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US Renews ATPA
Chinese Export Subsidies Ended
Fashion Chains Urged to Ban Uzbek Cotton
Hot Tuna UK & EU Sales Up
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January 1, 2010
The McPete Sez Lingerie Newsletter & Women's
US Renews ATPA
The US House of Representatives has renewed two important trade
preference programs for one year, in a move that now paves the way for the US Senate to cast its vote before the benefits expire at the
end of this month.
Without the Generalized System of Preferences and the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), US duties on thousands of goods would rise as
of January 1.
US clothing importers who depend on the trade benefits say fears they might come to an end have already adversely affected sourcing
patterns, and shifted production out of the region.
"When demands for Andean sourced apparel dries up, so too does demand for US yarn and fabric exports," says Kevin Burke, president and CEO
of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA).
US apparel imports from the Andean region that enter the US duty-free under this
program use US cotton, yarns, and fabrics.
In 2008 alone, US cotton exports to the region totaled almost $150m, while US yarn and fabric exports to the region were worth $160m.
"I now urge the US Senate to vote on these extensions so that President Obama can sign them before those in US apparel and footwear
industry who source in these covered regions experience any further business disruptions," Burke said.
"Disruptions at this delicate juncture will only erode the recovery our industry has started to make since the recession began."
Industry executives also point out that keeping the program in place for an extra year provides time for the Peru Free Trade
Agreement (FTA), which is already in force, to become fully viable.
A model presents Gold
Diva Sexy Dress
by Roma Costume at the
International Lingerie Fashion Show in Las Vegas.
Photo by Jerome Hamilton.
Chinese Export Subsidies
The Chinese government has agreed to end a range of subsidies that
help boost sales of Chinese-branded merchandise around the world - including apparel and textiles - rather than face a fight with the US
at the World Trade Organization.
In a decision announced on Friday, December 18, the office of the US Trade Representative said the deal marks the end of "numerous
subsidies we identified as prohibited under WTO rules."
The agreement between Washington and Beijing brings to a close legal action begun by the US at the WTO last December.
In its case, the US said it had identified more than 90 official measures "providing what appeared to be WTO-inconsistent financial
These included cash grant rewards for exporting, preferential loans for exporters, research and development funding to develop new
products for export, and payments to lower the cost of export credit insurance.
The subsidies, the US said, were tied to exports, "giving an unfair competitive advantage to Chinese products and denying US
manufacturers the chance to compete fairly with them."
Key to the case were three central government initiatives promoting famous Chinese brand merchandise - the 'Famous Export Brand'
initiative, the 'China World Top Brand' initiative, and the 'China Name Brand Products' initiative.
But the US also identified several other subsidy programs that appeared to benefit Chinese exports - including textiles -
"regardless of whether they were famous brands."
US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said: "The termination of the subsidies will level the playing field for American workers in a wide
range of manufacturing and export sectors."
Tia Lyn's NY Fashion Show with beautiful models of ALL SIZES!
EC Recommends Sri Lanka Suspended from GSP+ Status
The European Commission (EC) has made a long-awaited decision to
temporarily suspend preferential trade terms for Sri Lanka because of its poor human-rights record.
The withdrawal of the GSP+ (Generalized System of Preferences) benefits, which have given the country's apparel exports zero duty
access to the EU since 2005, could mean exporters now have to pay tens of millions of euros in additional duties.
The end of preferences would also mean exports revert to a duty of up to 9.6% - effectively a 9.6% price hike - which is a blow most firms
would find hard to take.
Under EC rules, plans for the temporary withdrawal of the GSP+ benefits will now be submitted to the Member Council, which then has
two months to vote on the proposal.
If the withdrawal of benefits is recommended, it will come into force six months after this.
Significantly, this means Sri Lanka won't lose the status until late June at the earliest - so no garments currently in production or
under negotiation will have their duty concession withdrawn.
The Commission also stresses that if "the reasons justifying the temporary withdrawal no longer prevail," then it "may decide to
revisit the decision."
It adds the "situation should therefore be kept under review, to enable the re-establishment of
GSP+ benefits for products originating in Sri Lanka if the failings of effective implementation identified during the investigation are
Which means there is still a small glimmer of hope that the Commission could recommend Sri Lanka's GSP+ status is reinstated at
some point in the current beneficiary period, which runs until December 31, 2011.
Concerns Over Cambodia's
Although working conditions in Cambodian garment factories continue
to improve, there are still concerns over restrictions on workers' rights and lingering discrimination.
The study from the United Nations International Labor Organization (ILO), assesses compliance with Cambodian
labor law and international labor standards.
The good news is that it found generally high levels of conformity despite increased pressure on the clothing industry from the current
economic crisis - which has led the closure of 70 factories and the shedding of 70,000 jobs in the country.
But the report also raises some unease over the drop in the proportion of factories whose workers belong to a trade union.
According to the 'Synthesis Report on Working Conditions in Cambodia's Garment Sector' this figure is down by 8% from its last
survey, to about 76% of factories monitored.
The percentage of factories that discriminated against workers, usually based on gender, is slightly down but still remains at 10% of
the 172 businesses monitored.
One per cent of factories is said to engage in anti-union discrimination and 3% interfere with workers' rights to freedom of
The report noted that there is now full compliance with minimum wage requirements for regular workers - up from 99%.
But there is no change for casual workers, with 11% of factories employing such staff failing to meet minimum pay standards.
ILO said that now more than ever, the industry needs to focus on increasing productivity and maintaining "industrial peace" to ensure
continued success in the garment sector.
A model presents Hippy
Chick by Eldorado
with platform boots from Ellie
Shoes at the
International Lingerie Fashion Show in Las Vegas.
Photo by Jerome Hamilton.
Fashion Chains Urged to Ban
Anti-slavery campaigners are urging two high street fashion retailers
to stop selling clothes made with cotton which may have been picked by forced child
Anti-Slavery International and the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) claim both H&M and Zara source garments from Beximco Textimes
(Bextex) in Bangladesh, which has admitted it uses cotton from Uzbekistan - where children as young as 10 harvest the raw material.
The campaigners are now calling on retailers to put in place systems to begin to track and trace the origin of the cotton in their
Without implementing such measures a commitment to ban the use of Uzbek cotton becomes virtually meaningless, they say.
It is thought that around half of all cotton in Uzbekistan is still picked by forced child
labor, despite assurances from the country's government that this practice was outlawed in 2008.
The action groups, however, claim they have images of children picking cotton taken secretly during Uzbekistan's 2009 cotton
harvest, which ended at the beginning of December.
Each year, the Uzbekistan government closes schools and forces more than 200,000 school children into the cotton fields during the
three-month long harvest.
Many retailers, including Wal-Mart, Gap and Nike have put in place a ban on Uzbek cotton because of the known use of child slavery in the
Anti-Slavery now wants other companies to follow suit, and ban the use of Uzbek cotton until forced
labor has been eradicated from the production process.
"The last thing the British public want to do when they go and buy Christmas jumpers or the usual pair of socks for their loved ones is
to be supporting child slavery," said Joanna Ewart-James, Anti-Slavery International's supply chain
"It is unacceptable that the cotton used to make these products could be picked by forced child
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