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Work Place Safety Week
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Apparel Conference of the Americas
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Spring Apparel Sales Up
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  May 1, 2006                                                 Issue #168


             McPete -Sez, 
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Workplace Safety Week
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) will co-sponsor a special week-long observance this spring to increase public awareness of the importance of workplace safety and health.
AAFA is joining with the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering to sponsor the North American Occupational Safety and Health Week from April 30 to May 6.
The national kick-off will take place Monday, May 1, in Washington DC at the US Department of Labor, while other events will take place countrywide.
“Our industry works hard to provide safe and healthy working conditions for its workers around the world, particularly as manufacturing and assembly operations have increasingly moved offshore,” said AAFA president and CEO Kevin M Burke. 
“We will continue to encourage and support these efforts and are delighted to be part of this special observance.”
"We are all working together to reduce death, injuries and illnesses in the workplace,” ASSE president Jack Dobson Jr said. 
“Currently more than 5,000 people die on the job each year and four million more suffer from on-the-job illnesses and injuries.” 


Chinese Cotton Imports
Cotton imports into China have shown an increase in the first quarter of 2006, widening the country’s production-sales gap.
Customs figures show that ports in China’s Guangdong Province imported 49,000 tons of cotton, worth US$64.6m. During the period, import prices rose from $1,317.50 per ton to $1,327 per ton.
The import rise comes as China’s cotton-growing area is shrinking, falling 11.2% during 2005 to an estimated 5.1m hectares, with little prospect of increasing acreage this year.
China used 9.32m tons of cotton for yarn production last year, an increase of 25.7% on 2004. During the same period, the country produced 5.68m tons, down 10.2% and leaving a production-sales gap of more than 3.5m tons.
Imports via Guangdong were 200,000 tons in 2005, 22.4% up on 2004. The US, Australia and India account for nearly three-quarters of imports through Guangdong ports.

  A model is wearing garment by Morgana Lingerie at the 
International Lingerie fashion show in Las Vegas, April 3-5.
             Photo courtesy of Bill Miller – FotosNow
Check out more pictures from the International Lingerie
       Show in the May 15th issue of McPete Sez!

           CAFTA Delays Cause Guatemala's Textile Sector
        to Lose $160M
Delays in signing the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) have cost Guatemala’s textiles industry US$160m in uncommitted investments, Carla Caballero, general manager for Guatemalan Apparel and Textile Industry Commission confirmed .
“We are asking the government to pass the implementation law immediately,” Caballero said, adding that congress was supposed to approve the text on April 26.
The accord’s deployment is crucial for the textile industry’s growth plans which stem largely from wooing investment from foreign producers, particularly in the US.
A slew of government modifications to the CAFTA implementation project have delayed its approval, causing some high-profile textile investors – such as US-based ITG and Russell– to cancel multimillion expansion projects in Guatemala.
Two such initiatives involved ITG and Russell’s shift of a $100m and $60m textile expansion projects to Nicaragua and Honduras respectively, Caballero said.
She pointed out that Guatemala’s developed textiles market and laws have unwittingly complicated the CAFTA approval.
“Guatemala has a more complex and complete production structure and laws than other Central American countries so it’s been harder for us to modify the laws” to pursue to the trade agreement,” she said.
ITG and Rusell’s shift also cost the industry the nearly 3,000 prospective jobs.

Cortefiel to Axe 172 Workers
Fashion group Cortefiel said it will lay off 172 workers from its Confecciones del Sur factory in Malaga, Southern Spain.
The company announced the decision after a 19-hour meeting between unions and management.
Meanwhile, an additional 106 workers aged 54 or older will take early retirement.
Cortefiel has said it will end production at the Malaga site because if its “excessively high costs”. 
It is believed Cortefiel will keep on the rest of the site's employees, who work in design and research.
Kenya's Exports to US Fall
Kenya’s exports of textiles to the US are falling, reversing the trend since the two countries implemented the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
According the US Commerce Department, Kenya’s textile and apparel sales to the US under the preferential terms of AGOA fell from KES19.5bn in 2004 to KES19.2bn last year.
The fall follows the end of international quotas at the end of 2004, with clothing exporters from Asia in particular now given almost unlimited access to the US market.
And the trend has continued in the first two months of 2006, with Kenya’s exports falling from KES4.3bn in 2005 to KES3.6bn this year.
The drop in exports follows a steady increase in Kenyan textile exports to the US since AGOA was first implemented in 2001.

Apparel Conference of the
Five US organizations have joined together to launch the Apparel Conference of the Americas, which is being hosted by ProNicaragua in Managua, Nicaragua from June 5-7.
The event, which will rotate throughout the hemisphere as it grows, is being endorsed by American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), American Apparel Producers Network, Caribbean Central American Action, Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas, and Textile/Clothing Technology Corporation ([TC]2). 
Under the banner ‘One Region…One Market…One Source,’ the executive level conference aims to define a common agenda designed to ensure the prosperity of the apparel industry – which has long been a springboard for the entire region’s competitiveness.
[TC]2 president Dr Mike Fralix said: “We have all been discussing a single Central American event instead of each country doing its own thing. Since the majority of the apparel produced in the DR-CAFTA region is purchased by US companies, it makes sense for the US to drive the coordination of the region. 
AAFA president Kevin Burke adds: “If you look at the combined membership of our organizations, we have direct access to virtually every retail, brand, manufacturing, and supplier executive in the US. 

AMTAC Has High Hopes 
for US & China Trade Talks
American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) hopes US/Chinese trade talks will make progress toward capping the US’s growing trade deficit, executive director Auggie Tantillo said. 
China’s President Hu Jintao was to meet US president George Bush on April 20 to discuss trade between the two countries.
The two will discuss the deficit, which totaled US$725.8bn last year, and China’s contribution toward this. 
China alone was responsible for $202bn of the deficit last year, AMTAC said.. Meanwhile 2,885,000 US manufacturing jobs have disappeared since January 2001.
"President Hu's visit highlights the fact that US trade policy is in crisis," Tantillo said. "This trade deficit is unsustainable and must be staunched in short order. 
"China is the lightning rod for much of what is wrong with US trade policy. China manipulates its currency, doles out billions in non-performing loans from state banks, runs roughshod over intellectual property rights, and hands out subsidy after subsidy all with the intent of driving out of business US companies forced to play by free-market rules, yet the US government seemingly is powerless to act." 
The US must exploit market access to make sure China "plays by the rules", Tantillo added.

        A model is wearing garment by Seduzione at the 
Lingerie Classique fashion show in Las Vegas, April 3-5.
             Photo courtesy of Bill Miller – FotosNow


 Spring Apparel Sales Up
Spring apparel was one of the best-selling merchandise categories over the Easter period according to Redbook Research's latest indicator of national retail sales.
The Johnson Redbook Index showed national chain store sales rose 4.4% in the first three weeks of April compared with the previous month.
Compared with the same period in 2005, seasonally adjusted sales in the first three weeks of April 2006 were up by 4.6%.    

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