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Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) and Competitive African Cotton Initiative (COMPACI) held a conference in Germany, September 24 to 26.It was attended by over 150 experts across the textile value chain from nearly 20 countries.

The discussions focused on issues such as tapping new markets for African cotton and thus securing income for cotton farmers as well as establishing a textile value chain in Africa.

There was a fashion show by the Mozambican upcycling label Mima-te. Twin sisters Nelly and Nelsa Guambe presented for the first time their exceptional modern vintage designs made from old clothes.

Africa is seen by the textile industry as a possible production location. The opportunity to be able to produce within a country from the cotton field to the finished garment, establish a sustainable foundation for textile production, and discover growing sales opportunities locally makes African countries attractive to the American and European markets.

Cotton made in Africa works to improve the living conditions of cotton farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. It teaches cotton farmers modern, efficient, and environmentally-friendly cultivation methods that will help them improve the quality of their cotton, yield higher crops, and earn a better income.

Competitive African Cotton Initiative was founded in 2005 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the German ministry for economic cooperation and development.

Exports of fabric and apparel from Vietnam surged by 19.4 per cent year-on-year in the first eight months of 2014. During January to August 2014, Vietnam exported 5,49,872 tons of yarn fetching 1.655 billion dollars, registering an increase of 20.3 per cent and 20.5 per cent year-on-year.

The US alone imported 6.497 billion dollars worth of fabric and apparel from Vietnam during the period under review. Japan and South Korea were the other main destinations for Vietnamese fabric and clothing with exports valued at 1.682 billion dollars and 1.216 billion dollars respectively.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s cotton imports soared by 26.3 per cent year-on-year to 488,066 tons in terms of quantity, and by 26.9 per cent to 976.668 million dollars in terms of value.

Similarly, Vietnam’s yarn imports grew by 7.1 per cent year-on-year and 2.1 per cent by volume and value respectively. Fabric imports also climbed 14.3 per cent. 

With 3.008 billion dollars worth of goods, China was the largest supplier of fabric to Vietnam during the period under discussion.

Last year, Vietnam’s fabric and garment exports grew by 18.9 per cent year-on-year to 17.946 billion dollars and the country’s fabric and garment exports are expected to touch the 20 billion dollar mark this year.

Zimbabwe has launched a cotton-to-clothing export strategy.It's aimed at boosting productivity and helping generate much-needed foreign currency for the country.Given the abundance of quality natural fiber cotton as well as highly skilled manpower, Zimbabwe hopes to position itself as a global competitor.

The cotton-to-clothing sector extends from smallholder farming, which contributes to the livelihoods of more than one million Zimbabweans, to capital-intensive sub-sectors such as spinning and textiles that have played an integral role in the country’s industrialization and in the clothing industry.

The sector also has important foodsecurity implications – cotton by-products can be utilized as animal feed, while cottonseed oil is used for human consumption.

More than 100 stakeholders from the cotton-to-clothing sector, including representatives of the public sector, rural communities, small and medium-sized enterprises and civil society, are involved in defining a series of market-led development priorities to support the strategy.

Zimbabwe’s textile and clothing sector consists of three components: production and ginning of cotton, transformation of lint into yarn and fabric, and conversion of fabric and yarn into garments.

The sector has been affected by an influx  of cheap products from the Far East. Production costs are high and so it can’t compete with imported goods.  The industry should improve on capacity and get an advantage of economies of scale so it can produce more goods to cover its cost and so reduce its prices to compete with imports.




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Thailand hopes to develop as a global leader in fashion and textile design by 2030.The Thailand textile and garment industry has set its sights on becoming a fashion hub for the Asean region. Exports to Asia - including China, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan - now account for only half the country’s total exports.

One problem is a shortage of labor. As a consequence, some of Thailand’s biggest garment manufacturers have moved part of their operations to Myanmar and Cambodia and, to a lesser extent Laos, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

To help the textile and garment industry cope with the changing times, an Overseas Trade & Investment Centre (OTIC) has been established to support manufacturers in setting up off-shore operations, and to help OEM (original equipment manufacturer) companies move to ODM (original design manufacturer) and OBM (original brand manufacturer).

The country also boasts the second largest retail market in south east Asia. To support the implementation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in2015 - a projected single window common market system - Thailand will do away with import duties for AEC member countries and look to become the gateway to Asean.

Looking ahead to 2020, new opportunities for the country are seen under the theme Redefine Globalization: Balanced life, sustainable living.

Picanol has opened a new training centre and a test and shipping area in Belgium.Thetraining centre has three fully equipped training rooms. It allows the company to train technicians of its customers on its weaving machines under optimal conditions.

The new test area replaces the old one and is equipped with 24 test stations. All weaving machines leaving the assembly lines are mechanically and electronically tested in the new test area before they go to the customers.

Following testing and final check, the machines are put on a moving floor, where accessories are added and packaging of the machines is done. After the packaging line, the machines are placed in the buffer zone awaiting shipment.Since the summer of 2014, the shipping area has been housed in a new space with two loading docks and one loading space.

Picanol is an international group that specialises in the production of weaving machines for technical textiles, engineered casting solutions and customised controllers. The weaving machines division developshigh-tech weaving machines based on airjet or rapier technology. The technical fabrics group is a specialised team of product managers and technicians that works towards optimising existing solutions and exploring new applications such as super-wide weaving in the field of technical textiles.

Bangladesh is the second most important supplier to German retail.That position was earlier held by Turkey. And China stays as the most important supplier for Germany.

In 2013 Germany imported almost only textiles from Bangladesh. This development reflects a long-ranging trend. While imports from Bangladesh tripled in the past ten years, imports from Turkey have halved in the same time span.

Germany is Bangladesh’s second-largest export market after the US and the number one trading partner within the European Union. About 95 per cent of imports from Bangladesh are textile products. German exports mainly consist of machines, chemicals and electro-technical products. Over the last four years, shipbuilding has emerged as a new sector in the bilateral trade.

Trade with Germany provides Bangladesh with a substantial annual trade surplus. Germany is an open market with free access for Bangladesh goods, without any import tariffs.

Textiles account for 94 per cent of German imports from Bangladesh, with leather goods (2.3 per cent) and food (2 per cent) in distant second and third places.German companies are investing in Bangladesh, particularly in the textile industry, transport and logistics and building materials sectors.

Vinatex has got permission to sell a combined 24 per cent stake to two domestic property firms, ahead of the state-run firm’s IPO this week.

Vinatex is Vietnam's largest apparel manufacturer and exporter. It will sell 10 per cent of the stake to Vingroup, the country’s third largest listed firm by market value, and 14 per cent to the unlisted Vietnam Investment Development Group.

Vinatex is dominating the Vietnamese textile sector and expects to gain strongly from trade pacts Vietnam is negotiating, including the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Trans-Pacific Partnership has been under negotiation for five years and would make Vietnamese garments more competitive than those of China, currently the biggest textile exporter to the US market. Vietnam is negotiating free trade agreements with the EU, South Korea and other countries.

Vinatex wants to raise registered capital to invest in yarn production, weaving and dyeing and stitching to reduce reliance on Chinese imports and qualify for the TPP’s yarn forward requirement concerning locally made materials.

The company projects a 28 per cent increase in net profit this year. However its profit margin could fall due to rising domestic competition as local firms boost production ahead of the TPP signing.




Exports of cotton from Egypt declined by 69.7 percent in the third quarter of the agricultural season 2013-2014.The drop in cotton exports is attributed to the decrease of cultivated area due to the preference of farmers to grow other crops which are more profitable.Usually the export market witnesses bulk buying from September to January.

Currently the largest importer of Egyptian cotton in the global market is India. Egypt produces medium-long staple long staple and extra-long staple cottons. These cottons produce a wide range of yarn counts needed for the production of fine textiles.In the 1960s and 1970s, Egypt supplied 80 per cent of the world market, but later lost market share to its US competitor, pima cotton.

Egypt’s white gold has seen many ups and downs. For over 30 years, the planting and processing of the crop was monopolized by the government. The government bought the cotton, ginned it and sold it to local producers or exported it. The government set the price paid to the farmer, the export price and the price at which it was sold to local spinners. In 1994, the rules changed with the new cotton sector liberalization law. Farmers were free to decide the crops they wanted to plant and private traders were allowed to buy the crop, gin it and either sell it to local spinners or export it.

The cotton growing area in China is expected to fall 9.4 per cent from the previous year.Due to rising cost and falling profitability of cotton growing and the government’s abolition of its temporary purchasing policy to hold up prices, the cotton growing area in the Yangtze River basin and the Yellow River basin has dropped by a relatively big margin.

Current Chinese cotton stocks are abnormally high, and to reduce these and return to normal levels, China would have to produce less, consume more, or reduce net imports or some combination.

China’s cotton stocks-to-use ratio surged to a record level of 180 percent in 2013-2014. As Chinese textile industry is recovering from its decline in 2013, the demand for cotton is expected to increase by half a million tons from the previous year to 8.5 million tons.

India, another major cotton exporter, is also expected to export only 5.7 million bales in 2014-2015, due to weaker global import demand. In the present scenario, it will be a daunting task for China to implement policies to reduce its cotton stocks, and hence the excess stocks are likely to remain for a while.

Cotton demand in China is expected to exceed its domestic supply by two million tons from September 2014 to August 2015.

Exports of apparel from India shot up by 17.9 per cent during April to August 2014. In the fiscal year 2013-2014, India’s apparel exports increased by 15.7 per cent year-on-year. In August 2014, India’s clothing exports rose 23 per cent compared to August 2013.

In January to July 2014 Indian apparel exports to the US increased by 5.62 per cent year-on-year. Except for Vietnam (13.85 per cent) and India (5.62 per cent), US garment imports saw decline from all major suppliers during the seven-month period over the corresponding period of last year.

During the first half of 2014, India’s clothing exports to the EU surged 16.33 per cent year-on-year. During the period, EU’s total apparel imports increased at 12.63 per cent year-on-year.

In June 2014, garments imports by EU registered an increase of 19.29 per cent compared to the same month of the previous year. During the month, EU registered positive growth in apparel imports from all four top suppliers, with the highest import growth being registered by Bangladesh (33.07 per cent), followed by India (27.17 per cent).

Apparel exports from India have been helped by strong demands in non-traditional markets like Latin America, west Asia, southern Africa and east Asia.

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