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October 15, 2010
The McPete Sez Lingerie Newsletter & Women's
A comprehensive text of a new international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been
released, protecting clothing and textile
manufacturers against illicit copies through tough criminal penalties for counterfeiters. It follows
an agreement at ACTA talks in Tokyo on all major outstanding issues.
US Trade Representative Ron Kirk hailed the deal’s “tremendous progress in the fight against
counterfeiting and piracy”.
It will bind signatories – initially developed economies – to “provide for criminal procedures and
penalties…[for] willful trademark counterfeiting or copyright or related rights piracy on a commercial
scale”. This would be punished with fines and imprisonment “sufficiently high to provide a
The idea is that ACTA becomes a global standard, adopted by major emerging economies, such as China,
who are the source of so many counterfeit goods.
Cambodia's Garment Talks
Cambodia's garment industry has yet to resume negotiations over minimum wages despite mass
strikes last month.
It is understood that factory owners are instead busy recovering from the strikes, which are
estimated to have cost the industry around US$15m.
"We have not set a date for any negotiations...any negotiations would have to be delayed due to the
fact that we now have to concentrate our energy on getting things back to normal after the strikes,"
Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), said.
In addition, the GMAC has blamed the unions’ illegal strikes for the delay. "Had it not been for
the strikes, we would have had the time to get
ourselves repaired and start negotiations much earlier," Loo added.
The last discussions were held on September 27, after clothing brands and the Cambodian government
stepped in and people returned to work.
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Trans-Pacific Trade Pact
The Philippines is hoping to join the Trans-Pacific
Economic Partnership Agreement or Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said forging a bilateral agreement with the US, the Philippines
leading trading partner, would be remote if the Philippines will not join the TPP.
“The only way we can have a trade agreement with the US right now is through the TPP so it makes a
lot of sense for us to be with TPP. Otherwise, we will be left behind,” he said in a media briefing
Domingo, however, recognizes the TPP agreement requires the government to strengthen its laws on
human rights, child labor, environmental protection, property rights, among others.
The multilateral free-trade pact aims to promote economic integration among nations in the
Asia-Pacific region. It currently comprises eight countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand,
Singapore, Peru, Vietnam and the US.
The third round of negotiations is scheduled for October.
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FTC to Update 'Green Guides'
Marketers should steer clear of saying their products are “environmentally friendly” or
“eco-friendly,” under new rules proposed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as it takes steps to
tighten up misleading environmental claims.
The changes are included in a proposed update to the ‘Green Guides’ the FTC issues to advertisers.
It also wants to see stricter controls for companies using claims such as “renewable energy,”
“renewable materials” and “carbon offsetting.”
The new guidelines are designed to prevent companies from misleading consumers through
“In recent years, businesses have increasingly used ‘green’ marketing to capture consumers’ attention
and move Americans toward a more environmentally friendly future,” explains FTC chairman Jon
Leibowitz. “But what companies think green claims mean and what consumers really understand are
sometimes two different things.”
The planned changes are designed to update the Guides and make them easier to understand and use.
The FTC is seeking public comments on the proposals until 10 December, after which it will decide which
changes to make final. Proposed revisions can be seen here
and you can make comments here
India Halts Cotton Exports
India has suspended the online process for
registering cotton exports after a rush of applications meant it reached its pre-set quotas
just ten days after bookings began.
The Textile Commissioner said on October 11:
"Applications equal to the stipulated exportable surplus quantity have already been received. The
online process for registration of contracts is therefore suspended."
The government had allocated permits to ship 5.5m bales in the 2010/11 season, with registration
beginning on October 1 for shipments that would take place from November 1. Traders must complete shipments within 45 days of receiving permits, or
by December 15 at the latest, a notice explained.
The Textile Commissioner now says the online registration facility "may be resumed if exportable
surplus quantity becomes available."
India, the world's second-biggest producer and exporter of cotton, introduced a ban on raw cotton
exports in April in an attempt to halt soaring price hikes and exports. It also imposed monthly
limits on the amount of cotton, even under registered contracts, that could be
At the end of last month the country postponed the resumption of raw cotton exports by one month,
after heavy rains in major cotton-producing areas such as Punjab and Andhra Pradesh delayed this
year's cotton harvest.
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Textile Industry Opposes Pakistan Trade Concessions
The European textile and apparel industry is ramping up its opposition to
trade concessions offered by the European Union (EU) to Pakistan, claiming around 120,000 jobs are at risk if the measure goes through.
The formal proposal for the suspension of European Union (EU) import duties on 75 tariff lines of export items from Pakistan for the next three years, with the aim of boosting EU imports by EUR100m (US$140m).
“This proposal will offer a real boost to Pakistan’s economic recovery...,” said EU trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.
Liberalized items would mostly consist of clothing and textiles, which are at the core of Pakistan’s export industry, and make up 60% of its exports to the EU.
Examples of items to have their tariffs dropped include knitted or crocheted gloves, with regular duties of 6.4 % to 8%, and women’s cotton garments, which attract 9.6% to 12%. Lines covered by the deal also include many yarns and cotton fabrics, and a wide range of knitted and woven clothes.
The suspension of duties on specified imports will apply from January
1 2011, provided approval is secured at the EU Council of Ministers.
The European Apparel and Textile Confederation, Euratex, has written to the President of the European Council Van Rompuy to express its “deep concerns” to any such move. “We are not prepared to be continuously the sector to let go whenever something has to be given for political reasons to a third country,” the letter says.
The trade group was spurred into action after the EU said it is considering issuing temporary duty concessions to some Pakistani textiles to help the country recover from its recent floods. These include the reduction or removal of duties on 81 products, mostly textile, for the next three years.
Euratex, however, is convinced that the trade concessions would have no impact on helping those hit by the disaster.
“The textile and clothing industry of Pakistan is located outside the flooded areas,” explains Euratex president Dr Peter Pfneisl. “Moreover, the Pakistan textile and clothing industry is composed of very competitive, well equipped and efficient companies...so the benefits of the EU concessions will go to them and not to the populations in need.”
The European industry also fears that in addition to its WTO waiver request for duty-free access, EU leaders intend to change the GSP+ criteria to benefit Pakistan when the new regime comes in to force in 2014.
“These concessions will affect the entirety of the supply chain still present in Europe as they range from yarns and fabrics up to garments and home
textiles,” Euratex says.
It also claims the “negative impact” will not only be felt across the EU27 member states, but also in other countries like Turkey that benefit from preferential relations with the EU.
Earlier this month Spain's Consejo Intertextil Espanol (CIE) said any duty concessions to Pakistani textile imports could bankrupt 1,000 Spanish companies and destroy 20,000 jobs.
However, while European textile and clothing firms are opposed to any help for Pakistan, industry leaders in that country don’t feel the proposed
measures go far enough.
Claiming the planned EU moves only encourage exports of textile raw materials, local firms want to include more garment categories in the concessions – claiming this industry is the only one that could boost employment and help economic recovery. They also want the US to grant similar market access to Pakistan.
Chinese Factories Fight
"Worst Employer" Claims
South African clothing and knitwear factories who are members of
the Newcastle Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry have hit back at the Southern African
Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (Sactwu) after it branded them as the "worst employers."
The union named the Chinese Chamber of Commerce as the recipient of its 'Worst Employer Award' during
its 11th National Congress Awards evening in Cape Town.
It said member firms "break down, not build, decent work in the clothing industry," and pay "slave
wages." According to Sactwu figures the legal
minimum wage for a machinist is ZAR479.10 (US$69.6) per week, but it claims the Chamber's clothing
sector members pay between ZAR180 and ZAR280 a week.
In its response the Chamber believes the union's action "further polarizes
South Africa's diverse ethnic population," and says it is working closely
with the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry to resolve the pay
It also points out that its involvement in the clothing industry has created much needed
employment in Newcastle, where its 45 clothing members employ around 2500 workers.
Disputing Sactwu data, the Chamber says its members pay between ZAR250 and ZAR550 a week for a
qualified machinist - even though "the whole wage structure of the clothing industry in South Africa
And it goes on to point out that there are currently 358 clothing companies in South Africa
that are targeted by the Bargaining Council for not paying minimum wages - and that the worst paying
employer in South Africa is not a Chinese company.
"Our intentions and those of our members is to find an equable solution to the current impasse over
reasonable wages considering the extremely difficult and challenging environment we are faced
to operate in," the Chamber says.
"The South African clothing sector has seen the closure of dozens of factories and the loss of
thousands of jobs over the past few years. Can the union, the industry, the country and South African
people afford further losses because of the inflexibility of finding a solution around a
marginal difference in wages?
US Container Traffic Up 11%
Import cargo volume at US retail container ports is expected to be up 11% in October over the same
month last year, and should continue to see strong year-on-year growth for the rest of the year, a new
While October has traditionally been the busiest month as retailers rush to fill shelves with
merchandise for the holiday season, this year the peak shifted to August, according to the monthly
Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The change was due to a backlog in cargo from earlier in the year after ocean carriers were slow
to replace vessels taken out of service during the recession, and because retailers brought
merchandise into the country early to avoid the risk of delays this fall.
"Cargo is still coming through but retailers are mostly stocked up for the holiday season," said
Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy. "Retailers aren't going to say
the recession is behind them until their customers tell them it is, but we are hoping to see some
sustainable economic growth over the next several weeks. The goal is that inventory levels will match
sales as closely as possible."
US ports handled 1.42m twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in August, the latest month for which actual
numbers are available. That was up 3% from July and 23% from August 2009. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo
container or its equivalent.
September was estimated at 1.37m TEU, a 20% increase over last year. October is forecast at
1.32m TEU, up 11% from last year; November at 1.21m TEU, also up 11%; and December at 1.12m TEU, up 3%.
January 2011 is forecast at 1.09m TEU, up 8% from January 2010, and February 2011 at 992,848
TEU, down 1% from February 2010.
The 2010 full year is forecast at 14.7m TEU, which would be up 16% from the 12.7m TEU in 2009 (the
lowest since 2003). The 2010 number is set to remain below the 15.2m TEU seen in 2008 and the
peak of 16.5m TEU seen in 2007.
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