“All workers have gone back to work as normal because they received information that the Ministry of Labor is working to look into workers’ salaries,” said Yaing Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions.
On Tuesday, six other union leaders pulled out of the planned strike, which was set to begin on Wednesday, claiming that workers were scared that they would not receive their salaries before the Khmer New Year holiday in April.
Ms. Sophorn said that comments made by Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng following an event at Phnom Penh’s Sofitel hotel on Wednesday had convinced workers that the government would reconsider the minimum wage, as unions are demanding.
* New Report Says Garment Sector Fails to Meet UN Standards:
Cambodian garment manufacturers and the association that governs them are failing to meet the standards set by the U.N.’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as evidenced by lethal violence against workers during garment strikes in January, when five people were shot dead and scores wounded by state forces, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has said.
The Cambodian garment sector is “mired in ongoing human rights violations” and the Garment Manufacturers’ Association in Cambodia (GMAC) has “refused to condemn the lethal use of force against striking workers,” a briefing paper released by FIDH late Wednesday said.
“Cambodian manufacturers and GMAC have clearly failed to respect workers’ rights,” in light of the guiding U.N. principles, the statement said.
“Brands have failed to prevent and mitigate adverse human rights impacts by their business partners, and have failed to exercise leverage with Cambodian suppliers and business associations to prevent such abuses,” it continued.
* A dozen of workers faint after their colleague dies:
A dozen of workers fainted yesterday after they learnt that a colleague died in a hospital.
They work for a Korean-owned Cambodia Kotop Ltd.
Sok Nim, 31, fainted on Thursday afternoon while she was working, and she was rushed to Kosamak Hospital, but she died there, local police said.
The police said friends of the victim fainted one by one after they were informed that Sok Nim passed away in the hospital.
Police said they haven’t known the cause of the death yet.
* Garment Producer Grand Twins to List on Bourse in May:
Grand Twins International (Cambodia) Co. Ltd., a manufacturer of clothes for U.S. athletic brands, announced Thursday that it would officially list on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) after the Khmer New Year, making it the first private trading share on the bourse and the second company to do so.
When it lists on May 8, the company plans to offer 8,000,000 shares for the initial public offering (IPO), with a share price ranging from 7,400 riel, or about $1.85, to 14,000 riel, or about $3.50, according to Grand Twins executives who Thursday outlined the plan during an elaborate ceremony at the Sofitel hotel.
* BetterFactories Media updates 14 March 2014, New Report says garment sector fails to meet UN standards:
* to read in the printed edition The Cambodia Daily:
2014-03-14 New Report says garment sector fails to meet UN standards
2014-03-14 Garment producer Grand Twins to list on Bourse in May
2014-03-14 National garment factory strike fizzles after first day
BetterFactories Media updates Overview here.
18:15:30 local time BANGLADESH
* Fire guts a jute warehouse in Khulna:
Fire gutted a warehouse of Northern Jute Trading at Digholia upazila of Khulna district on Wednesday night.
Manager of Northern Jute Trading Obaidur Rahman said the fire was originated from electric short circuit. Later, firefighters brought the fire under control.
According to locals the jute bales were set on fire with motive to take undue facilities from bank and insurance companies. Digholia upazila nirbahi officer Kamrul Hasan visited the spot.
* Sustaining growth momentum of RMG: Challenges and strategies:
The readymade garments (RMG) industry holds an iconic status in Bangladesh’s national economy, being the fastest growing (averaging between 15-20 per cent and rising up to 40 per cent in some years for two decades during 1990s and beyond) as well as the largest export industry in the country.
Against a tiny share of only 4.0 per cent in total export in the 1980s, the RMG exports now constitute nearly 80 per cent of the country’s total export earnings.
The industry’s current export earning is over US 21 billion which is 16.7 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Bangladesh, again registering a big stride in it’s GDP share from only about 3.0 per cent in 1991.
The RMG industry rapidly built a huge capacity from only 50 production units in the 1980s employing a few thousand people to 5400 factories currently employing nearly 4.0 million workers (mostly women from the rural locations) which is close to two-thirds of the total work force employed by the manufacturing sector.
The industry insiders claim that in addition to direct employment, more than 10 million people are indirectly associated with the RMG industry because of development of numerous linkage industries such as RMG accessories suppliers, packaging, banking, insurance, shipping, hotels and tourism, and roads and transportation, etc.
* Gapexpo, Garmentech, yarn, fabric fairs receive $20m spot orders:
The Gapexpo 2014, Garmentech, yarn and fabric sourcing fairs held recently got spot orders and enquiries for apparel accessories, packaging and other products worth around US$ 20 million from local and foreign buyers.
“We have received satisfactory response from the buyers. Most of the spot orders have come from local buyers,” Bangladesh Garments Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGAPMEA) President Rafez Alam Chowdhury told the FE.
THE TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE
* Tazreen MD denied bail again:
The Dhaka district and sessions judge court Thursday rejected the bail petition of Tazreen Fashions managing director Delwar Hossain.
The Dhaka district and sessions judge, Abdul Majid, denied the bail prayer, after hearing on the petition.
Delwar and his wife are facing charges of committing ‘homicide by negligence’ that had caused 111 deaths and injured 104 others, in a devastating factory fire on November 24, 2012.
The court also set March 20 to deliver its order regarding prosecution’s plea of cancellation of bail to Mahmuda Akhter, the spouse of Delwar and the chairperson of the company granted earlier by another court.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Delwar denied bail again:
A Dhaka court on Thursday rejected a fresh bail petition of Tazreen Fashions managing director Delwar Hossain, now in jail in a case of criminal negligence filed with Ashulia police station that had caused the death of more than 111 workers in a fire at his factory.
The Dhaka district and session judge Abdul Majid passed the order after hearing the petition from both the sides.
The court also extended the bail of Delwar’s wife Mahmuda Akhter Mita, also Tazreen Fashions chairman and a co-accused in the case, until March 20, the date set for passing order on a prosecution petition seeking cancelation of her bail.
Public prosecutor Khandaker Abdul Mannan on February 12 filed the petition seeking cancellation of Mahmuda’s bail.
* Tazreen owner Delwar’s bail rejected:
Dhaka’s District and Sessions Judge Abdul Majid passed the order after
A Dhaka court yesterday rejected the bail petition of Tazreen Fashions Managing Director Delwar Hossain.
Dhaka’s District and Sessions Judge Abdul Majid passed the order after hearing both the prosecution and the defence.
Delwar was sent to jail on February 10 when he surrendered before a Dhaka court.
On December 31 last year, arrest warrants were issued against the fugitive accused in the case – a year after the tragic deaths of at least 112 workers in fire at the factory on November 24, 2012.
The CID pressed the charges on December 22 last year. The case was filed by Ashulia police against Delwar and 14 others for murder by negligence.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Rana Plaza victims in Bangladesh still not paid compensation:
Just seven of the 28 retailers linked to factories in the Bangladesh building which collapsed killing 1,100 workers have paid into fund
Victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh are still waiting for long-term compensation with six weeks to go before the first anniversary of the disaster in which 1,100 workers lost their lives.
Despite months of negotiations, only seven of the 28 retailers linked to factories in the building have publicly paid into a joint fund backed by the international union, the ILO. Donations from Bonmarché, El Corte Inglés, Inditex, Mango, Mascot, Premier Clothing and Loblaw are thought to total less than a quarter of the promised fund total of £24m.
17:45:30 local time INDIA
* Indian textile & apparel sector adds 100k jobs in 9M FY’14:
17:15:30 local time PAKISTAN
* Growing: Textile industry stitches impressive growth rate:
The textile industry – the largest export-oriented sector of the country – has posted a strong double-digit growth in the first half (Jul-Dec 2013) of fiscal year 2013-14 (1HFY14).
According to a report compiled by Topline Securities, growth in the industry was witnessed because of improved demand and stable yarn margins, while a depreciating rupee (the rupee fell 7% against the dollar in 1HFY14) and declining finance costs managed to boost revenue.
The brokerage house’s analysis is based on listed textile companies (78 firms) which includes all textile units below Rs250-million market capitalisation at the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE). However, for the sake of comparability, Azgard Nine and Amtex Limited have been omitted due to volatility in their net profits.
Profits of the sample textile firms increased by 26% to reach Rs17.5 billion while gross profits posted a growth of 14% to Rs39 billion in 1HFY14. Net profits grew more than gross profits mainly because of the decline in financial charges.
* First half fiscal year 2014 period: textile sector posts 26 percent earning growth: Topline:
Pakistan’s textile industry posted an earning growth of 26 percent in 1HFY14 (July-December 2013).
This was due to improved demand and stable yarn margins. Further boost to profits was provided by depreciating Pak rupee (PKR fell 7 percent vs USD in 1HFY14) and the declining finance cost, according to research document of Topline Securities.
The Topline said that profits of our sample listed textile firms increased by 26 percent to reach Rs 17.5bn while gross profits posted a growth of 14 percent to Rs 39bn in 1HFY14. The bottom-line grew by more than gross profits mainly on account of decrease in financial charges, according to the research document.
* Compensation for rupee rise demanded:
Garment exporters on Thursday demand compensation from the government for the rupee revaluation.
In a press statement, Fawad Ijaz Khan, patron-in-chief of Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said the exporters will suffer a lot because of stronger rupee.
He said leather exporters finalised their orders for coming autumn/winter with the buyers at rupee-dollar parity of Rs104 to Rs105.
Khan said that exporters were receiving payments at the rate of 97.50 and 98.50 a dollar, meaning they lost around seven percent. He said the leather garment manufacturers imported leather, chemical and other accessories to complete the order with Rs105 per dollar.
He said that the government must compensate the value-added exporters for six months for the exchange loss for the shipments to be made from 1st April till end-September, 2014.