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Burma Import Ban Approved
80% Hike in Bangladesh Minimum Wage
3000 Cambodia Workers Strike
Hamas Bans Lingerie Displays
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Pakistani Textile Workers Strike
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August 1, 2010
The McPete Sez Lingerie Newsletter & Women's
Burma Import Ban Approved
The US Senate has voted to renew a total ban on imports from Burma which had been due to expire on July 26.
The extension to the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003 would maintain import restrictions against the
ruling military junta in Burma for one year.
The bill now awaits President Obama's signature.
The US has imposed an import ban on Burma since 2003, but the country continues to be cited by numerous
organizations and governments for widespread human rights violations.
“It sends the right message that the United States is not interested in doing business with oppressive regimes,”
said AAFA president and CEO Kevin Burke.
“I now call on President Barack Obama to sign the renewal before the ban expires.”
80% Hike in Bangladesh
Rallying garment workers in Bangladesh are being granted
an 80% hike in their minimum wage, an industry official confirmed on July 29.
The Bangladesh Ministry of Labor and Employment has agreed to pay workers at least BDT3,000 (US$43.17) per
month as of October 31.
It follows recent rallies and protests by garment factory workers in the country.
The rise is expected to be sharp enough to clear up these issues, Fazlul
Hoque, president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association
He said: "The agreement brings balance between the demands of workers, factory owners, Government and
However, labor rights groups have already expressed their disappointment with the announcement, having aimed
Garment factory owners are likely to see production costs rise 7% after the increase, and Hoque said that retailers
need to absorb some of this.
Hoque added: "The three-month cushion period will give some breathing space for owners to renegotiate with their
buyers. Buyers should come forward to spend more to account for these extra wages too."
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3000 Cambodia Workers Strike
Clashes between more than 100 armed police officers and
3,000 garment workers in Cambodia have left nine women injured.
It follows a week of strikes at a Malaysian-owned factory that produces goods for brands including Adidas, Puma and
Workers are protesting against the suspension of a local union official.
An official of the local Free Trade Union (FTU) announced the injuries, which occurred near the outskirts of Phnom
Penh capital, but local police official insisted there had been no injuries and the operation had gone smoothly.
On July 8, the Cambodian government, employers in the sector and five largely pro-government unions agreed an
increase in the minimum wage from October 1, persuading garment workers led by the FTU to halt planned strike
action at that time.
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Clothing Origin Scam
Investigators have recouped EUR30m from a Chinese clothes rules of origin export scam, says a report from European
Union (EU) anti-fraud agency OLAF.
An OLAF probe of Bangladesh clothing origin certificates issued since 2005 showed “hundreds of thousands” were
false – and in fact cargoes had come from China.
“The scale of the problem was much larger than thought, involving hundreds of importers across most EU member
states,” said OLAF.
The fraud was to help exporters evade EU import controls on Chinese goods
re-imposed temporarily in 2005, after their abolition in 2004 had led to a surge in China
As a least-developed country, Bangladeshi exports get privileged often duty-free access to EU markets, so
customs authorities recovered around EUR30m in duties due for goods actually made in China.
The probe was sparked, said the report, when the reintroduction of China export quotas prompted a “sharp
drop in [EU] imports from China but a corresponding spike in imports from Bangladesh”, so that “the scale of the
imports did not match the manufacturing capacity of the country.”
CK Implements New AR
Technology in Ads
A new billboard in downtown New York is giving the world a sneak peak into marketing tactics of the future.
To the naked eye, the billboard looks like a giant red paint blotch, but, when viewed through the eyes of certain cellphone cameras, it becomes an oversized video advertisement for Calvin Klein underwear, complete with scantily clad models.
Called augmented reality, or AR, the technology uses the camera on a cellphone and a small downloadable application, or app, to read computer code imbedded in the ad. It then replaces that code with a website, video or interactive video game.
For the Calvin Klein advertisement, the red blotch leads consumers back to a video of models romping in their underwear, superimposed on the camera screen showing the strange-looking billboard.
“We are going to be seeing more of this,” said Matt Thomson, assistant professor at the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario in London. “Marketers are always looking for ways to get through the clutter, and this is a way for them to cut through the clutter. That medium generates a type of cool for consumers who can see the message.”
People wanting to see the animated billboard ad must stop and make an effort to see it, a guarantee to Calvin Klein that its advertisement works.
“It reminds me of Minority Report. This is basically that being delivered,” Thomson said.
In the 2002 film Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise, the movie’s main character walks into a GAP store where he is welcomed by a hologram that determines his identity, asks him how he is doing and inquires about whether he is enjoying the tank tops he purchased the last time he was in the store.
Thomson believes that, with the introduction of new AR technologies, the circle of life imitating art is complete. He believes it won’t be long before ads will tap into other features on a cellular phone, such as GPS systems, to tell consumers where the nearest store carrying Calvin Klein clothes can be found and inform them of timed specials.
“Linking to the sales and stores and those types of things, 10 years from now that is going to be expected,” Thomson said.
A spokesperson for Calvin Klein said the company decided to use AR technology to jump ahead of competitors and engage consumers in a new way.
The billboards follow a two-page AR advertisement that the company placed in men’s fashion magazine GQ in April. The advertisement, which ran in 12 countries including Canada, looked like any fashion ad to the naked eye. It featured a model with a large red “X” meant to denote the company’s new line of underwear, across one of the pages. However, when a cellphone camera was turned on the page, hidden code within the image allowed the screen on the phone to display a box that seemingly floated out of the image. Tilting the phone back and forth caused the box to roll around on the screen. Each side of the box had a different model, and tilting the phone on one side caused a video with that model to begin moving.
“We wanted to make a powerful statement,” Tom Murray, president and chief executive of Calvin Klein Inc., said in a statement about the ad campaign. “The resulting campaign is provocative, engaging and fun, and we feel that using innovative programs like these … will resonate successfully with our consumer globally.”
Calvin Klein may be among the first out the gate to use the new technology, but others are crafting similar campaigns.
According to studies released by Juniper Research, the AR market will be worth $732 million U.S. by 2014, a huge jump from less then $2 million U.S. today.
In less then four years, it is expected that more than 350 million cellular phones will be AR-enabled. Currently the iPhone and a handful of Android
cellphones, the operating system created by Google, are the only phones on the market capable of displaying AR ads.
It’s not just the advertising industry that is looking into using AR, though.
Greeting card giant Hallmark is releasing a line of AR-enabled cards that display special 3D animated images when viewed through a camera.
Irish startup iDisrupt has developed an AR app for iPhone that uses the camera to help a golfer find a lost ball. By moving the phone’s camera back and forth over the ground, the app will look for the golfer’s ball and highlight it on screen as soon as its found.
The Museum of London has released another AR app called Streetmuseum that leads people on a walk around the city. The app highlights various spots of interest and will overlay historical photographs over the area, showing users what that spot looked like in the past.
“To me, this is all really exciting,” said Anind Dey, assistant professor in the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. “I see a lot of work going on that is letting us do some really cool stuff that we couldn’t do before.”
Dey is one of the Carnegie Mellon researchers involved in creating an AR-enabled windshield that can map out the roadway during whiteout or extreme fog conditions, helping the driver stay on the road. The windshield can also highlight upcoming stop signs and changes in the speed limit and display it all on the windshield, using a laser projection display.
The project is being backed by General Motors Corp. Dey said the windshield could become a feature in commercial automobiles within the next six to eight years.
“People have been working on augmented reality since long before I got into it, but the challenge has always been that it cost too much,” Dey said.
“The combination of the drop in price and the miniaturization of the technology is leading to this huge growth in mobile augmented reality.”
Miscellaneous Tariff Bill
Manufacturers and apparel importers have both praised a new act which selectively reduces import tariffs to help
cut input costs for US companies.
The American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) and the American Apparel & Footwear Association
(AAFA) have found rare common ground in welcoming the passage of HR 4380, the US Manufacturing Enhancement Act.
The act, also known as the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), combines dozens of individual bills that
temporarily suspend duties on certain imported goods.
The aim is to cut costs for US companies by reducing duty levels on materials either not made domestically, or
where there is no direct US competition.
AMTAC quoted as an example provisions for a significant reduction in costs associated with various synthetic,
acrylic and rayon staple fibres and filaments – a long-standing issue for US manufacturers.
The act, passed by the US House of Representatives, was given a swift passage since its predecessor had expired
on January 1, this year, leading to an increase in production costs for US companies emerging from
AMTAC executive director Auggie Tantillo described the MTB as “a vital cost reduction measure for many US
manufacturers that boosts jobs and domestic production”.
The AAFA calculates that nearly 50 provisions in the act will directly benefit the US textile, apparel and
“It is clear our economy is on the verge of recovery,” said AAFA president and CEO Kevin Burke.
“Opportunities stemming from the US Manufacturing Enhancement Act could be just the boost our economy needs
to start creating and sustaining jobs here at home, while providing cost-saving benefits to hard-working American
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