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Articles Of Interest

52 Killed in Bangladesh Factory Fire
Page 1

CBP Hires Additional Personnel  to Enforce
 Textile Laws
Page 1

Fruit of the Loom to Close Plant
Page 1

U.S. & Columbia's 
Free Trade Agreement
Page 1

Textile Factory Collapsed
Page 2

EU's Shoe Tariffs
Page 2

Buyers' Best Sellers
Page 2

Ask Andy
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U.S. Retail Spending 
Still Strong in January
Page 3

Australia's New Tax Deduction
Page 3

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H&M Opens Hollywood Store
Page 4

United Retail's Catalogue Deal
Page 4

Eco Friendly Clothing
Page 4

Spellbound Pulls Live Models
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  March 1, 2006                                                 Issue #164


             McPete -Sez, 
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52 Killed in Bangladesh
         Factory Fire
At least 52 people have been killed and 80 injured in what is believed to have been the biggest-ever factory fire in Bangladesh.
The fire broke out at the 3-storey KTS Textile Mills factory on February 23, allegedly caused by a boiler explosion. 
Police are reported as saying the factory’s main gate could not be opened immediately.
About 500 workers, mostly women, were inside the factory at the time. 
A large number of people are still reported as missing.
Bangladesh's textiles and apparel industries are notorious for their poor safety standards.  


      CBP Hires Additional 
Personnel to Enforce Textile  

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has hired 45 additional personnel to bolster US textile law enforcement efforts. The CBP added that during the month of February it had seized US$4m in illegal textiles trying to make their way into the country. 
Acting commissioner, Deborah J. Spero said “Import and international trade specialists, laboratory and data analysts, auditors and attorneys are concentrating their efforts on enforcing our textile laws and are continuing to seize illegal goods. We are also pleased to announce that, on the request of Congress, 45 textile enforcement personnel have been hired and are already reinforcing our textile enforcement efforts.”
During the month of February, CBP has made a series of 25 seizures including illegal transshipments and mis-description of merchandise to avoid quotas. Investigations on these seizure cases are ongoing. 
Last year, Congress appropriated an additional $4.75m for CBP to increase textile enforcement efforts including hiring 45 additional personnel that would be solely dedicated to this effort. 

Fruit of the Loom to Close Buncrana Plant in May
Clothing manufacturer Fruit of the Loom said it will stop all operations at its Irish production plant in Buncrana in Co Donegal on May 26.
The company said 70 workers will leave the Buncrana plant at the end of March and 100 more will be laid off on 26 May.
90 workers will be kept on until December to aid the relocation process and 12 will stay until January. 12 workers have already left the company voluntarily.
200 workers from the Campsie site in Derry are said to be meeting with union representatives shortly to discuss closure timings.
Fruit of the Loom announced in 2004 it was moving manufacturing to Morocco and said it would begin laying off staff from its Irish plants in Buncrana and Campsie. The company once employed 3,000 in Ireland but this has been slimmed down to about 500 recently.

Kate Challoner models the new self adhesive bra by Coconut 
at the Lingerie Americas Show February 25 thru 27, in
New York. 
Check out more pictures from the Lingerie 
Americas Show in the March 15th issue of McPete Sez.


El Salvador Signs CAFTA

El Salvador will become the first Central American nation to put into practice the Central America – Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) with the US.
The agreement will come into effect on 1 March, two months later than planned. The US is now urging the five other nations due to join CAFTA that they must make more effort to agree launch dates for the deal.
Ottó Solís, leader of Costa Rica's second-biggest political party, said he will attempt to block progress toward the agreement, arguing it will ruin the country’s agricultural industry as it stands currently.
Meanwhile, Guatemala has witnessed hundreds of protestors marching in protest against CAFTA. They said the deal will only work to make the poor poorer, benefiting only larger companies.
The US, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua signed the CAFTA-DR in August 2004. All but 
Costa Rica have ratified the Agreement. 
Implementing legislation for the CAFTA passed the US Senate in June 2005 and the House of Representatives in July 2005 and was signed by the President in August 2005.
CAFTA’s supporters say it will enable bigger potential for all involved in the trading of a wide range of goods, textiles included.

Pakistan & Bangladesh 
to Sign Investment Deal 
Pakistan and Bangladesh have agreed an initial deal to set up a joint investment company for sectors such as textiles, readymade garments and agriculture.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia are reportedly backing the proposed deal, which is aimed at boosting trade between the two countries.
Aziz said that the joint investment company could help finance joint ventures between the two, while Zia said the countries have a lot of opportunity for increased trade and investment.
Pakistan's Minister for Textile Mushtaq Ali Cheema told a 35-member delegation that Pakistan would provide power-looms and spare parts at competitive prices to Bangladesh.
       Allure Leather     
U.S. & Columbia's Free-Trade
Colombia and U.S.have sealed a free trade deal to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to goods and services, and expand bilateral trade.
U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and Jorge Humberto Botero, Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, announced the deal as the conclusion of ongoing negotiations. 
Portman said the deal would: "… enhance economic growth and  prosperity between the US and Colombia".
"The free trade agreement with Colombia will generate export opportunities for US agriculture, industry, and service providers, and help create jobs in the US." he added.
"The agreement will help foster economic development in Colombia, and contribute to efforts to counter narco-terrorism, which threatens democracy and regional stability." 
In 2005, Colombia and the United States had $14.3bn in two-way trade, and Colombia is currently the second largest agricultural market for the US in Latin America. US goods exports to Colombia in 2005 were $5.4bn. 
Top export categories in 2005 were: machinery, organic chemicals, electrical machinery, and plastic. US exports of agricultural products to Colombia totaled $677m in 2005. Leading categories include coarse grains, wheat, cotton, and soybeans. US foreign direct investment in Colombia was $3.0bn in 2004, primarily concentrated in the manufacturing, mining and wholesale sectors. 

      Taiwan's 2005 Textile
         Exports Drop
Taiwan’s textile exports totaled US$11.8bn in 2005, with a net foreign exchange income of $9.20bn.
Both reported figures are the lowest for more than ten years, with exports dropping 5.8% from last year and net foreign exchange income falling 6.58%. Yarn, cloth and garment exports are all said to have taken a tumble last year.
Industry commentators blame China’s growing domination over the world textile market. In addition, Taiwanese mid- and lower-market cloth and garment makers are increasingly moving production to lower-cost countries.

Pakistani Textiles to Move
           to Bangladesh
Up to 20 Pakistani textile units will shift their manufacturing operations to Bangladesh to cut production costs.
Relocation could slash costs by almost 50% for the companies, which include ready-made garment and knitwear makers as well as home textile companies.
It has been reported that the companies have already finalized plans to move.
The cost of making textiles in Pakistan has shot up recently. 
Investment in Bangladesh’s textile sector is currently tax-free.


Wet Seal Lost G+G Bidding
Young women’s fashion chain Wet Seal said it failed with its bid to buy the assets of G+G Retail.
It was reported at the end of last month that fashion house BCBG MaxAzria Group had outbid Wet Seal, sparking a tug-of-war between 
the two companies.
G+G filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 25, and said it had struck a purchase agreement to be bought by Wet Seal for US$15.2m.
BCBG then said it would pay $15.2m in cash, pay G+G's unsecured creditors $22m over five years, provide more than $20m of fresh inventory and rehire more than half of the retailer's terminated employees.

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