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The United States has excluded Swaziland from the list of countries eligible to get benefit under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). A team from the US examined Swaziland’s record with respect to workers’ rights and safety and came to this conclusion. Swaziland located in southern part of Africa will be denied AGOA coverage from January 2015.

AGOA is a US preferential trade program established in May 2000 that provides duty-free access to thousands of products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries. The program offers tangible incentives to sub-Saharan African countries for undertaking difficult political and economic reforms that promote long-term growth and development.

Swaziland came into AGOA in 2001. The Swazi government accepted AGOA eligibility criteria, which include respect for the rule of law, poverty reduction, combating corruption, respect for worker rights and human rights, child labor protection, and market openness.

Swaziland is Africa’s last absolute monarchy. The garment and textile industry in the country employs about 17,000 people, several of whom may now become unemployed as the garments made by them cannot be exported duty free to the US, with the withdrawal of AGOA benefit. The US still hopes to continue engaging Swaziland on steps it can take for treating worker and civil society groups with respect and consideration so that AGOA eligibility can be restored.

Clothing retailer Woolworths is offering jeans made of cotton and recycled plastic bottles. It recently launched Re:Cycled, a range of men’s jeans that contain at least 12 recycled 500 ml plastic bottles. Woolworths works with suppliers to manufacture jeans made with recycled materials. Each pair of jeans contains 65 per cent cotton sourced from various African countries. The remaining 35 per cent of the fabric is polyester made from recycled plastic bottles. This process uses eco-chemicals, reduces water usage by 67 per cent and reduces energy use by 62 per cent, enhancing environmental benefits.

Denim for the jeans is made in Mauritius, where the garments are finished and packed to South Africa. The production process has also been streamlined to lessen its environmental impact. In the past, a pair of jeans, from the beginning of making the fabric to the end product, used 90 liters of water. Now that process uses 35 liters of water.

Denim is considered to be a heavy pollutant in terms of garment manufacturing. It wastes a lot of water. Two years back Levi’s introduced denim made with polyester that comprises recycled plastic bottles. The principle of using recycled goods in clothing manufacture has already taken root with big brands and major fashion labels.

South Korea's trade deficit with China in textiles and clothing reached $1.43 billion in the first five months of this year due mainly to the inflow of cheap goods. In the January-May period, South Korea imported $2.47 billion worth of goods and shipped some $1.04 billion in clothing and textiles. The size of the deficit is 39.8 per cent of the deficit posted for the whole of last year. Since 2002, South Korea has logged a trade deficit with its neighbor.

The chronic trade imbalance stems from cheap Chinese goods making steady inroads into the local market and from moves by South Korean clothing manufacturers that set up operations in China in the past, transferring their production centers to Southeast Asia. Such developments reduced the shipments of yarn, textiles and half-finished products to China. Once made into clothing, these products were shipped to third countries.

The changes caused Vietnam to emerge as South Korea’s top export market for textiles. Up till May of this year, the Southeast Asian market accounted for 16.5 per cent of total textile exports, surpassing China's 15.6 per cent. However, China remains an attractive market with considerable growth potential.

Invista, owner of the Lycra brand, is searching for the designers of the future. For the third year, the Lycra Future Designers Award will be presented at the WGSN Global Fashion Awards in November to a student or graduate who demonstrates outstanding, unique design and innovation talent.


The Lycra Future Designers Award is now inviting entries from the designers. The winning designer will get an opportunity to work with expert mentors at Invista and receive a prize to help the winner invest in a business plan, press and fabrics with Lycra fibre to support the creation of the winning collection. The company is on the lookout for a designer, who can bring fresh ideas, vision and inspiration to the market. To enter, participants must submit designs, including sketches, mood-boards and other supporting material, for a minimum of four and a maximum of six pieces/looks that could be manufactured using Lycra fibre brand products. At least three of the pieces/looks must be intimate apparel, swimwear, active sportswear or hosiery/tights categories.


WGSN 2014 Global Fashion Awards will be judged by a panel of global experts, set to be announced in June. Previous judges included industry influencers Giles Deacon, Stephen Jones, Rankin and Laura Bailey. 

The International Woolmark Prize has announced the panel of judges for the India and Middle East regional final round to be held in Mumbai on July 3. The judges will decide which two emerging fashion brands will go through to the global final for the men’s wear and women’s wear categories.

The India and Middle East regional final judging panel includes: Imran Amed, Founder and Editor, The Business of Fashion, Anthony Kendal, Global Communications Director,  Peter Ackroyd, Global Strategic Advisor, The Woolmark Company, Priyanka Khanna, Senior Fashion Features Editor, Vogue India and Rahul Mishra, 2013/14 International Woolmark Prize winner.

The 2014/15 edition of the International Woolmark Prize sees the competition extended to include a men’s wear award. Two finalists will be selected from each region – one for men’s wear and one for women’s wear. The five men’s wear finalists will meet at London Collections: Men in January 2015 and the five women’s wear finalists will meet in Beijing in March 2015. The five regional awards will be held in Tokyo, Sydney, Paris, Mumbai and New York.

Central America is increasingly nervous about Vietnam's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks, with some experts claiming its inclusion could bring losses of around $6 billion to its bread-winning textiles and apparel sector. An early entrant to the highly controversial, 12-country free trade accord, Vietnam wants flexible rules of origin and zero trade duties as soon as it is signed.

But Central American and US textile executives claim that would be a disaster, robbing the five Central American countries and the Dominican Republic, which make up the DR-CAFTA free-trade zone with the US, of 25 per cent of their exports during the TPP's first year.

In 2013, DR-CAFTA (Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement) countries exported $7.8 billion worth of apparel to the US. Based on that figure, if Vietnam enters the TPP under its request for a non-yarn forward rule, export losses could total nearly $6 billion in the first three years of the TPP.

DR-CAFTA members have teamed with US textile lobbies to ask US Congress to pressure Vietnam to accept a yarn-forward rule of origin forcing it to limit sourcing from the TPP bloc. The partners are also asking that zero tariff benefits would be granted over a number of years.

As per the Foreign Trade Society of Peru (Comex) report, Peru earned $12 million in the first quarter of this year in the form of anti-dumping duty imposed on garments of Chinese origin in December last year. Last December, the National Institute for Defense Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) imposed anti-dumping duties on five types of clothing imported from China.


The state's agency carried out this mechanism in order to neutralize the damage caused to the Peruvian domestic industry due to imports of clothing from China, which entered Peru at dumping prices. Of the five categories, pants and shorts alone accounted for nearly $9million or 74 per cent of the total amount collected between January and March, Comex said.


Anti-dumping duties on imports of pants and shorts are collected at $3.73 per garment, while duties on the other four items range between $0.14 and $1 per garment. These duties are applicable to Chinese clothing which are imported at less than or equal to $6.73 for shirts, $15.98 for trousers and shorts, $4.33 for T-shirts, $1.59 for innerwear and $1.24 for socks.


In 2013, Peru exported textiles and clothing worth $2 billion, of which clothing shipments totaled $1.6 billion, accounting for 80 per cent of the total textile and apparel exports from the country. The United States was the main destination for exports of Peruvian textiles and garments, accounting for 34 per cent of the overall exports of textiles and apparel during 2013.


In order to overcome any possible procedural hassles and also delay and confusion over the communication to beneficiaries on the Textile Upgradation Fund Scheme, the textile ministry has decided to put every thing online. Beneficiaries can check all information from application to sanction of fund and subsidy and related matters with regard to TUF online. Once the software is ready it would be launched.

The online facility will be based on four parts: beneficiaries, bankers, the office of textile commissioner and the ministry. This will ensure no gap in the process from application to sanction. This decision is as a response to problems raised by mills on specific issues including non-receipt of subsidy and the blackout period of the scheme. Of the total sanction of Rs 19,500 crores, there is a committed liability of over Rs 9,500 crores.

Since the industry requires at least Rs 2,500 crores as fund each year, the department has sought additional allocation to meet the demand, so that more mills can be modernised and a competitive edge can be given to the Indian textile industry. Of the 23 lakh power looms, only about 1.25 lakh looms have taken advantage of TUF and other schemes.

Exports of Thai textile and garment products are expected to increase by 3.66 per cent from last year. There is a growing demand for sports outfits as more Thais are turning to physical exercise. At the same time, Thai companies have been assigned to manufacture soccer outfits for 10 teams participating in the 2014 World Cup tournament.

Thai garment and textile exports to the United States and Europe have remained positive despite the US downgrading the country on its human trafficking watch list. This downgrade is not expected to affect trade connections between US and Thai business operators. Business operators are more concerned over trade privileges granted by the European Union under its generalised system of preferences, which expires next year.

Thailand’s textile and garment industry has set its sights on becoming a fashion hub for the ASEAN region. In order to maintain its position in the global apparel industry, Thailand needs to cooperate with ASEAN countries for sustainability. Exports to Asia -- including China, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan -- now account for half the country’s total exports.

Thailand has advantages including strategic location to become a distribution centre of ASEAN, product quality, and an array of educational institutes producing personnel for textiles and design. 

ITMA Asia + CITME 2014 that took place from June 16 to 20, saw a seven percent increase in visitors as against the last edition of 2012. China accounted for 80 per cent of the visitors and over 20  per cent were from overseas, among them India, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, and Turkey.

The Chinese also headed the exhibitor list. There were almost 1,600 exhibitors, reflecting the rapid Chinese textile machinery manufacturing capacity. They were followed by exhibitors from Germany, Japan, Italy and Switzerland. The biggest exhibition sector was spinning, followed by washing, dyeing, bleaching, printing, finishing, knitting and weaving.

Itema launched the new air-jet weaving machine, offering a new benchmark for speed in weaving mills and offering overall savings. The machine is equipped with real time control, the patented system to reduce air consumption by optimising the blowing, and the digital air consumption metering, giving real time access to air consumption data. It features also an automatic nozzle tank pressure setting on the console, and the Itema Productivity Optimisation System, the patented software to increase the productivity of the machine and weave more fabric.  The A9500 e air-jet loom offered the best of efficiency, effectiveness and ease of operation.

The next edition of ITMA Asia + CITME will be October 24 to  28, 2016, Shanghai.

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