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EU to Impose Trade Sanctions on Belarus
Preliminary Antidumping Duties
Bangkok Fashion City Project Canceled
$6M Fake Fashion Seized
Sales on Sheer Pantyhose Slide
Buyers' Best Sellers
Fredrick's Dismantles Museum
Cortefiel Rejects CIE Claims
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January 1, 2007
Women's Wear Journal
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EU to Impose Trade
Sanctions on Belarus
The European Union announced it plans to impose an annual EUR400m (US$529m) of trade sanctions on Belarusian exports from mid-2007
because of the country’s poor record for human rights, more specifically - worker rights.
Belarus, an ex-Soviet country, would be only the second country to be subjected to such a sanction – the first being Myanmar (previously
known as Burma).
A statement from the European Commission explained it was planning to stop trade concessions because of Belarus’ "serious and systematic
violations of core labor rights".
The violations include flouting the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
The decision will mean tariffs on exports such as textiles and wood unless Belarus shows it has done enough to turn things around by next
The country has been given six months to address the issues in order to hold onto its System of Preferences (GSP) preferential market
access to the EU.
At the moment, the country enjoys reduced GSP tariffs on 12.3% of its exports to EU markets.
Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Greece and Cyprus have all joined Belarus in voicing concerns over the plan, which they argue could cost
hundreds of thousands of jobs. Critics have also suggested Belarus has already made progress in improving its human rights record.
The US Department of Commerce has announced it will impose
preliminary antidumping duties ranging from 4.39% to 44.30% on certain polyester staple
fiber (PSF) imports from China.
Three manufacturers have been singled out for the duties in the preliminary determination: Cixi Jiangnan Chemical Fibers, which will
be subject to duties of 15.30%, Far Eastern Industries Shanghai, which will face duties of 10.45% and Ningbo Dafa Chemical Fibers,
which will see 4.39% duties.
US importers will now have to post a bond or cash deposit in the amount for the duties, pending a final determination and announcement
of final duty levels, which is set to happen in May 2007.
"Today's announcement by the Commerce Department signals a return of fair pricing and competition in the marketplace," said Paul C
Rosenthal, lead counsel for the duties petitioners and managing partner of Kelley Drye Collier Shannon in Washington, DC.
Rosenthal added that final antidumping duty margins were expected to be higher.
The antidumping duties probe started in June after American producers DAK Americas, Nan Ya Plastics Corp and Wellman filed a petition with
the International Trade Commission and Department of Commerce.
Bangkok Fashion City
Thailand’s Ministry of Industry has decided to scrap its Bangkok
Fashion City project because it has failed to add value to the industry.
"Our study showed that all of the budget (for Bangkok Fashion City) had been spent to promote Thailand's image as a regional hub for
businesses related to fashion rather than focusing on the Kingdom's manufacturing potential, particularly in small and medium-sized
enterprises," Deputy Industry Minister Piyabutr Cholvijarn said.
Moreover, although a THB1.53bn budget was allocated to nine sub-projects, only six of these have been completed.
Instead of the Fashion City, the Ministry said it will start a new project aimed at boosting the number of Thai designers. It has given
the go-ahead for a budget for this.
Under the new plan, a budget will be given to the Office of Small and Medium Entrepreneur Promotion to focus on increasing the productivity
of sectors including garments, leather and jewelry.
$6M of Fake Fashion Seized
The Department of Homeland Security agents has intercepted more than
US$6m worth of fake garments and shoes bearing labels such as Nike, Sean Jean and Lacoste.
Citing a federal complaint filed by US Attorney Michael J Garcia, the report said four people were arrested in connection with the
The apparel industry "is increasingly threatened by counterfeiters who sell fake trademarked goods to sometimes unwitting customers,"
Garcia said in a statement.
Other pirated trademarks included Route 66, Baby Phat, Pepe and Rocawear.
Some jeans that would have cost about $300 had they been original were retailing for as little as $60.
4/24 Photographed by
Greece Ordered to Pay
The European Commission has ordered Greece to pay back EUR37.4m
(US$49m) to European Union coffers that Brussels says have been misspent on cotton production subsidies.
The Commission said Greece had failed to stage adequate spending checks, including spot checks, and had not
penalized discrepancies that were nonetheless discovered via regional spending assessments.
Katunayake Accused of Environmental & Social
Sri Lanka’s biggest free-trade zone in Katunayake, which supplies
many international clothing brands, has been accused of social and environmental damage.
The Katunayake trade zone provides jobs for around 50,000 garment workers but the local authority for the area says the large influx of
labour for garment factories is an unbearable strain on the town’s limited public facilities such as water, sanitation and electricity.
"The zone and the companies don’t pay to maintain any public facilities. So we have to spend on everything from cleaning up the
increased garbage to increased demand for water, electricity, sewerage, street lighting and maintaining roads," said Dinal
Perera, chairman of the Katunayake-Seeduwa Urban Council.
The Urban Council said the Katunayake export processing zone also has harmful social and environmental impacts.
"We are seeing very bad deterioration of moral values and increased crime in this area because of the free-trade zone. There are also
environmental problems because some garment washing plants are releasing water
without treating it properly," said Perera.
"The only benefit from the zone is the boarding fees earned from the garment workers. The social and environmental damages are much
The Urban Council is now petitioning the central government for assistance to control the problems.
Increase in Web-Based
Fashion trade shows London Edge and London Central say they are
seeing an upsurge in web-based buyers wanting fashion to become even faster.
Companies have been turning to the shows to track down short-order fashion trends that can be made available to online customers.
Londonedge buyer Les Fry, from online retailer in-arcadia.com, said: "Since London Edge in September we’ve seen a 100% growth in our
"London Edge has introduced us to suppliers that have given us a groundbreaking year on our internet site."
IMRG, the industry body for global e-retailing, reported a 40% rise in internet spending during the first half of 2006 and Asos.com
recently revealed a 93% rise in sales from April to September.
The clothing industry has been generally slow in catching on to online retailing, unlike producers of computer games, CDs and DVDs,
which have all been aggressively pursuing the market for years.
The next season of London Edge and London Central takes place between February
4 - 6, 2007.
Milan Bans Unhealthy Models
Fashion show organizers have formally banned models with a body mass
index of less than 18.5 and models under 16 years of age from all future Milan fashion shows.
The agreement, backed by the government, comes a month after a Brazilian model died from the eating disorder anorexia.
In addition, courses on healthy eating and exercise will be available to models as part of the deal, which is aimed at encouraging a
variety of sizes of models instead of just the super-skinny.
The deal aims to show young people "the importance of positive models of living," said Milan mayor Letizia
A joint statement from Italy's Fashion Council and the country’s government said: "Many women affected by eating disorders had started
dieting to attain the figures of catwalk models and cover girls."
The two parties are expected to sign a broader manifesto on the issue of model sizes and ages this week.
Spain has already barred models below a certain weight from fashion shows in Madrid and Brazil has launched a campaign to ban underage
and underweight models.
Skandal Uses 3D Body Scanner
The Skandal fashion house in Almaty, Kazakhstan, has become the first
company in Central Asia to use a 3D body scanner linked to European manufacturers via the Retailor software platform.
Skandal opened its latest store in November selling mass-produced, tailored men’s wear and ladies’ wear. The retailer in Kazakhstan is
linked to German manufacturers via the Retailor platform from Human Solutions and can transmit all the necessary data online.
Initial collections are available from Odermark and Scabal, but Wahl, Rieder and Oktavia are also in the pipeline.
Using the Retailor Shop 3D solution, a 3D body scanner takes customers’ measurements digitally.
The Retailor program also helps the customer with his or her decisions – from basic questions like which cloth or cut to details
like the choice of buttons. All data is transmitted online to the manufacturer.
Eugen Drehband, founder and managing director of Skandal, says: “Since we work with various manufacturers, it’s ideal for us to have
just one platform for processing all the procedures.”
Anton Preiß, sales manager at Human Solutions, points out that the software is also helping “German manufacturers to open up new markets
for their products on a global scale.”
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