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Hygiene Fibers Developed
Counterfeiting Loopholes Examined
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October 1, 2007
Women's Wear Journal
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Hygiene and Well-being
Japanese manufacturers are focusing increasingly on developing fibers and textiles for personal well-being, hygiene and comfort, according
to a report by Textiles Intelligence.
Moreover, many of these materials are coated or treated with substances which derive from naturally-occurring chemicals obtained
from plants and animals.
Osaka-based Omikenshi has developed a number of health-promoting viscose fibers.
One of these is its Sundia branded fiber which has special deodorizing properties. The
deodorizing effect is activated simply by exposing the fiber to sunlight for five hours. Fabrics made from
Sundia also have antibacterial properties and help to protect the wearer from UV radiation.
The company also offers Crabyon branded viscose fibers which are coated with chitin made from crab shells. Crabyon
fibers are designed
to provide protection from germs.
Another unusual development from Omikenshi is its Kishu Binchotan fibre. This is made from a composite of viscose and charcoal derived
from oven-baked oak.
The charcoal particles generate negative ions, which are said to create a sense of well-being, to absorb
odors and humidity, and to aid blood circulation by releasing far-infrared radiation.
In a further innovation, Omikenshi has developed viscose fibers which contain the health-giving compound squalene - a substance derived
from shark's liver. Following extensive studies, it has been found that squalene plays a key role in maintaining health.
Daiwabo, another Osaka-based company, has developed a new deodorant fiber called Deometafi. The
fiber is able to neutralize a wide range of odors - including unpleasant odors
generated by the human body.
In order to achieve these properties, Daiwabo has created artificial enzymes which are able to form ionic bonds with
Health, safety and environmental concerns are also a driving force behind a number of Japanese
Three companies - Asahi Kasei, Teijin and Toyobo - have developed polyester cushioning materials to compete with polyurethane (PU) foam
in public transport seating and household furniture.
PU foam suffers from the drawback that it is difficult to recycle.
Also, it generates toxic by-products when it burns. The new polyester materials overcome these drawbacks.
The need for environmental protection is growing in importance as consumers become more concerned about sustainability and damage to
the environment and as companies respond by adopting corporate social responsibility policies.
To address the need for environmental protection, Teijin Fibers has developed Ecocircle - a system for recycling synthetic
fibers from discarded garments.
Toray and Teijin have each developed techniques for recycling discarded polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles into polyester
fiber for textile use.
Some of the greatest opportunities, however, lie in the field of biofibers. Teijin has developed a heat-stable polylactic alternative
to traditional polyesters while Toray offers a biofiber car mat, also based on polylactic acid.
Other plant-derived fibers include polybutylene succinate and natural fibers
such as bamboo from Mitsubishi.
Similarly, NEC Corporation and Unitika have jointly developed a bioplastic which is reinforced with kenaf
fiber for use in electronic devices. Elsewhere, Fujitsu has a biopolymer derived from castor oil
while Honda has a plant-based fabric for car interiors.
Alleged glaring loopholes in China's fight against the counterfeiting
of goods will now be examined in detail by a World Trade Organization disputes settlement panel, which was established September 25 at the
insistence of the United States.
The committee will have the authority to tell China is should tighten up anti-counterfeiting policing as a breach of world trade law,
namely the WTO's Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Agreement.
Washington alleges in particular that China's lack of criminal procedures and related punishments for commercial scale
counterfeiting and piracy break its commitments under TRIPs.
Clothing companies in the US and other countries have long been complaining about China's laid back attitude towards clothing
fakes, and the European Union, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan and Argentina will also participate in dispute hearings, attacking Beijing.
The US Trade Representative office (USTR) has said: "Over the past several years China has taken tangible steps to improve intellectual
property rights protection and enforcement. However, we still see important gaps that need to be addressed."
These also include - claims the US - that Chinese customs officials release counterfeit good seized from export consignments straight
back into the Chinese domestic market.
Copyright protection is also weaker than the international standards of the Berne Convention.
Should the panel find against China, probably next year, the Chinese would either have to toughen their anti-counterfeiting policing, or
they could face authorized retaliatory measures by the US.
These could take the form of special tariffs on Chinese exports and would reflect the estimated losses to American manufacturers because
of breaches of TRIPs. These would be high.
by Lawrence O. Brown
Egypt's Textile Workers Strike
Thousands of workers have gone on strike at one of Egypt's largest
textile mills to demand higher wages and more benefits.
The strike, which began on September 23, involved more than 20,000 employees of the state-owned Misr Spinning and Weaving in the Nile
Delta town of Mahalla el-Kubra.
According to local media reports, employees earn just EGP150 ($27) a month while the company posted a profit of EGP217m in the 2006/7
financial year. Rising inflation in the country has also led to soaring food prices.
The strike is the latest in a series of protests over the past year in Egypt.
Peru FTA Approved
The US Senate has approved the country's free trade agreement with
Peru which is set to bring strong benefits to both countries' textile and apparel trade.
The deal was voted 18-3 by the US Senate Finance Committee on September 25.
It will allow US yarn and fabric makers to export their goods (under 'favorable' rule-of-origin rules) to Peruvian manufacturers that
will be able to sell their apparel duty free to the US.
US Trade Representative Susan C Schwab said she was "very pleased" with the vote, adding: "This is another indication that the Bush
Administration and Congress can find a way to do the right thing for the American people, the US economy, and our key allies in the
The pact's approval came after Senate Finance Committee chairman Charles Rangel endorsed the deal following Peruvian government
assurances that the country will meet fair labor and environmental-protection guidelines.
The US is also negotiating FTA deals with Colombia and South Korea, but those pacts face great challenges related to the latter country's
tarnished human and labor rights profile and the former nation's business opposition to a free trade deal with the US.
India to Refund Exporters'
India's Ministry of Finance ministry is to refund the service tax
that exporters pay for port, road transport and rail services in an attempt to provide some relief to companies hit by the rising value
of the rupee.
The refunds will cover service taxes incurred by exporters transporting goods from inland container depots to ports via rail and
road networks, and for port services.
The government had been collecting a 12% service tax and an additional
3% on these services.
Exporters are already eligible for service tax exemption for some input services - like those of solicitors and chartered accountants -
that are used for export.
In July, the finance ministry provided additional relief to exporters, especially in the textile and apparel industries, to
cushion the impact of rupee appreciation. The measures included lower interest rates and increased duty drawbacks.
Commercial banks were told to cut interest rates for exporters by 4.5 points from their benchmark prime lending rates, which vary from 11% to 12.5%
And duty drawbacks, under which exporters can claim a benefit on tariffs paid on raw materials imported for manufacturing, were
increased from 10% to 17%.
The domestic currency has appreciated by over 8% since January this year.
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