19:00:55 local time CHINA
* From mainland to ‘made in Vietnam’:
HK factory owners are debating options of building new bases in Southeast Asia
Finally, Felix Chung Kwok-pan, chairman of Hong Kong Apparel Society and Legislative Council member in the special administrative region, heard some good news.
The land he has been negotiating over in Myanmar had eventually been secured after countless visits and calculations. The first batch of Hong Kongmakers is now moving to the country.
“We will be cutting the ribbon in the middle of next year if everything unfolds smoothly,” said Chung. “The infrastructure work for the industrial park is expected to be finished at the end of this year, and we will move in andour own factories, which will not take long.”
The land Chung refers to is in Thilawa Special Economic Zone, Myanmar’s flagship economic testing ground in theof Yangon. The industrial park is being jointly developed by Japanese companies and the Myanmar government. In March, a group of 12 Hong Kong garment makers signed a letter of intent for a 40-hectare plot in the zone. Final terms are still under negotiation, but up to $3 million of investment each is expected initially.
“That is not enough,” Chung said. “Another piece of land we’ve secured is in Bago province next to Yangon. It’s 121 hectares and will be available next year. Many other
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* Worker protests in China surge after Lunar New Year:
There has been a noticeable surge in the number of strikes and worker protests in China since the Lunar New Year Holiday in early February. China Labour Bulletin recorded 119 incidents on our strike map in March alone.
Overall, there were 202 incidents in the first quarter of 2014, up 31 percent compared with same period last year. This increase might partly be explained by greater social media coverage but there does seem to be a pronounced increase in activism on the ground.
Although the media coverage of recent worker activism in China has been dominated by several high-profile disputes involving multi-nationals such as Walmart (see photo below) and IBM, the workers’ movement continues to be broad-based, with protests in a wide range of industries across the whole of the country.
18:00:55 local time VIET NAM
* Vinatex announces investment plans:
Viet Nam National Textile Garment Group (Vinatex) will invest VND4.8 trillion (US$228.5 million) in three projects in the central province of Quang Binh.
According to information published on Vinatex’s website, the projects that were granted licences were a fibre plant and a garment factory in Quang Phuc Ward, Ba Don Town and a garment factory in the Gia Ninh Commune, Quang Ninh District.
In addition to the three projects , the group has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Quang Binh Province for four other projects, such as the research and development of cotton and eucalyptus materials for the group’s spinning mills, investment research for the construction of a fibre plant in Quang Ninh District, investment research for a fibre weaving and dyeing complex in Bac Quan Hau Industrial Park, and an investment survey related to garment factories for export in the Le Thuy and Quang Trach Districts.
* Vietnam exporters lose markets over repeated antidumping suits:
Vietnam has endured nearly 20 antidumping lawsuits from various countries over the last two years and local businesses complain that it is an arduous task to resume exports to these markets even when the trade remedies are relaxed.
Vietnamese-made polyethylene (PE) bags have almost vanished from the U.S. market after the products were subject to extremely high antidumping and anti-subsidy duties for five years from 2009, following a ruling by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) in 2010.
The antidumping duties range from 52.3 percent to 76.11 percent, while the band for anti-subsidy duties is from 5.28 percent to 52.56 percent.
Shortly after the decision was made, exports of Vietnamese-made PE bags of all kinds to the U.S. “were almost stalled as exporters were struggling to find customers,” recalled Ho Duc Lam, chairman of the Vietnam Plastic Association.
Production capacity affected
In 2006, the EU levied a 10 percent antidumping duty on leather capped shoes manufactured in Vietnam, but the action was lifted five years later.
Even so, Lien Phat Co is still unable to revitalize its production capacity, according to director Truong Thuy Lien.
“Our production capacity slumped 40 percent following the EU decision, and the size of the workforce was reduced from more than 1,200 to only several hundreds of employees as European importers simultaneously canceled orders,” she recalled.
Two years after the duties were removed in 2011, the company’s workforce rose back to nearly 1,200 workers, but exports to the EU now occupy only 50 percent of the total figure, instead of the previous 70 percent rate.
“And the leather capped shoes only make up a modest proportion of the total export turnovers,” the director said.
* Vietnam to become jeans production hub:
Spain’s Jeanologia and its Vietnamese partner Phong Phu International Joint Stock Company have an ambitious plan to transform Vietnam into a global market leader in the production of high-quality environmentally friendly jeans, radio The Voice of Vietnam (VOV) reported.
Enrique Silla, President of Jeanologia- a Spain jean producer has said that Vietnamese products, especially jeans and knitted items, are finding their niche in the global marketplace and are emerging as a strong competitive rival in terms of price and quality.
Silla said that recent policy changes in China – currently the world’s largest jeans producer – have lessened the attractiveness of the Chinese market to the favour of investment in the Vietnamese garment and textile industry.
He emphasised that the time is ripe for garment producers in the Vietnam to seize the opportunity to ascend to a position of global leadership in the production of high-quality jeans.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 11/4 (last item).
18:00:55 local time CAMBODIA
* Staying at Home Not a Strike, Factories Say:
The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) warned garment workers on Thursday that they risk losing their jobs if they extend their Khmer New Year vacation by joining a stay-at-home strike.
Aiming to avoid police suppression of street protests for a higher garment sector minimum wage, the unions are asking workers to stay home for five days after the New Year holiday ends next Wednesday.
But in a newspaper advertisement, GMAC argues that a strike is only a strike if it takes place “within an enterprise or establishment,” citing the Labor Law. The ad also says that arrangements for annual leave can only be made between individual workers and their employers.
“There is no law giving unions or professional organizations the right to decide or request annual leave for individual workers,” the ad says. It warns that workers who stay home after the New Year would be legally exposed to punitive measures.
“Although some workers will not work to demand something from the employers, this action cannot be considered a strike, since they do not come to work and stay at the factory complex,” it says. “Not coming to work is considered an absence, for which they can face punishment or fines in accordance with the laws and rules on labor and the internal regulations of the company.”
Pav Sina, president of the Collective Unions of Movement of Workers, one of the unions planning the strike, said every garment worker should be able to make up his or her mind about whether to join.
He argued that the unions have every legal right to act on their members’ behalf and that it was the workers themselves who had asked unions to help.
* Union scrambling for $25k bail:
he leader of Cambodia’s largest independent garment union may soon be in jail, with the group fearing it will not be able to afford the $25,000 bail a judge has ordered be paid by April 25, its vice president said yesterday.
Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), yesterday received a letter from Phnom Penh Municipal Court ordering him to pay the entire sum within two weeks or be arrested and held in pretrial detention while judge Chea Sok Heang investigates charges of incitement.
“It’s too much,” C.CAWDU vice president Kong Athit said, adding that Sok Heang is unwilling to accept less than the full amount. “There’s no room for negotiation.”
C.CAWDU members are trying to pool money to help pay the bail, Athit said.
Deputy prosecutor Ek Cheng questioned Thorn and C.CAWDU activist Pav Phanna on Tuesday, following up on a complaint filed by Sath Sophai, a security guard at the SL Garment factory, who alleges both defendants incited several violent incidents during a C.CAWDU-led strike between August and December.
* Factory shutters in shame:
The Zongtex Garment factory off Phnom Penh’s Russian Boulevard looks like a nondescript residential compound, hidden down a dead-end road. There are no signs suggesting that it supplied to some of the world’s leading high street names – and the US military.
Taiwanese-owned Zongtex Garment Manufacturing made clothes for Sears, Macy’s, the Moret Group, Komar Brands and Costco, according to a Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) audit released last month. It also supplied to the US military’s Army & Air Force Exchange Service.
Allegations in the WRC audit – the result of a years-long investigation – range from union busting to child labour and poor occupational safety, with one worker reporting that she soiled herself at her sewing machine because she was not permitted to use the bathroom. According to the WRC report, while its main facility near Veng Sreng Boulevard was registered with the Ministry of Labour, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia and the International Labour Organisation program Better Factories Cambodia (BFC), its second factory operated under the radar.
When Post reporters visited the factories this week, both were empty.
According to a Zongtex supervisor, the factories shuttered their doors on March 21 after an ILO inspection.
“It was shut down soon after the ILO came to bring an underage girl out of the factory,” Srey Mao said.
“One of the big incentives for particularly ruthless factory owners is to avoid seniority benefits that workers have accumulated,” Joel Preston, a consultant for the Community Legal Education Center (CLEC), said.
Bent Gehrt, WRC field director for Southeast Asia, who has monitored the factories since the investigation was launched in 2010, said the report’s release was delayed after Zongtex showed signs of improvement, only to renege on promises.
“For a while, it seemed like they were doing something to make changes. We prefer to issue reports that are more positive,” he said. “They were starting from a very low base, but we wanted to give them more time.… They were never sincere.”
“These [hidden] factories are very common,” CLEC’s Preston said.
“Many of these factories are not covered by BFC monitors, conditions are often terrible, and major brands refuse to acknowledge their existence.”
* Mass faintings in Cambodia: What’s the reason? :
Along traffic-choked roads winding into Phnom Penh, Cambodia, sit dozens of factories baking in the sun. Every morning at dawn, thousands of workers wrap their heads in checkered scarves called kromahs, climb aboard rickety trucks and report to work to assemble clothing that will eventually arrive thousands of miles away at Gaps, Targets and H&Ms.
Inside these darkened factories, temperatures soar above 100 degrees. Cambodians work for $100 per month.
And people faint.
A mass fainting, as it’s called, almost always begins with one worker. But fainting can spread like a contagion across a factory, infecting dozens, sometimes hundreds of workers.
Last week, nearly 120 workers spontaneously fainted at two textile factories that produce sportswear for Puma and Adidas. The fainting is the latest controversy to rock an industry vital to the Cambodian economy that generates more than $5 billion per year.
This factory fainting was like scores of others. More than 1,000 factory faintings were reported in 2011. In 2012, that number surged to almost 2,000 — including 30 workers who fainted while manufacturing clothing for Puma, according to a Cambodian study called “Shop ’til they drop.” In 2013, the same thing happened to 180 workers manufacturing clothing for Adidas and Polo Ralph Lauren.
17:00:55 local time BANGLADESH
* Workers demonstrate in CEPZ for timely increment:
Hundreds of workers of ATS Pearl Ltd, a garment factory employing around 1,700 workers in Chittagong Export Processing Zone, agitated for yearly increment on the factory premises yesterday.
Some of the workers were supposed to get increments with their previous salaries given to them on Wednesday, but no increment was given, which fuelled the demonstration, workers said.
The workers vandalised factory windows and chanted slogans demanding the increment in due time, said Sub Inspector Alamgir Hossain of EPZ Police.
Later, the factory authorities assured the workers of meeting their demands by April 25, said SM Abdur Rashid, general manager of CEPZ.
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* One killed,10 burnt critically :
Fire originates from chemical shop in residential building
One person was killed and 10 others were injured as flammable chemicals caught fire and exploded at a shop on the ground floor of a residential building in the capital’s Tejgaon yesterday.
Most of the victims were pedestrians and at least six of the injured are fighting for life with over 30 percent of their bodies burnt. Two university students and a minor boy are among the injured.
The dead is Abdul Latif, 50, a rickshaw van puller. He had been admitted to the burn unit of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital with 96 percent burns. He succumbed to his injuries around 1:00am today.
Sources said the blast occurred at Mahfuz Sewing and Electric, a shop that sells accessories for garment factories in East Tejturi Bazar near Farmgate around 2:45pm.
“We had brought a 200-litre barrel of paint thinner into our shop and opened it and we smelt something very unusual. As soon as I rushed out of the shop, I saw a fire followed by a loud bang,” Mahmudul Hasan, owner of the shop, told The Daily Star at a hospital writhing in pain.
At least 35 percent of his body was burnt.read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* 1,200 maunds of jute gutted in Manikganj fire:
About 1,200 maunds of jute were gutted by a fire that broke out at a jute warehouse at Charigram village in Singair upazila on Thursday.
Witnesses said the fire erupted at a tin-shed jute warehouse at about 1:00 pm and spread soon.
Being informed, fire fighting units rushed in and doused the flame after one hour of frantic efforts.
However, no causality was reported.
* Woman garments worker beaten up by official, hospitalised:
Mercilessly beaten by boss, a female garments worker is groaning in pain at Nilphamari 100-bed Hospital.
The victim is Mina Akhtar, 20, a worker (ID No 2308) of production section of ‘Section Seven International Ltd’, a garments factory in Uttara Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Nilphamari.
She is the daughter of Hashem Munshi, 55, of Shalhati village of Dimla upazila in the district.
“The floor in charge of the factory, Al Helal Khan called me for some matter on Wednesday noon. As I made a little delay to reach him, he hurled abuses and beat me mercilessly, leaving me injured and unable to continue work that day,” said Mina, lying on the floor of the female ward of the hospital, when this correspondent visited her yesterday morning.
“I came back to my rented house at Sangolshi village beside the EPZ. As I was crying in severe pain, some locals brought me to Nilphamari hospital,” she said.
* Constructive trade union needed for better industrial ties: seminar:
National and international trade union leaders on Tuesday emphasised on organised and constructive trade unions for better industrial relations between factory owners and workers.
At a social dialogue on ‘Industrial Relations and Sustainable Development of RMG Industry in Bangladesh : Role of National and International Stakeholders’, they said that trade unions should be constructive and lawful while owners must have respect for activities of the unions.
They also demanded for formulation a permanent trust fund with contributions of the government, owners, international buyers and workers for ensuring RMG workers’ welfare.
Factory owners, however, requested all local political parties and international groups for delinking trade unions from local, regional and international politics.
They also urged the government and international organisations for arranging proper training and education for workers as well as management on trade union and its responsibility.
* Envoys satisfied over post Rana Plaza initiatives:
Diplomats exchange views with BGMEA, stakeholders
Foreign diplomats yesterday expressed their satisfaction over the initiatives, taken by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), to improve the country’s ready-made garment (RMG) sector compliance issues.
“We are satisfied over the post Rana Plaza initiatives for improving work places environment, workers safety, labour standard and labour rights,” said ILO country director Srinivas Reddy while addressing a press briefing on Thursday. Earlier, the foreign diplomats held a view exchange meeting on “Information sharing session on Post Rana Plaza Initiatives and the Current Scenario of the RGM Sector” at Westin Hotel in Dhaka.
Envoys of 14 countries including US, Germany, Spain and Sweden, which buy Bangladesh apparel products, attended the meeting with major stakeholders including leaders of the apparel trade body BGMEA.
Apparently expressing their satisfaction over the measures, Reddy said a lot of improvement took place especially in case of trade unions.
“There were only two registered trade unions in the RMG sector in 2010. But the number by this time has increased to 134, he added.
Dwelling on the compensation for the victims of Rana Plaza, he hoped that a significant amount will be deposited in the ‘Rana Plaza Donor’s Trust Fund by April 23.
* Mixed progress in RMG sector after Rana Plaza disaster, say foreign diplomats:
Canadian high commissioner to Bangladesh Heather Cruden on Thursday said that the readymade garment sector in Bangladesh has made significant progress in some areas the RMG leaders pledged to improve but made a little headway in other areas.
‘A lot of things have been achieved over the year. It is fair to say that the progress may not happen quickly… may be the exceptions were unrealistic,’ the envoy told reporters at a briefing after a discussion meeting with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association at Westin Hotel in the city.
At the programme titled ‘Information Sharing Session on Post Rana Plaza Initiatives and the Current Scenario of the RMG Sector’, the BGMEA briefed foreign diplomats of fourteen countries, including the US, EU, the Netherlands, France, Sweden and Spain, about post Rana Plaza initiatives and progress of commitments which the sector had made in last one year.
* Canadian envoy for continued efforts to ensure workplace safety in BD’s RMG sector:
Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden called for continued efforts Thursday to help comply with the workplace safety and labour standards in Bangladesh’s apparel sector.
Terming the ongoing initiatives made by the government and the apparel makers not so satisfactory, she suggested putting in pressure to meet the remaining challenges in respect of workers’ rights and safety issues.
“There have been lots of achievements over the year. But it is fair to say progress may not quickly happen, may be the expectations are unrealistic,” Ms Cruden told the reporters after an information sharing session on “Post Rana Plaza Initiatives and the Current Senario of the RMG Sector” with the apparel sector leaders.
Organized by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the session was attended by 14 foreign diplomats including the US, EU, German, Denmark, France, Sweden, France, Norway and Spain and donor agencies, IFC, JICA, GIZ and USAID.
* RMG makes progress, still long way to go, says Cruden:
Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden came up with the observation while talking to the reporters yesterday
Bangladesh has so far made a significant progress in improving overall working conditions in the ready-made garment sector, but still there are lot of things to do for further advancement.
Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden came up with the observation while talking to the reporters yesterday after attending a views-sharing meeting with her fellow colleagues from different countries stationed in Dhaka.
The meeting titled “Post Rana Plaza Initiatives and the Current Scenario of RMG sector” was organised by the BGMEA at its office to update the ambassadors, the high commissioners and donor agencies about the progress so far made in the country’s RMG sector.
* H&M calls for faster factory inspections:
Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, said on Thursday Bangladesh needed to speed up inspections of its garment industry, almost a year after the collapse of a factory that killed more than 1,100 people.
The disaster at the Rana Plaza complex a year ago prompted the Swedish budget fashion chain and other Western brands to pledge to cooperate to improve working conditions.
More than 150 retailers and brands said they would have all of the 1,500 Bangladeshi factories making their clothes inspected by the end of August. But the inspections have been slow to get under way.
H&M’s Head of Sustainability Helena Helmersson said Bangladesh also needed to implement a national plan for inspections of the whole garment industry.
‘It should not be dependent on which brand is buying at the factory – it should be all factories. They have to put a lot of resources to be able to speed up the inspections,’ she told Reuters after releasing an annual report on sustainability.
Bangladesh has pledged to boost worker rights and recruit more safety inspectors after the European Union, which gives preferential access to Bangladeshi garments, threatened punitive measures.
* Physically challenged people to get jobs in garment factory: CRP founder:
Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) Founder and Coordinator Dr. Valerie Ann Taylor today said the physically challenged people would be trained as skilled workers to provide them with jobs in garment factories.
She was speaking at a function held at the CRP in collaboration with Marks and Spencer.
The speakers at the ‘Marks and Starts Cultural Exchange’ appreciated the programme of Marks and Spencer and said this has encouraged the physically challenged people for work and given them the hope of a better life.
More than 8,825 physically challenged people got employment since 2006 through this programme.
* Female workers passing a busy time at a bangles producing ‘factory’:
Female workers passing a busy time at a bangles producing ‘factory’ at Lalbag in the city Thursday ahead of Pahela Baishakh, as demand for the traditional item soars during the Bangla New Year celebration. — FE Photo
* Spectrum factory collapse slides into oblivion:
On April 11, 2005, the nine-storey factory building of Spectrum Garments in Palashbari of Savar crashed, killing around 70 people
The 70-death collapse of the Spectrum garment in April 2005 could have been the wakeup call for the country’s policymakers, that could have prevented the over 1,000-death Rana Plaza collapse.
But over a span of nine years, everything about the deadly collapse have virtually sled into oblivion, let alone the victims getting justice.
This now can be another wakeup call itself for the victims and their relatives of the Rana Plaza disaster, especially for those who have been waiting for justice.
On April 11, 2005, the nine-storey factory building of Spectrum Garments in Palashbari of Savar crashed, killing around 70 people and injuring at least a hundred.
A boiler explosion and also faulty construction have been blamed for the collapse. The building, erected on a marshland, had several unapproved floors.
On May 24, 2005, about a month after the collapse, the High Court granted bail to Shahriar alias Sayeed Hossain, managing director of the collapse sweater factory building, and Abul Hasem Fakir, a director of the factory. The two accused were later discharged from a trial court on consideration that the case was filed by police and not by any of the victims’ families.
THE TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE
* Tazreen Fashions chairman Mahmuda Akhter Mita secures bail:
A Dhaka court on Thursday granted bail to chairman of Tazreen Fashions Mahmuda Akhter Mita on Tk 20,000 bond in a case over the devastating fire in the garment factory that claimed over 100 lives in 2012.
Judge of Dhaka district and session Judge Court M Abdul Mazid passed the order after a hearing on the bail petition filed by Mita’s lawyer Golam Gous.
Golam Gous said now there is no bar to release Mita from jail as she secured bail in the case.
Earlier, on April 3, a court sent Tazreen Fashions chairman Mita to jail after rejecting her bail petition in the case.
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* Tazreen Fashions chairman Mahmuda Akhter granted bail:
Court granted the bail on a Tk20,000 bond after hearing the bail petition filed by Mahmuda’s lawyer
A Dhaka court yesterday granted bail to Tazreen Fashions Chairman Mahmuda Akhter in a homicide case .
The case was filed in connection with the devastating fire in the garment factory that killed at least 112 workers in 2012.
Dhaka’s District and Sessions Judge Md Abdul Majid granted the bail on a Tk20,000 bond after hearing the bail petition filed by Mahmuda’s lawyer Md Golam Gaus.
The defence counsel told the Dhaka Tribune: “Now that the court has granted bail, there is no bar to releasing Mahmuda from prison.”
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* More funds sought for BD factory collapse victims:
Global trade unions IndustriALL and UNI and labour rights network Clean Clothes Campaign launched a new effort on Thursday to push Western brands to pay into a compensation fund for victims of the Rana Plaza collapse that killed more than 1,100 people.
In a joint statement they said that a fund set up for the over 2,000 people injured and the families of the dead had raised only a third of its target of $40 million so far.
Only half of the 29 brands that sourced goods from factories in the Rana Plaza complex contributed to the fund run by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Jyrki Raina of IndustriALL said “The workers who survived this catastrophe and the families of those who did not are in desperate need. The last year has seen medical expenses, lack of income and the horrors of that day relived.”
Some of the brands supplied from the Rana Plaza complex say they will not contribute as their production was outsourced to the factory without their knowledge, or ended some time ago, while others prefer to pursue their own compensation plans.
* Rana Plaza victims to get compensation by April 24:
Rana Plaza victims look set to finally receive their due compensation after ILO Country Director Srinivasa Reddy yesterday assured the hand-out would begin before the first anniversary of the disaster.
A total of 3,080 victims will be compensated, with each victim receiving Tk 50,000 from the trust fund created by international retailers, he said after a meeting with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, diplomats and researchers.
Reddy, however, did not give a specific date on which the compensation would be handed out.
The 580 victims who have already received compensation from the British retailer Primark, however, have been excluded.
The compensation figure has been arrived at following the International Labour Organisation’s convention 121, widely employed worldwide to pay off victims of industrial accidents.
Asked if the hand-outs made from the Prime Minister’s Fund would be part of the compensation, Reddy said the trust fund’s three commissioners would decide if the two would be merged or not.
* ILO aid for Rana Plaza victims soon:
He said British clothing retailer Primark paid out compensation after the building collapsed last year and the affected workers have already received some of that money. “The rest will be given within April 24,” said Reddy, according to a news agency.
16:30:55 local time INDIA
* Powerloom workers begin strike:
Various trade unions present in Mangalam and Palladam power loom clusters in the district on Thursday extended solidarity to the strike observed by the owners of the power loom job working units in the respective clusters.
M. Sivasami, secretary of LPF-affilliated Tirupur District Powerloom Workers Progressive Union, said the labourers would also stand by the demand of the job working units for a 27 per cent hike recently sanctioned for the job work charges.
“Despite having signed the the pact, the master weavers are not given the stipulated increase in the job work charges, which is not an ethical act,” he added.
16:00:55 local time PAKISTAN
* Faisalabad yarn market: ‘dozens of brokers involved in mega tax fraud’:
A panic-like situation was witnessed at the yarn market Faisalabad on Thursday after an astonishing disclosure by Chitta or “king of invoices” that dozens of brokers and agents are involved in mega tax fraud involving sales tax transactions to the tune of billions.
Sources told Business Recorder here on Thursday that Chitta made the disclosure during interrogation by investigators of Regional Tax Office (RTO) Faisalabad. Chitta was heading an organised gang involved in business of fake/flying invoices.
During investigation it has been disclosed that a number of non-functional units were shown part of the supply chain to commit tax fraud. Either the names of the registered non-functional units were used or dummy firms were registered. Chitta further disclosed before the investigators of the RTO Faisalabad that the brokers of Yarn Market are allegedly involved in the scam.
* PHMA opposes levy of duty on yarn import:
Central Chairman, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association, (PHMA), Shahzad Azam Khan, has expressed concerns over the government’s expected move to impose duty on import of yarn.
In a letter to Federal Textile Minister, he said the imposition of import duty on yarn is seen a conspiracy against the country’s economy, adding that “if the government imposes duty on the import of yarn, it would amount to a conspiracy against the nation’s economy”.
He said the value-added apparel textile sector is disturbed as the government is consulting with spinning sector while there are a number of different textile associations which have a big export share.
“The economic managers of the country and other government organisations are led to believe that APTMA alone is the representative body of the entire textile industry but this is not true at all.” he said.
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* Textile exports to EU unlikely to witness big increase:
The apparel textile exporters have said that Pakistan is unlikely to witness a big increase in its exports to EU under the market concession regime this calendar year.
Talking to Business Recorder on Thursday, Chief Co-ordinator, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (Prgmea), Ijaz A Khokhar, said the country might not witness a big jump in its exports to EU under the GSP Plus regime.
“Energy shortage, high utility prices and poor law and order in the country continue to hinder textile production growth,” he said, adding that the exporters had begun shipping a small number of orders to EU under GSP Plus in the last two months which might set a trend for future.
* Peace vital for fully reaping benefits of GSP Plus: Muneer:
Chairman Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) S. M. Muneer, has said that the country may not be able to reap full advantages of the GSP Plus status given to the country recently by the European Union without restoration of peace in the country.
Addressing a dinner hosted in his honour by Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Bedwear Exporters Association (PBEA), Shabbir Ahmed, he said: “internal and external forces are bent upon pushing the country towards anarchy and uncertainty which in turn is causing frustration not only among members of the business community but also among masses.”
He said that the efforts of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for restoration of peace were appreciable, who was working on war footing to create peaceful environment in the country.
He said that after taking over TDAP as chairman, he was working overtime to resolve the issues of exporters. “One of the major issues agitating them is the stuck up sales tax refund and duty drawback with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), he added.
* In line with GSP plus facility: APTMA urges US to extend market access:
Chairman APTMA Punjab S M Tanveer has urged the US government to extend market access to Pakistan in line with the GSP plus facility from the EU.
He was talking to a group of US Journalists who visited APTMA Punjab through Pildat on Thursday. Senior Vice Chairman APTMA Seth Akbar was also present on the occasion.
Tanveer said share of Pakistan’s textile exports to the US market is 2.8 per cent, which is needed to be increased up to 5 per cent. It will not only give boost to textile industry growth in Pakistan but also be helpful in curbing extremism in Pakistan, he said. Chairman APTMA Punjab deplored that the idea of Reconstruction Opportunities Zones (ROZs) could not be materialised.
*APTMA demand more market access:
The Punjab chairman of the All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) said on Thursday that the United States should extend market access to Pakistan in line with the European Union’s GSP-Plus facility.
Talking to a group of US journalists who visited the office of Aptma Punjab, S M Tanveer said Pakistan’s share of textile exports to the US market is 2.8 percent, which should be increased to 5 percent. Pakistan’s textile industry could benefit from establishment of Reconstruction Opportunities Zones, he added.
Chinese investors are also set to invest $2 billion in Pakistan Apparel Park, Tanveer said.
Pakistan’s involving in the war against terrorism has hindered the growth of its textile industry because foreign buyers do not visit Pakistan in view of the dangers resulting from this involvement, he said. But despite this, he noted, the Pakistani textile industry was competitive internationally since the quality of its products was high.
* Clothing business: Luxury lawn making millions for industrialists and investors:
With the advent of summer, the demand for lawn fabric is becoming the main revenue generating source for the textile industry and retail traders.
The increasing growth of the middle class leaving its footprints on the domestic market is exhilarating for industrialists and traders who are excited about the prospects of lawn.
In Faisalabad, many new shopping malls have textile millers and investors starting their own chains, offering various brands to attract customers that have ensured handsome returns.
Many celebrities have also caught up with the trend and have launched their own brands to cash from the situation.
The price of an ordinary lawn suit is around Rs1, 000. If customers opt for a branded product, the cost ranges between Rs3, 000 to Rs10, 000 depending on the quality, design and name of the brand.
Just a few years ago, lawn was being sold in the causal cloth markets but recent developments in the fashion industry have put lawn into the big market to capture the consumer requirements.
To fulfill these requirements, malls around the city are trying to capture the market through hefty investments.
Lawn is a light cotton fabric and its demand is increasing as women switch to the cloth to beat the heat, according to consumers.
The textile industry launched a variety of new brands through aggressive marketing campaigns. Millions of rupees have been spent by the clothing industry for creating demand for their products, said a lawn manufacturer while speaking to The Express Tribune.
Faisalabad, the textile hub of Pakistan, has approximately 400 mills that manufacture this fabric. Most manufacturers have hired designers to create new lawn designs.
* EU supports cotton-to-clothing strategy in Zimbabwe: