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Garment exports from Thailand saw a slump to most major markets in the first quarter of the year. This shows how much damage the ongoing political unrest in the country has caused. Exports edged up just 0.73 per cent in the three months from January to March. But shipments in March declined 2.24 per cent in comparison with the same period last year.


The US remained the biggest export market in the three-month period, accounting for 34 per cent of the total. But exports fell 3.6 per cent on the year before. Likewise, exports to the EU and ASEAN regions saw negative growth of 6.1 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively. However, exports to Japan, Thailand’s third largest customer, rose by 6.94 per cent.


In addition, the country's textile shipments fell 2.43 per cent during the January to March period. Thai garment makers face a problem apart from the unrest in their country. Their country lost access to the EU when it was removed from the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). Thailand was deemed too wealthy to be included in the program. GSP grants low or duty-free access to EU markets for many developing countries.


The group working under the zero discharge of hazardous chemicals (ZDHC) program in the apparel and footwear supply chain has released a ‘Manufacturing Restricted Substance List’ (MRSL). The list sets concentration limits for substances used in chemical formulations during the production of textile materials and trim parts, not just those substances that could be present in finished products. However, natural leather and metal trim parts are currently excluded.


The list has been put together after more than two years of collaboration with leading brands and retailers who have announced their commitment towards the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) group, They include names like Adidas, Burberry, Levi Strauss, Gap, H & M, Inditex, PVH and M&S.


The new restricted substance list is expected to help brands, supply chains and the broader industry to adopt a harmonised approach to phasing out/substituting hazardous substances potentially used and discharged into the environment during manufacturing and related processes. But the concentration limits are designed to eliminate the possibility of intentional use of listed substances and the ZDHC Group expects material suppliers and factories to communicate with their chemical suppliers to stop the use of the listed substances in chemical formulations above the established limits.


Chemicals on the list include substances for which there are existing safer alternatives, including ingredients potentially used in cleaners, solvents, adhesives, stabilizers, paints, inks, detergents, dyes, pigments, auxiliaries, coatings and finishing agents used for wet-processing, maintenance, waste water treatment, sanitation and pest control.


The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals group was formed in 2011 to eliminate the discharge of hazardous substances throughout the production life cycle of apparel and footwear products by 2020.

Pakistan's textile industry, so far bogged down by issues like labour shortage, power and gas prices hike and so on is in a jubilant mood with the government announcing a textile package. The package announced in Budget for 2014-15 includes both short-term and long-term concessional loans, duty-free import of machinery and incentives on technology upgrade, which the segment has long been appealing for.


Most of the incentives announced are related to the value-added textile sector. This depicts the government’s keen interest in increasing the country’s exports of finished textile products, with EU granting GSP+ status to the country. The segment contributes over 50 per cent to Pakistan’s exports. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also announced that textile industry units in the value-added sector would be provided Long Term Financing Facility (LTFF) for technology innovation from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) at the rate of 9 per cent for 3-10 years duration and the mark-up rate for Export Refinance Scheme of SBP has been reduced from 9.4 per cent to 7.5 per cent from July 1, 2014.


The industry has hailed the much needed textile package and expects it to bring positive change to the landscape of the finish goods industry. The textile sector was already enjoying duty-free import of machinery under textile policy 2009-14 but its duration was about to end on June 30, 2014. For the segment to take full advantage of GSP Plus facility in the European Union (EU), the concession has been extended for another two years.


Dar also announced that in future, all admissible refund claims of exporters will be disposed off within three months, if not earlier. In recent months, sales tax refund is one of the biggest concerns of textile exporters that has adversely effected cash flows.

As labour costs in China continue to rise, the country's apparel and textile industry is witnessing export orders move to other sourcing destinations as foreign buyers seek lower-cost manufacturers. This move could be especially damaging for smaller, low-end Chinese manufacturers, leaving China-based orders increasingly concentrated amongst larger companies, according to a report from the China Cotton Textile Association (CCTA). 


“Small to medium manufacturers said their orders dropped sharply during the first quarter of the year, while big manufacturers said they had enough orders to keep them busy,” explains CCTA. In Guangdong province, for instance, the nation's major export-oriented production base, only 22.3 per cent of about 4,600 local manufacturers said they have sufficient orders. While more than 66 per cent said they only had orders for three months' work, according to a survey published in March by the Guangdong Association of Garment and Garment Article Industry (GAGGAI).


The study also revealed that of 4,647 local manufacturers in the province, 574 local manufacturers reported a combined operating loss of 573.40 billion Chinese Yuan, up 13.2 per cent from 2012. That said, the nation's largest province for textile and apparel exports is still making money, as it reported combined profits of 25.8 billion Chinese Yuan, up 19.95 per cent year-on-year.


Also, according to a 2013 report by US consulting company McKinsey, proximity sourcing is becoming more important for certain European and American clothing brands, pushing them to look for manufacturers closer to home than China. As a result, a growing number of big Chinese textile companies are moving parts of their businesses overseas. A recent example has been the Zhejiang province-based Keer Group Co's plans to invest 218 million dollars in building a cotton yarn plant in South Carolina.

Japan's flat knitting machine manufacturer Shima Seiki, together with its UK subsidiary Shima Seiki will hold a private exhibition at their revamped showroom next month. On display will be the cutting edge in flat knitting technology, represented by the latest Wholegarment machine and design system. The exhibition will be a showcase  the company’s diverse line up of its latest computerised flat knitting machines.

The flagship Mach2X series features original SlideNeedle on four needlebeds and is the only machine suited to Wholegarment knitting in all needles. The new compact SWG-N2 series Wholegarment knitting machine offers increased colour capacity as well as the capability for producing industrial textiles. SRY123LP features a pair of loop presser beds mounted above a conventional V shaped needlebed and is capable of producing unprecedented knitwear with woven textures as well as technical textiles. Also SIP flatbed inkjet printing machine will be shown for the first time in the UK. 

The SIP features a height adjustable printing head that allows for printing onto 3D textures, as well as finished products such as Wholegarment items. Combined with the SDS -ONE APEX3 3D design system, a fully integrated manufacturing system realizes full-colour value-added garments to be designed, colour-matched, modeled in 3D, printed and approved with significantly shortened lead times compared with traditional methods.

Demonstrations will also be performed on the APEX3 system that is at the core of the company’s total knitting system concept. With comprehensive support of the knit supply chain, APEX3 integrates knit production into one smooth and efficient workflow from planning and design to machine programming, production and even sales promotion. Virtual Sampling through photo-realistic simulation minimises the need for sample -making, effectively reducing time, material and cost from the sampling process. APEX3 also supports design and simulation in various other industries such as circular knitting, weaving, pile weaving and printing.

Also on display will be the latest collection of seam-free Wholegarment knitwear that feature superior fit, comfort and draping characteristics. New solutions in knitwear design, shaping techniques and material selection will be also be presented.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has named Juanita D. Duggan its CEO, replacing Kevin M Burke, who left the organization in January after 13 years. Burke is currently president and chief executive of the Airports Council International–North America.


Duggan is a longtime lobbyist who most recently served as policy director at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. During her tenure at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Duggan worked with a range of clients, including some in the retail sector. From 1998 to 2006, she served as president and CEO of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America. She led WSWA to victory with the 21st Amendment Enforcement Act, a law that reinforced the Constitution’s grant of authority to states over alcohol regulation. Duggan has the ability to lead organizations, develop coalitions, and successfully manage complex lobbying efforts and public affairs campaigns.


The American Apparel and Footwear Association is based in Virginia. It was formed in August 2000 through the merger of the American Apparel and Manufacturers Association and the Footwear Industries of America. Drawing from a broad, strong membership base, AAFA is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear, and other sewn products companies, which compete in the global marketplace.

The 30th edition of the World Fashion Convention organized by International Apparel Federation (IAF) to provide a meeting point and platform for entrepreneurs of the fashion system from all over the world would begin on September 29 in Medellin, this year. In association with Inexmoda, the event would focus on the strengths of the Latin American fashion. The IAF is giving out a 20 per cent early bird discount till July 24 for registration.


This year, the theme and topic of discussion is ‘Understanding the Challenges of the Fashion Business’, based on the fact that the fashion system today changes much faster than a decade ago and the need to understand and adapt to the challenges facing us today.


The event is held annually in a different continent. In previous years the convention has been hosted by major cities such as Milan, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Washington, Istanbul, San Francisco, Porto and Shanghai among others, with more than 200 executives attending it every time. The focus of the event has always been the fashion business, including branding, marketing and management of the supply chain.

The United States is keenly following and negotiating for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) with 11 other Asia-Pacific countries including Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. When the trade agreement gets through, it is expected to open markets, set high-standard trade rules, and address 21st-century issues in the global economy apart from boosting employment prospects in the United States and across the Asia-Pacific region.

The TPP agreement would open wide opportunities for American manufacturers, workers, service providers, farmers, and ranchers – to support job creation and wage growth. The government is working hard to ensure that TPP will be a comprehensive deal, providing new and meaningful market access for goods and services; strong and enforceable labour standards and environmental commitments; groundbreaking new rules designed to ensure fair competition between state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private companies; commitments that will improve the transparency and consistency of the regulatory environment to make it easier for small- and medium-sized businesses to operate across the region.

It will also provide a robust intellectual property (IP) rights framework to promote innovation, while supporting access to innovative and generic medicines and an open Internet; and obligations that will promote a thriving digital economy, including new rules to ensure the free flow of data.

US textile and apparel manufacturers sold more than $10 billion worth of products to TPP countries in 2013, an increase of 5.4 percent from the previous year.  Many US yarns, fabrics, and apparel currently face tariffs as high as 20 per cent upon entering some TPP countries. Through TPP negotiations, these tariff and non-tariff barriers to textile and apparel exports will be eliminated to enhance the competitiveness of producers in the Asia-Pacific region. 

The last edition of Denim by Premiere Vision in Barcelona held from May 21-22, 2014, Sportswear International organized a series of initiatives in collaboration with the show. The two partners drew up a survey of opinions gathered through interviews with key insiders and personalities of denim and jeans wear markets.

The research, it undertook threw up a composite vision of the market from its present state of the art up to its future evolution, including major upcoming trends. A part of the analysis also focused on first impressions collected at the debut of Denim by PV in Barcelona and on opinions about the Sportswear International magazine. These two sections of the survey were issued to get a better understanding of what insiders are increasingly looking for and what they expect from two important players of the jeans wear and denim panorama.

When asked to describe the present denim market many were optimistic and described it as a phase of recovery, focusing on new technologies and reactivity. They expect the global denim market size to grow, even if major geographical areas will not change significantly. Comfort and additional performance will continue to be key elements, which will characterize the evolution of jeans wear, though wearable technology on the one side and sustainability on the other will become requirements.

Apart from tattoo, glittery look and bell bottom jeans, many pointed out that stretch, super stretch and skinny jeans will never go out of fashion. Others recognized that masculine denims will become the real new must-have for women, sustainability will grow in importance, and many will return to the origins.

Bangladesh finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith has proposed reduction of supplementary duty rates on fabrics, garments and clothing accessories. The Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act 2012 is scheduled to be implemented from July 2015.

The Budget proposes to reduce supplementary duty on woven fabrics  from the existing 30 per cent to 20 per cent, on most knitted or crocheted fabrics from 45 per cent to 30 per cent, on track suits and other garments from 45 per cent to 30 per cent, and on various clothing accessories from 60 per cent to 45 per cent. The target growth for the next fiscal year 2014-15 has been pegged at 7.3 per cent, which would increase to 10 per cent by 2021. To achieve this target, a number of measures, including stimulus packages, will be taken for readymade garments and other sectors to add further momentum to the export sector.

The Budget also names the garment industry among the six priority sectors identified for imparting training of international standards over a period of three years. The FM has proposed reduction of tax at source from 0.80 per cent to 0.30 per cent for garment exports. For the textile sector, in addition to the facilities given in the previous budget, the proposed budget has reduced duty to five per cent from the existing 10 per cent for a few raw materials used in this sector.

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