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India & Russia Sign Pact
India Faces Labor Shortage
Mass Fainting in Cambodia
Nicaragua to Boost Cotton Production
THA Develops New Sizing Forms
J. Valentine, Inc. Breaking
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July 1, 2011
Issue #292 The
McPete Sez Lingerie Newsletter & Women's
India & Russia Sign Pact
India and Russia have signed a pact to increase investment and trade in the textile industries of both countries.
Among its goals are boosting textile manufacturing in India and Russia, promoting textile trade between the two countries,
participating in fairs and exhibitions, and sharing technology and know-how in textile manufacturing and processing.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed to this effect the end of June by the Apparel Export Promotion Council of
India (AEPC) and Russian Union of Entrepreneurs of Textiles and Light Industry.
Part of the pact also involves setting up a four-member Textile Communication Committee to follow up on its decisions.
India's Ambassador to Russia, Ajai Malhotra, said the deal "formalizes a mutual desire between Indian and Russian
business partners to boost trade and investment cooperation in apparel and textiles."
He added that there was immense scope to increase Indian garment exports to Russia. Of the Indian apparel industry's
annual exports of US$11bn, just $120m worth was exported to Russia in 2010 - around 2% of Russia's garment imports.
"The signing of the MOU and understandings reached here between the partners imply that this figure would be enhanced
several-fold in the years ahead," he said.
SAVE Act Re-introduced
A bill giving some Philippine-made apparel duty-free access to
the United States has been re-introduced in the US Senate, in a move that supporters believe “provides clear and
unmistakable benefits for workers in the United States and the Philippines.”
The Save Our Industries Act or SAVE Act follows similar legislation which was filed in the US Senate last year but was
not taken up by Congress.
“By eliminating duties on apparel products made of US fabric, the Philippines has a meaningful opportunity to grow its
apparel industry while supporting the US textile industry,” notes Kevin Burke, president and CEO of the American Apparel &
The SAVE Act represents the first trade-enhancing legislation between the United States and the Philippines since 1974.
Its advocates claim the legislation would expand textile and apparel trade, encourage economic development in the
Philippines, and strongly protect against abusive trans-shipment practices through strict customs enforcement.
The Act would grant duty-free treatment to garments wholly assembled in the Philippines, providing they are made from
US-made materials such as yarn and cotton. US yarns and fabrics would also be granted duty-free entry to the
The proposed measure could create some 200,000 jobs in the Philippines – as well as helping US textile exports to the
Philippines grow from US$13.5m in 2009 to US$500m in five years.
However, critics say the bill fails to deliver for the US textile industry because it contains special exceptions
allowing duty-free access for non-US fabric.
For example, linings, narrow elastic fabrics, sewing thread, and pocketing, could come from any source; and a de minimis
provision allows for up to 10% of the fiber or yarn (except for elastomeric yarn) in the fabric to be foreign.
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India Faces Labor Shortage
An industry body is calling for a higher wages and a skills
development program to encourage more workers into the Indian textile and clothing industry amid fears the sector is
facing a labor shortage.
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) warns the industry is facing an "immense" challenge
in finding additional workers to fulfill its production requirements, since
many are moving to well-paying jobs in other fast-growing sectors or back home in rural areas.
The "crisis-like" situation comes at a time when India is its losing competitive edge in export markets due to rising input
costs amid stiff competition from neighboring nations like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and China.
Likewise, major importers of textiles and garments - the European Union and the United States - are still mired in
recession and potential buyers are unwilling to pay more for their garments.
A survey carried out by the chamber last week backs its findings, with around 45% of firms using just 50-60% of their
production capacity due to the labor shortages.
Around 30% claim their margins are shrinking as they are unable to meet sales targets, and 10% are considering moving
production units to interior areas of the country where workers are available at low wages.
The current workforce in the Indian textile and clothing industry is around 35m with an equal number employed in allied
industries. This should move up to 47m by 2015, including 5m skilled workers and 2m technical and other personnel, if
growth projections are to be met.
Most workers earning INR7,000 (US$156) a month are migrants, moving from the agricultural sector to cities after the sowing
season for half of the year and returning to their villages when the harvest season starts.
But the government's successful social sector schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
(MGNREGA) is discouraging labor migration from rural to urban areas. The MGNREGA guarantees 100 days of wage-employment in
a financial year.
"There is a rampant shortage of workers in all segments of textile value chain that begins from cotton crop and leads to
branding and retailing," said ASSOCHAM secretary general Mr DS Rawat.
"The industry needs to pay higher wages, provide health insurance and ensure that factories comply with
internationally acceptable standards."
He added that the textile and clothing industry will not be able to upgrade its technology fast enough and will find it
difficult to survive in export and domestic markets unless a massive skill development
program is launched.
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Mass Fainting in Cambodia
Garment workers in Cambodia have fallen ill in a further report of mass fainting in the country.
Around 250 female workers at King Fashion factory in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh fainted in mid June, because
of bad working conditions, according to Chea Mony, president of Free Trade Union.
Mony said about 150 workers fainted on Wednesday June 15, and that the number could rise as some workers were transported to
hospital by family and friends.
This was followed by another mass fainting of 100 people on Thursday morning, a local police official, told the media.
The workers suspected that chemical odors from cotton and bad quality water they drank in the factory were to blame.
A mass fainting of 101 workers, making sportswear for Puma at Heuy Chuen Corp, was reported in April. A subsequent
investigation by Puma diagnosed hypoglycemia, a lower than normal levels of blood glucose.
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Codes of Conduct Updated
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) has enhanced its Workplace Code of Conduct and Compliance Benchmarks, which set out the
standards that companies such as Nike, Adidas and H&M are required to apply in factories that supply their products.
The changes are intended to strengthen workers' rights, with six out of nine elements of the adopted code are either new or
revised, in areas ranging from hours of work and compensation to health, safety and environment.
One feature of the enhanced FLA Code is an entirely new ‘Employment Relationship’ element that reinforces the
employer's accountability to fair labor standards throughout the employment lifecycle.
“The FLA Workplace Code of Conduct has helped businesses, NGOs and universities protect workers' rights and improve working
conditions throughout the world since its development in 1997,” says Kathryn "Kitty" Higgins, recently-appointed FLA
board chair and former Deputy Secretary of Labor.
“But the time had come to revise and strengthen the Code to reflect experiences since its initial adoption and
developments in the field of corporate social responsibility.”
The Code of Conduct is based on international labour and human rights standards – primarily Conventions of the International
Labor Organization (ILO) – and prohibits discrimination, the use of child or forced labour, and harassment or abuse.
It also establishes requirements related to health and safety; freedom of association and collective bargaining; wages and
benefits; hours of work; and overtime compensation.
Among the latest enhancements are:
Requirements to establish human resource management policies and procedures along the entire factory employment lifecycle,
from recruitment and hiring to terms and conditions of employment, administration of compensation, work rules and
discipline, and termination and retrenchment.
A limit for regular weekly hours of work.
A requirement that employers, working with the FLA, take appropriate actions that seek to progressively realise a level
of compensation that meets workers' basic needs and provides some discretionary income.
Mitigation of negative impacts that the workplace has on the environment.
A ban on the use or threat of psychological abuse.
“As companies continue to grow and rely on diverse supply chains, it is vital that they have the systems in place and
the tools they need to protect workers,” adds FLA president and CEO, Auret van Heerden. “The ground-breaking new elements
in the revised code will help make this a reality.”
Currently, 32 participating companies and 14 suppliers are affiliated with the FLA, and nearly 200 US and Canadian
colleges and universities have brought more than 3,000 collegiate licensees into the FLA program.
The FLA works with affiliates to ensure they adhere to the Code, and conducts due diligence through unannounced factory
visits. It also provides training and resources to ensure sustainable compliance.
The revised Code was developed over a two-year period, and a side-by-side comparison with the 1997 Code can be seen at
Nicaragua to Boost Cotton
Nicaragua is planning to being a cotton production project, in
the second half of 2011, in the country's north west region as part of efforts to boost the growth of the country's textile
and apparel sector.
The project will be led by the government, investment promotion agency ProNicaragua, the National Association of
Textiles and Apparel (ANITEC) and Brazilian investors.
The overall goal is to lower the cost of garment production, make Nicaragua's textile industry more sustainable through the
supply of local raw materials, and add value by contributing to the vertical integration of the textile and apparel
During the first phase of the project, private producers will plant around 1,609 acres of cotton in order to observe the
crop's performance, seed resistance, and determine the best seeds for the venture.
The second phase will expand production to 17,241 acres during a period of five to seven years, with a view to supplying raw
material to domestic textile and apparel companies.
"We must identify the challenges of the country's industry in order to work on improving its competitiveness and fostering
its growth, with the ultimate goal of attracting quality investments to this industry and creating more employment,"
explains Javier Chamorro Rubiales, executive director of ProNicaragua.
Cotton production "would allow us to reduce the purchase of raw materials overseas, lower costs and also take advantage of
good crop prices in international markets," adds Dean Garcia, executive director of ANITEC.
'The Science of Shaping'
Fibre producer Invista is extending its Lycra fabric
certification program, dubbed The Science of Shaping, at the Mode City trade show in Paris this month.
The scheme, first introduced at Mode City in September last year, has become a more dedicated application within the
intimate apparel segment, also expanding into swimwear for the first time.
This year’s version of the program features a wider selection of materials, from lace and lightweight fabrics to
seamless garment construction technology.
“A break into swimwear is a natural progression for the brand, as we extend our science of shaping insights to other areas of
the textile industry,” said Ninabeth Sowell, global marketing director of the intimate apparel and swimwear segment for
Primark Expose 'Faked'
Primark said it has been "vindicated" by the conclusions A BBC documentary that showed children making garments for
Primark "more likely than not" used certain fake footage, according to the media
organization's complaints panel.
The BBC Trust's Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) has directed the BBC's Panorama
program to make an on-air apology about the documentary 'Primark: On the Rack'.
The exposé, aired in June 2008, included footage of three boys testing the stitching of Primark garments in Bangalore, which
was deemed unlikely to be authentic by the Trust.
It follows complaints by Primark, leading the ESC to examine tapes, emails and witness evidence from the location.
"The ESC has concluded that, although it was not able to say beyond reasonable doubt, it was more likely than not that the
Bangalore footage was not genuine," the committee said.
Primark has described the findings as "extraordinary", saying the documentary was "based on fabrication and was littered
with poor journalistic practices".
However, the ESC said despite its failings, the program had still found evidence elsewhere that Primark was contravening
its own ethical guidelines.
Primark said it did not accept other footage - of a boy and a girl in a refugee camp - as genuine either, but did not intend
to pursue the matter. It said there was no other footage of children working on Primark garments.
The retailer said it had been vindicated after three years and several investigations into the matter.
The Primark spokesperson added: "Sensationalizing these issues by the use of fabricated journalism harms the very people
whose lives retailers, trade unions and NGOs are all working to improve.
"Panorama can be a fine maker of documentaries and, at its best, it is to be applauded, but the
program carries responsibilities which were disregarded."
Meanwhile, an apology will be broadcast on BBC One at the beginning or end of a forthcoming Panorama
program, the ESC added. An apology will also run on the Panorama website.
The ESC has requested that the BBC Executive considers its position in connection with a Royal Television Society Award
given to the program in 2009.
Somebody has said there are only two kinds of people in the
There are those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good
And there are those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good
Lord, it's morning."
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