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Closes 150 Stores
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June 1, 2005
Women's Wear Journal
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Bush Urges China to
Follow WTO Rules
US President George W. Bush urged China to abide by the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), saying Beijing agreed to adhere to the bloc's rules when it gained WTO membership.
"When it joined the WTO China also agreed to the rules of International Trade and it is in the interests of both China and the United States for China to abide by them," Bush said.
The US president was speaking at a White House ceremony at which the new US Trade Representative Rob Portman was sworn into office.
One priority of the US administration "is to ensure that those who sign trade agreements live up to their terms."
Bush said Portman "will work to ensure that China stops the piracy of US intellectual property and lifting the barriers that are keeping our goods and services out of China."
The comments came amid increasing tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade and currency issues.
Washington re-imposed quotes on some Chinese textiles under a provision of China's WTO accession agreement. And US officials have been stepping up the pressure on China to ease its currency peg, which Washington claims distorts global trade.
But Bush said trade with China is generally positive for both sides.
"China membership in the World Trade Organization has been a good thing for America. Our exports to China have improved 81% since China entered the WTO," Bush said.
Beijing said a US decision to impose quotas on three types of Chinese textile imports is against its own interests and will end up hurting foreign-invested companies in China.
The US government's Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) had said it was re-imposing quotas on Chinese-made cotton knit shirts and blouses, cotton trousers, and cotton- and man-made
fiber underwear, in order to curb a flood of imports.
Wet Seal Closes 150 Stores
Specialty apparel retailer The Wet Seal Inc reported a narrowed first-quarter loss and states it has shut about 150 stores in its strategy to become profitable.
The Wet Seal’s first-quarter net loss from continuing operations was $8.6 million compared to a net loss of $15.6m in the same period last year.
A $5.2m charge connected to the store closures was included in this year’s loss.
First-quarter net sales rose 3.9% to $103.8m compared with net sales of $99.9m a year ago, on a same-store rise of 29.8% compared with a 17.2% decrease last year.
The Wet Seal Inc is a leading specialty retailer of fashionable and contemporary apparel and accessory items, currently operating a total of 398 stores in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The Accused Silk Exporters
Approximately 20 leading Chinese silk exporters are campaigning against an Indian anti-dumping filing, according to reports by Chinese state media.
The businesses, whose trade accounts for 80% of China’s silk fabric shipments to India, are battling the US$180 million case despite their chances of succeeding being slight.
Representatives for the companies and lawyers set out strategies to tackle the issue at a meeting in Hangzhou yesterday that was attended by over 30 exporters.
Chinese companies have approximately a month left to establish their defense, Wang was reported as saying.
The anti-dumping accusation case involves 100 exporters and products worth US$180m.
A salesclerk arranges lingerie display at a shop in Beijing, China.
China Removes Export Tariffs
China will remove export tariffs on 81 categories of textiles that were introduced at the start of 2005 and
will also cancel tariff increases on 74 products planned to start Wednesday, according to the Chinese Ministry
The unexplained announcement is a turnaround from China’s pledge to push up tariffs on 74 products
starting June 1.
China imposed duties on a range of textile goods on January 1, in an attempt to prevent the US and the EU
from introducing protectionist measures to stop a surge in cheap exports after global trade quotas ended
at the start of 2005.
However, the US has already imposed a set of quotas on a range of textile categories, while the EU is still in
negotiations with China over the situation.
China says it is still seeking a solid conclusion to trade feuds with the US
and the EU, and believes that restrictive action so far taken by the two parties is
From China to Vietnam
The Ho Chi Minh City Garment, Textile, Embroidery and Knitting Association has been informed by a number of Japanese textile and garment importers that they plan to shift orders from China to Vietnam.
Vietnamese traders believe that Japan is a possible market to tap into, especially when it has joined the World Trade
According to president of the Vietnam Garment and Textile Association, Le Quoc An, Vietnam has the potential to see earnings soar to over US$1 billion from exports if it secures 10% of Japanese companies' orders currently allocated to China.
The association says it is launching strategies to attract investment into the sector by Japanese companies.
Pure Silk Identified by Mark
Silk Mark Organization of India has launched a new marking system called ‘Silk Mark’ to identify pure silk goods.
The mark appears as a hologram on items made of pure and natural silk to ensure its quality, its key aim being to allow Indian silk to gain more appreciation overseas.
71 traders and silk producers have already joined the organization, which is sponsored by Central Silk Board, Ministry of Textiles
Saks Sued For Illicit
Payments By Ex-Licensee
US retailer Saks Inc, which announced the sacking of three senior executives in connection with illicit markdowns, is being sued by a former licensee for the Oscar de la Renta brand for improperly collecting vendor allowances.
Saks, which is also being probed by the Securities and Exchange Commission for similar charges, is being accused by International Design Concepts LLC of breach of contract and fraud, among other charges, for keeping vendor payments that were due.
Saks admitted last week that it had illicitly collected approximately $20 million worth of markdown allowances from 1999 to 2003. However, International Design accuses the retailer of retaining allowances as long ago as 1996.
The lawsuit says that Saks drove Apparel Group International - the de la Renta licensee which International Design has now bought - out of business in 2004 by imposing over $31m in penalties against it for purportedly short shipments, late deliveries of goods, packaging and marking faults and discounted merchandise from 1996 to 2003. The company alleges that a large proportion of, if not the total of penalties, were improperly withheld.
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Selfridges Banned Fur Goods
Leading luxury department store chain Selfridges has banned all fur goods from its shops.
The chain, one of few department stores still selling fur, sent an e-mail to animal rights groups announcing its decision after an onslaught of
demonstrations and campaigning by groups such as The Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade.
Selfridges stated in the e-mail that it had "reviewed its policy on fur and will no longer be selling any fur products".
And that: "This will come into force with immediate effect. The policy revision was made after customer feedback and a decline in demand for fur- related products."
Although the business shut its specialist fur section back in 1990, it continued to sell goods such as rabbit fur-trimmed clothing in its stores.
A number of other retailers including high-fashion chains Mango and Zara and outdoor specialty retailer Snow and Rock have committed to stop selling fur during the past year.
Upmarket clothing chain Joseph, which has subsidiaries within Selfridges, is a current target for anti-rights protesters.
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