Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act
of 2013 Moves to combat government-led manipulation of exchange rates have been welcomed by pressure groups and lobbying
organizations in the US.
The bi-partisan Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2013, supported by eight Senators from both
parties, has been endorsed by the Fair Currency Coalition (FCC), an alliance of business, agriculture and
labor interests, and by the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM).
The FCC said competitive currency depreciation had become more prevalent over the last two years, claiming that it
distorted as much as one-third of the global economy.
Urging the Obama Administration to back the bill, the FCC said: “Manipulated exchange rates subvert the normal
working of market forces, skew trade and investment flows, and enable foreign governments to pick winners and losers
among American industry.”
The measures are particularly targeted at China, which stands accused of maintaining the yuan at an artificially
low level in order to benefit the country’s economy.
“The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act is a commonsense bill and should be passed and signed into law,” said AAM
president Scott Paul.
“Congress has acted on China’s currency in 2005, 2010, and 2011.
“I hope 2013 is the year that both the House and Senate finally pass this commonsense legislation.”
A glimpse into the March 2013, International Lingerie Show, The Las Vegas
Halloween Show and the famous runway show. For more information go
Video by Nandovision. www.nandovision.com
Fashion Photo Bridgitte is wearing
Linda Hartman Photo by Jerome Hamilton of Studio Time Photography
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Push for Renewal of GSP
A group of 15 developing countries able to export certain goods to the US duty-free under the Generalized System of
Preferences (GSP) program are calling for the scheme to be renewed.
The GSP is scheduled to expire at the end of next month, and the countries say in a letter to House Ways and Means
Committee Chairman Dave Camp that they are "gravely concerned about the likely impact of GSP expiration on our
exporters, workers, families, and communities."
The Alliance of GSP Countries is made up of Algeria, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Fiji, Georgia, Indonesia, Moldova,
Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and Yemen.
The letter notes that the import program benefits more than 3.8bn people living in two-thirds of the world's
And it points out that investors and businesses require a predictable environment regarding the duty treatment of
their products. "If Congress allows the GSP to lapse or if it is extended only for a short time, any certainty
disappears and the program's benefits are seriously undermined."
Indeed, when GSP was allowed to expire for ten months back in 2011, the signatories say: "US imports of GSP-eligible
items during that period decreased by over 17%, while overall US imports increased by 15%."
The Obama Administration is due to make a decision on GSP relief by the end of the month, although this would have
little impact on apparel, since the vast majority of products do not enjoy GSP relief.
However, US Senators are using the threat of suspension to call for significant changes to improve
labor conditions and worker safety in Bangladesh following recent tragedies
in the country's garment sector.
It is hoped that Bangladeshi companies in other sectors facing a hike in duties would also lobby the government
for labor reforms.
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3/3 Garment Workers Fired
Over Strike Up to 415 Cambodian factory workers have been sacked for
Protests are continuing over the mass sacking in Cambodia of up to 415 striking workers who make garments for
companies including Nike, Lululemon Athletica and Wilson Sports Apparel.
The IndustriAll Global Union says it is working with Nike to intervene in the dispute at the Sabrina factory in
Kampong Speu province, west of Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital.
The union said that as well as the mass sacking, arrest warrants had been issued for 16 workers identified by
management as being instrumental in the industrial dispute.
Of these, eight had been arrested and were in prison, while the other eight were in hiding, IndustriAll said –
with hundreds of workers at the factory gates demanding their release.
The dispute centers on claims that management had reneged on an agreement to improve employment conditions at the
factory, leading local union the FTUWKC to demand a US$14 a month pay increase and for temporary workers to be given
the same rights as permanent employees.
When these claims were not met, two seven-day strikes were called from May 21, and June 3, with some 4,000 out of the
total 5,300 workforce claimed to have taken part.
IndustriAll also claims that more than 30 workers have been injured by riot police, and that two pregnant women
lost their babies when pushed to the ground by police.
The union is calling for the immediate release of the eight arrested workers, a settlement of the dispute,
justice for the pregnant women and the reinstatement of the 415 sacked workers.
It also demanded that the Sabrina management “enter into good faith dialogue and positive industrial relations
going forward”, adding: “It is IndustriAll’s expectation that Nike, Wilson and Lululemon strongly intervene to
ensure these demands are met."
White House to Tackle
"Patent Trolls" The National Retail Federation (NRF) has welcomed White House plans to tackle so-called “patent trolls”, said to
cost US businesses nearly US$30bn a year.
The NRF said retailers had seen a rising number of patent lawsuits in recent years, about 40% of them from “trolls”
– companies which buy obscure patents for things not invented by them, then threaten to sue companies using the
technology involved unless they pay a licensing fee.
When cases go to trial, the “trolls” lose more than 90% of them, but many companies settle out of court to avoid
expensive and lengthy legal battles, which cost an average of $2m and take 18 months to settle.
Now the White House has announced a series of executive actions and legislative recommendations to address the
issue – a move welcomed by the NRF.
“Retailers have become one of the largest groups of non-tech companies targeted by patent trolls,” said NRF
senior vice president and general counsel Mallory Duncan.
“Retailers are using precious capital resources to fight or settle infringement claims that they should be using to
invest in their businesses and create jobs.
“This is an abuse of our nation’s laws that needs to be stopped.” New Fiber Taps Into Milk
Protein The first production line for a new fiber based on the casein protein found in milk is set to be launched next
year, and has already generated considerable interest from the clothing industry.
Qmilch has been developed as an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional textile raw materials but is
also said to have beneficial health effects for the wearer.
The manufacturing process is based only on renewable raw materials, uses no chemical additives and produces no
waste. It also takes just 2 liters of water to produce 1kg of fiber, company founder Anke Domaske explained at the
Techtextil show in Frankfurt today (10 June).
Production of the fibers uses milk that would not be used for human consumption, and would otherwise be thrown away,
including the centrifugal waste material from cheese production. Around 1.9m
liters of non-saleable milk are disposed on if Germany alone each year.
The fibers contain up to 18 amino acids that support cell growth and help prevent skin ageing, as well as promoting
blood circulation and reducing itchy skin. The functional fibers are also naturally anti-bacterial, have a cooling
effect, are stable up to 200ºC and can be washed at up to 60ºC.
Even small amounts of milk protein fibers added to textiles can produce positive effects. "Incorporating only
around 20% is more than sufficient to make the surface anti-bacterial", says Domaske.
Until now the fiber has been produced on a pilot line, with work currently underway to scale up production to
around 100kg per hour from next year.
Heaven Bound An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him, "How do you expect to get into Heaven?"
The boy thought it over and said, "Well, I'll just run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St. Peter says, 'For Heaven's sake, Jimmy, come in or stay out!'"