Russia to Join WTO
It was reported that European retailer organization EuroCommerce
has said Russia's looming membership of the World Trade Organization should help EU clothing retail brands establish
themselves in this key emerging market.
Russia's weekend deal with Georgia should secure Moscow's accession to the trade body at the WTO ministerial conference in
Geneva on December 15-17, if fresh Ukraine concerns over energy can be dealt with.
EuroCommerce senior international trade advisor Ralph Kamphöner said Russia's membership to the WTO is something "we've long
been asking for" as it is "high time to integrate Russia in the multilateral legal system of the WTO".
This will essentially make it easier for EU retailers to open stores on Russian soil as well as improve distribution services
for all WTO members.
As changes in customs procedures take effect, shipped goods will subsequently experience a reduction in fees and processing times
when crossing the border, he noted, and foreign brands will be able to penetrate the market at a much cheaper and faster rate.
There are however concerns within Russia. Anna Tupchenko, senior buyer at the Russia-based wholesaler Lingerie Trading Company,
fears nascent Russian clothing brands could suffer a boom in western competition.
She said, Russia's clothing and textile industry "is just starting to grow", and that WTO membership could cause large and
small foreign brands to overshadow home-grown labels.
On a global level, easier access to Russia will benefit the industry but threatens to stagnate domestic design and will thus
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Measures to encourage growth and job creation, including action against trade protectionism and corruption, were outlined at the
close of the G20 summit in Cannes.
Describing unemployment levels as “unacceptable”, the closing declaration pledged to reinvigorate economic growth, create
jobs, ensure financial stability, promote social inclusion and make globalization
serve people’s needs.
On exchange rates, the G20 nations affirmed their commitment to move “more rapidly” towards more market-determined exchange rate
systems, and to enhance exchange rate flexibility to reflect underlying economic fundamentals.
They also underlined the importance of preserving a multilateral trading system to avoid protectionism and insularity.
Standing by the Doha Development Agenda mandate, the G20 nations said: “However, it is clear that we will not complete the DDA if
we continue to conduct negotiations as we have in the past. To contribute to confidence, we need to pursue in 2012 fresh,
credible approaches to furthering negotiations.”
They also registered their support for a strengthened WTO, which they said should play a more active role in improving
transparency on trade relations and solving trade disputes.
Finally, the declaration welcomed the ratification by India of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, and committed
the G20 nations to the declaration’s ratification and implementation.
Mexico will chair the G20 from December 1, with the next meeting in Baja California in June 2012.
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Economy Gains Praise Cambodia has won praise from the WTO for its “solid” economic
performance and relatively open economy, at the conclusion of the country’s first Trade Policy Review.
The WTO highlighted the fact that Cambodia’s per capita income had more than doubled in the period under review, while the
poverty rate had fallen from 35% to 26%.
Organisation members also congratulated the country for successfully emerging from the global economic crisis without
having to adopt protectionist trade measures.
Describing Cambodia's economy as relatively open, the WTO pointed to a trade-to-GDP ratio of about 65% and noted that
exports accounted for a large proportion of employment growth.
However, the WTO is urging the country to step up efforts to diversify its goods exported and markets targeted, fearing that
Cambodia is over-reliant on relatively few products and countries.
Furthermore, the organization said Cambodia still had “significant work to do” to improve its business environment and
to address infrastructure bottlenecks.
Despite the praise for Cambodia’s economic achievements, local business leaders are lamenting the lack of financing for
manufacturing exports - which hurts the garment industry especially hard.
Van Sou Ieng, president of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, told the Phnom Penh Post that manufacturers finance
themselves, largely with support from parent companies in Hong Kong and Taiwan. But smaller local companies without overseas
ties often lack resources.
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FTC Looking for Public Comments on Textile Rules The US Federal Trade Commission has asked for public comment on
its Textile Rules, as part of the body’s systematic review of all rules and guides.
The regulations implement the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act, requiring that textiles sold in the US carry
labels showing their generic names and percentages by weight of fibers in the product, the
manufacturer or marketer name, and the country of process or manufacture.
The review, the first since 1998, will examine a number of questions, including possible modifications of the provision
regarding generic names of fibers, and the use of multiple languages in required disclosures.
It will also look at print and online advertising, as well as clarifying or reconsidering the list of products excluded from
the Textile Act.
All comments, which must be received by January 3, 2012, will be posted on the FTC website.
TPP Negotiations The US and its partners in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are making progress towards an “ambitious, jobs-focused” trade
Following a ninth round of TPP negotiations in Lima, Peru earlier in the month, hopes are high that the broad outlines of
an agreement might be reached at the forthcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) leaders’ meeting in Honolulu next
TPP negotiators from the US, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam made
“considerable progress” during the Lima talks.
Among the topics being discussed was a US proposed text on state-owned enterprises, which were said to have had
“constructive” initial discussions.
The plan is designed to appease US exporters and workers by addressing the claimed distortions to trade and competition
resulting from the advantages given to such enterprises by their governments.
Reliable Hosiery Joins
Reliable Hosiery is the first Canadian company to join the Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) network, in a move that expands the
scheme internationally and should help lift demand for sustainably produced African cotton.
The Canadian hosiery manufacturer signed a contract last week with supporting
organization the Aid by Trade Foundation. It plans to offer a Cotton made in Africa collection, and will have
exclusivity in Canada for the hosiery products.
Unusually for a North American garment firm, Reliable Hosiery's entire production line is still located in Montreal. "Taking
responsibility is important to us," explains president and owner Hermann
The initiative works with smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa to provide a source of cotton that is both
environmentally and socially friendly - and ultimately helps improve the living conditions of some 240,000 farmers in Benin,
Burkina Faso, Zambia, Malawi and Ivory Coast.
Cotton made in Africa provides participating smallholder farmers with cultivation methods that both conserve the environment and
raise crop yields, while providing training and education for adults and children.
Leading European fashion retailer C&A last month said it plans to purchase 1,000
tons of sustainably produced African cotton next year. Esmod/Ethical Fashion Show Trade show organizer Messe Frankfurt is joining forces with the
Esmod international fashion school in Paris to help promote sustainability in the fashion industry.
The collaboration will see the École Superieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode (Esmod) integrate sustainability and eco-fashion into its curriculum.
While other projects are still under discussion, the two organizations have committed to hold an international eco-fashion design award and to create a trend show, the
Esmod/Ethical Fashion Show. Also in the pipeline are plans for presentations and special shows, joint PR activities, and the
creation of a joint international network.
Messe Frankfurt already has a global network in sustainable textiles, including the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris and the
GreenShowroom in Berlin. With over 30 international textile trade fairs, it is one of the world's leading
organizers of textile events.
Esmod, meanwhile, has a network of 21 design schools in 14 countries and each year takes around 1,000 students.
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