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The US may suspend the October 15 tariff increases on imports from China. This comes as welcome news for retailers, consumers and the global economy. The trade war and the harmful tariffs are weakening the US economy, hurting manufacturers and causing consumers to pay more for everyday items like shoes, sweaters and sporting equipment. Especially the decision to delay planned tariff hikes is welcome news to US retailers and consumers heading into the busy holiday shopping season. The US and China have forged a partial trade deal that would have China agree to agricultural concessions. The agreement is believed to lay the groundwork for follow-up discussions to resolve the greater issues between the two countries, which concern accusations that China has been guilty of stealing intellectual property assets from US companies.

However everything currently being hit with punitive tariffs is still being charged. This means Americans are still being burdened with an additional 25 per cent on backpacks, handbags, luggage, hats, and gloves. It also means that 92 per cent of clothing, 53 percent of shoes, and 68 per cent of home textiles imported from China continue to be charged an additional 15 per cent tariff. These rates are on top of the hefty tariffs already being charged on these products.

WPT Nonwovens has received the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) Version 5 certification.

This makes WPT Nonwovens one of the first nonwoven manufacturers to be awarded with this accreditation. This certification allows WPT Nonwovens to export organic cotton nonwoven materials with one certification accepted in all major markets.

GOTS is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibers, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain. Version 5.0 was published March 1, 2017, three years after the Version 4.0 was introduced and 12 years after the launch of the first version.

WPT Nonwovens is a one stop source for nonwoven fabric. It manufactures and sources spunbond, needlepunch, wetlaid and carded nonwovens from world class global and domestic suppliers. Serving global markets in the medical, hygiene, industrial and filtration sectors since 2008, WPT provides high quality, affordable products that fit the needs of small order customers and large multinational corporations alike. The company meets telecom industry needs with nonwovens specially bonded and treated for reliability and performance in cable wrapping applications. Its precise ability to spool narrow width high-loft nonwoven makes WPT an ideal supplier for feminine hygiene transfer layer nonwovens.

A new survey of 1,057 U.S. consumers by supply chain software provider JDA reflects relative public disinterest in the tariff-centric China trade conflict—that is, until people realise how their bank accounts could stand to lose in the Sino-American saga.

While most (85 percent) expressed some familiarity with the protracted war, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) claimed they haven’t amended their spending behaviors in any way as a result, but the vast majority (83 percent) are at least a little bit worried the dispute will send retail prices soaring.

Despite that evident concern, when asked how the trade war could affect their holiday shopping budgets versus last year, most (46 percent) said the specter of tariffs would not change their planned spending, though an equal percentage claimed they’ll be tightening the purse strings somewhat—or significantly.

The next round of tariffs is poised to take effect on Oct. 15, when the 25 percent duty on $250 billion worth of China imports is set to rise to 30 percent unless President Trump and the Chinese delegation hammer out a new deal at their meeting Friday. But it’s the planned Dec. 15 tariffs on $300 billion worth of goods that lands at a most inopportune time in the holiday shopping season.

However, the JDA’s survey reveals that nearly one-third (31 percent) of consumers didn’t intend to shop earlier to avoid the potential tariffs while another 20 percent had no idea of what they planned to do.

The IAF sponsored the second edition of the Keqiao World Textile Merchandising Conference held on September 27, 2019 in Keqiao, China.

The conference was inaugurated by Han Bekke, President, IAF and Kihak Sung, President, ITMF. Sun Ruizhe, Chairman, CNTAC, presented a strong overview of the Chinese apparel industry at the conference which was also attended by General Matthijis Crietee, Secretary General, IAF.

China’s apparel market is transitioning fast, with the domestic market for customised garments already valued at more than € 20 billion. Sun highlighted the industry’s focus areas including innovations, green developments and collaborations. These were backed up by a strong policy agenda and plenty of funds.

Though the conference was held in a context of slowing global trade the general mood at the event was nevertheless positive. The industry realised that the total demand for clothing, especially in the Asian region, continues to grow.

H&M Group has acquired a majority stake in Sellpy, a re-commerce platform that sells second-hand clothes, to strengthen its efforts to become fully circular and support its global expansion plans.

The fast fashion retailer first invested in the re-commerce business in 2015 and since then has been participating in all investment rounds. With this investment, the retail group has acquired approximately 70 per cent stake in Sellpy, which makes it a majority shareholder.

H&M has invested around SEK50 million (£4.08 million) in Sellpy since 2015, and SEK92 million in pre-existing investor commitments to private equity – also known as secondaries.

Moreover, the retail giant plans to invest SEK60 million more via two separate installments within the next few years.’ With this, H&M will have approximately 74 per cent stake in Sellpy.

Sellpy, established in 2014, could grow its current offering ‘into a complete platform for second-hand fashion’ per the outlet. It is now all geared up for a worldwide expansion starting with Germany.

With Future Retail announcing its intention to acquire retail infrastructure assets from group company Future Enterprises, its board recently approved the acquisition of the retail infrastructure assets up to maximum limit of Rs 4,000 crore of Future Enterprises in one or more tranches.

These retail infrastructure assets, though currently used by Future Retail for its large and small format stores, are owned by Future Enterprises. Future Retail pays lease rentals to Future Enterprises for these assets.

The deal will help both the companies. For Future Retail, it would significantly reduce rental costs, with the company expecting an up to Rs 650 crore reduction in annual lease rentals. The transaction would help deleverage Future Enterprises, which had a total debt of Rs 6,544 crore as of 31 March.

The deal would also help reduce inter-corporate linkages between entities of the Future group, simplifying its structure. It would result in cessation of all corporate guarantees from Future Retail to the lenders of Future Enterprises.

Finisterre has become the first fashion brand to use garment bags made from Aquapak polymer. The brand has already introduced the new packaging in a few select knitwear lines, while a full roll out is expected in February, when the packaging will be included with all garments in the spring 2020 collection. Garment bags made from Aquapak polymer do not break down into microplastics.

The collaboration is a result of Finisterre’s commitment to eradicate single-use, non-degradable plastic in 2018. Believing that ‘single use is no use’, Finisterre’s discovered that garment bags made from Aquapak’s hot water soluble Hydropol are inherently anti-static, are marine safe and non-toxic. They do not break-down into harmful microplastics in the ocean or on land hence ‘leave no trace’.

The Finisterre bag is made from the hot water soluble version of Aquapak’s Hydropol material. This enables it to be recycled or be dissolved and disposed of safely and benignly in waste water systems.

According to valuation consultancy, Brand Finance China’s value increased by 40 per cent in 2019. Globally, developing economies on an average saw 31.3 times faster brand value growth over the past year than developed ones. The average year-on-year nation brand value growth among developing economies stood at 13.9 per cent compared to as little as 0.4 per cent for developed economies. The United States recorded a brand value growth of seven per cent over the past year.

The US and China, the two largest economies in the world, have been at loggerheads since July 2018 in a bitter trade war, with tariffs imposed by both sides on billions of dollars’ worth of imports and exports. Despite this, China’s brand value has defied expectations of a slowdown, benefitting from the success of some of its most dominant brands, including ICBC, Huawei and Alibaba. The last two have incorporated strong marketing strategies that mirror their international counterparts and have proved themselves as legitimate competitors to western brands.

Every country aims to drive some form of competitive advantage for their products through the country’s brand image. Some use tourism advertising, some FDI campaigns, and some global events such as the Olympics.

According to recent study by the US Fashion Industry Association (USFIA), despite slipping to the sixth position as a preferred sourcing destination for US-based apparel and fashion companies, majority of the buyers expressed an interest in increasing their sourcing from the country in 2019.

Bangladesh’s RMG exports to the USA, from January-August 2019, grew by 11.81 percent compared to that in the corresponding period of 2018. The data from the Office of Textiles and Apparel reveals that the country earned US $4.08 billion in the first eight months of 2019 from its RMG exports as against US$3.65 billion earned during January-August period of 2018.Experts and exporters opined that this growth was possible due to shifting work orders from China in the wake of trade war.

A recent study of Asian Development Bank also stated the trade war between China and the US has become a boon for Bangladesh as the country exported a total of US$4.23 billion in textile and apparel items to the US during January-August period of 2019.

After the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013, Bangladesh’s apparel exports to US declined in 2014 and stood at US$4.83 billion which was US$4.95 billion in 2013.

In 2015, exports rose to $5.40 billion but continued declining in next two consecutive years. In 2017 and 2018, the country earned US$5.06 billion and $5.40 billion respectively from garment exports to US.

Expressing serious concern over lower cotton output, the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) recently urged the Pakistani government to remove duty and taxes on the import of raw cotton to support the domestic textile industry.

APTMA urged the government to immediately withdraw the 3 per cent customs duty, 2 per cent additional duty and 5 per cent sales tax imposed on the import of raw cotton to enable the textile industry to meet its requirements for domestic as well as for export orders.

Initial estimates show there is a shortfall of 5 million cotton bales between demand and supply during this season. Domestic raw cotton prices are now higher than those of imported cotton and if this continues, then the textile industry will be rendered uncompetitive. The initial cotton crop estimate was around 15 million bales; later it was revised up to 12 million bales and now as per second revision, the cotton crop may be 10.2 million bales. However, recent market survey suggests cotton output at the end of this season will be even lower than 10 million bales as against the domestic industry demand of 15 million bales. Comparative analysis of cotton arrival up to October 1 this year versus the same day last year shows a 39 per cent decline.

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