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EU's Counterfeit Raids
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Brazil's Import Tax Increases
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China to Subsidize Cotton Farmers
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Odorless Undergarments
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The Bra's 100th Birthday
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     May 1, 2007                                        Issue #192


             McPete -Sez, 
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EU's Counterfeit Raids
OLAF and the Member States' Investigation services have seized thousands of fake clothing items
The European Commission has revealed the seizure of many thousands of items of counterfeit clothing and accessories in a coordinated February customs swoop on illicit cargoes in European Union international ports. 
Brussels said EU anti-fraud office OLAF coordinated the raids which involved 300 customs officials and police from national customs units of the EU's 27 member states, EU police agency Europol, Interpol and the World Customs Organization. 
Their officers targeted suspect containers from Asian ports. 
Codenamed 'Diabolo', the operation, said EU anti-fraud commissioner Siim Kallas, not only protected revenues but also "the health and safety of consumers and the interests of legitimate business".
In total, Netherlands ports yielded the most counterfeit clothing and accessories: 4,920 coats; 18,014 jeans, trousers and tracksuit bottoms; 4,296 pieces in a mixed cargo of clothing and caps; 163,300 sunglasses; and 52,578 pairs of footwear. 
There were 160,124 fake watches and other accessories seized in Italy; 26,400 pairs of fake slippers in Malta; 65,700 counterfeit sunglasses in Poland; 3,390 pairs of shoe fakes in Romania; and sunglasses, rings, bracelets, necklaces, caps and scarves in Sweden. 
The Commission said the assistance of customs officials in Egypt and Israel was valuable, as was cooperation from south and east Asian countries.


Brazil's Import Tax Increases
The tax on footwear and clothing imported into Brazil from countries 
outside the Mercosur trade bloc is to rise from 20% to 35%.
Brazil's Chamber of Commerce approved the increase on 25 April, and 
other members of the South American trade bloc - Argentina, Uruguay, 
Paraguay and Venezuela - are expected to follow.
Brazil wants the measure to take effect in June 2007 in an attempt to 
stamp down on illegal imports.

Pakistan's Textile Exports 
          Up 14%
Government policies focusing on the promotion of textile and apparel exports has paid off with a 13.8% rise in shipments during the first nine months of the current fiscal year - but trade in non-textile products like footwear has suffered as a result, the latest data shows.
New figures from Pakistan's Federal Bureau of Statistics show that during the nine month period from July 2006 to March 2007, Pakistan's textile and apparel exports were worth $8.027bn compared to $7.051bn in the same period of previous year.
Within this, exports of ready-made garments rose 8.7% to $1.052bn, from $0.968bn in last year's period. 

12/24              Photographed by Michael Brouwer

M&S to Re-Label Clothing
 to Reduce Energy Use
Marks & Spencer is to change the care labels on almost three-quarters of its clothing ranges in a bid to encourage customers to lower washing temperatures to 30°C.
The changes announced by the retailer are part of a campaign led by The Climate Group which brings together businesses, government, non-government organizations to help UK households reduce their carbon emissions. 
They also boost the green credentials of M&S, which earlier this year launched "Plan A", a GBP200m eco-plan that includes the use of recycled plastic bottles to make its polyester clothing and increasing the number of Fairtrade cotton garments on sale in its stores. 
Chief executive Stuart Rose said encouraging our customers to wash their clothing at 30°C "is a small change, but it can make a very big difference."
"It's not only effective on around 70% of M&S garments, but it's also economical and better for the environment - saving around 40% of energy on each wash. 
The new care labels will include the words 'Think Climate - Wash at 30°C', and advice will also be provided through in-store leaflets and décor, advertising and on the company's website.
Research conducted by YouGov for Marks & Spencer shows that climate change is a major concern for the majority of people in the UK with a third believing it to be the biggest challenge facing the world today. 
73% say they have changed the way they behave in the last 12 months in response to concerns about the environment and nearly 60% believe that individuals should be ultimately responsible for tackling climate change.

        South Africa's Imported     
      Garments Must Show
          Country of Origin
All clothing imported and sold in South Africa must be clearly labeled with its country of origin after new legislation was agreed last week.
A final notice in the Merchandise Marks Act, signed by Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa, is aimed at eliminating misleading or non-existent labels stating where the garments were made.
It also allows the department to prohibit the use of certain marks.
Retailers will, from now on, be required to attach a label with the country in which a product was produced; an indication where a South African textile manufacturer has used imported griege fabric to produce dyed, printed or finished fabric; and whether such fabric has been dyed, printed or finished in SA from imported fabric.
Labels must state "Made in SA" when the product is wholly assembled in the country. 
The department, in collaboration with the South African Revenue Service and the SABS, will enforce the regulations.

Vatican Considering Fur 
Pope Benedict XVI was under the spotlight of Italy's Anti-Vivisection League mid April for wearing fur. The Vatican has not yet responded to requests for a ban based on ethical and religious grounds, the animal rights group said.
The activist group has made its appeal ahead of a papal trip to Pavia, which is home to some of Italy's fur-makers. 
The UK's anti-vivisection campaigners have also questioned the Vatican's stance towards fur in the past, without any reply.
The pontiff was photographed in a red velvet hat trimmed with a traditional white ermine fur during the winter, known as camauro.


China to Subsidize Cotton
China is for the first time preparing to subsidize its cotton production, according to a top official at the country's agriculture ministry.
A news report said Xue Liang, chief economist with the agriculture ministry, told a conference that Beijing will offer a total CNY500m (US$64.8m) to farmers for growing high-quality cotton. 
The move is intended to boost output and reduce reliance on imports in China, which is the world's largest cotton consumer and producer.

Odorless Undergarments
The textile division of Japanese trading firm Marubeni Corp has obtained the rights to a special odor-reducing fiber from sportswear marketer Phenix Co.
Marubeni will use the fibers in running shirts, T-shirts and socks, and eventually expand its lineup to include items like towels and work clothes. 
The news agency said the fiber is processed with odor-absorbing carboxyl groups, and incorporated into rayon yarns to soak up the smells like sweat and cigarettes.
Marubeni is making the garments in China, and intends to sell them to volume retailers in Japan.

Hanesbrands Q1 Profits
        Plummet 84%
Shares of Hanesbrands fell sharply April 26, after the company, buffeted by costs from restructuring and its spin-off from Sara Lee, reported an 83.9% drop in first-quarter profits.
The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based underwear and knitwear marketer said that, for the three months ended March 31, net income fell to US$12m, or $0.12 a diluted share. That compares with the estimates of two analysts for EPS of $0.34 and with year-ago profits of $74.6m, or $0.77. 
Hanesbrands was spun off from Sara Lee last September, so figures for 2006 were calculated as if the firm had been a freestanding company a year ago. 
Net sales rose 0.7% to $1.04bn from $1.03bn. Double-digit sales gains at Champion and strength at Hanes casualwear helped offset flat sales in innerwear and declines in other segments, the company said.
Shares ended Thursday's New York Stock Exchange session at $27.01, down $1.34 or 4.7%.
"While we had a number of costs this quarter associated with becoming an independent company that we did not have in the year-ago quarter, we are benefiting from past cost-reduction efforts, corporate consolidation and streamlining, and continued progress with our global supply chain strategy of moving production to lower-cost countries," said Richard Noll, chief executive officer of the firm. 
"Our operating margin excluding actions, which we use to measure and manage our business, was on track with our expectations for the quarter."
The operating margins excluding restructuring and related charges was 8.6% of sales, down from 9.8% a year ago due, the firm said, to higher cotton costs and investments. 
Profitability was hurt by large increases in restructuring costs - $16.2m versus $1.3m a year ago - and net interest expense - $51.7m versus $3.1m.
The company continues to deal with a large amount of long-term debt, which fell only a fraction, to $2.475bn from $2.484bn as of December 30.
As part of its shift in sourcing, the company unveiled plans during the just concluded quarter to close two domestic textile facilities and two domestic distribution centers. Of the $21.5m the company recognized in restructuring and related charges during the first quarter of the year, $4.6m were non-cash, Hanesbrands said. 
"We continue to successfully execute our core improvement strategies of reducing costs, increasing investment in our strongest brands and generating cash," Noll said. 
The company's brands include Hanes, Champion, Playtex, Bali and Wonderbra. It doesn't provide quarterly or annual guidance.

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