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Cotton farmers in Zimbabwe are going through troubled times. In the past they could pick cotton and get good earnings but after 1990 things have started getting worse. The liberalisation policies brought about by the 1990s economic reforms imposed limits on most cotton growers. They are no longer motivated to grow cotton.

It has become increasingly difficult to make decisions to grow cotton, to obtain credit, to hire labor as well as all productive activities, harvesting, delivery, and stalk removal. Many cotton growers can no longer afford to hire labor to spray insecticides in their field crop. Most have accused ginners, who contract them to produce cotton, for being insensitive and buyers for offering poor prices. As a result, cotton output has declined. Farmers shifted to tobacco production, which offers better prices.

Cotton is no longer the white gold that farmers once sought. Problems include poor market prices, high production costs, migration of young people to neighboring countries and high labor costs. In 1991, when the government liberalised the economy and began introducing reforms, thousands of cotton farmers were placed at the mercy of international commodity markets. Government subsidies were scrapped and small-scale cotton producers who could once depend on a meager but stable rate of return, now found themselves unable to viably grow the crop.

Serge Piolat has been elected president of Euratex (European Apparel and Textile Confederation) for the period 2015-2016.  Piolat , 63, is co-owner of Schappe, a French group of companies specializing in the production of technical spun yarns supplied to various industrial sectors. He was a member of Euratex board of directors since 2009 and acted as vice-president since 2011.

He wants to work toward strengthening and consolidating Euratex as the single European voice of textile and clothing industry. In the following year, he would like also to focus on a number of strategic priorities, among them enhancing the competitiveness of European manufacturing and lobby for a genuine European industrial policy, increasing knowledge and access of companies to European programs, achieving concrete results in market access across the world and promoting a level playing field in international competition.

Piolat also wants to ensure adequate inclusion of technical textiles, new technologies and assembling methods in Europe and increase communication on the excellence of European products notably with respect to environment, consumer safety.

Euratex is the European confederation representing the interests of the European textile and clothing industries. Euratex's member federations directly or indirectly represent, in the EU, some 1,86.000 companies of an industry employing 1.8 million workers. The companies which are overwhelmingly small and medium-sized enterprises cover a broad industry cross-section in terms of product, market segment and geographical spread.

The Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) has begun court proceedings against companies for violating laws preventing the exploitation of freelance workers. Nearly 23 clothing companies will join the ranks of over 170 others previously taken to court by the TCFUA for failing to abide by minimum legal standards in the clothing industry.


Textile, clothing and footwear freelance workers in Australia, almost uniformly migrant women, labor at home at the end of long and complex supply chains. They are particularly vulnerable to exploitation given the hidden nature of their work and their isolation. Despite their high level of skill, most are forced to work long hours for very low wages.


The law imposes obligations on the whole supply chain to make transparent where work is being done, by whom and under what conditions. TCFUA is fighting for supply chain transparency. Without supply chain transparency, it is impossible to identify sweatshops, how much workers are being paid and whether other labor standards are being complied with.  TCFUA wants to ensure that sweat shop workers and freelance workers receive their minimum legal wages and entitlements. It has called on companies to embrace ethical manufacturing of beautiful clothes in Australia.

Kim Glas, one of the top trade policy advisors to the Obama Administration on textiles, apparel, and footwear, has announced her decision to step down. Glas was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Textiles, Consumer Goods and Materials and chair of the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA).


Glas has overseen programs and strategies to improve the domestic and international competitiveness of US textiles, apparel, consumer goods, metals and mining forest products, and chemicals and plastics manufacturing sectors and industries. In her role as chairman of CITA, she supervised the negotiation and implementation of textile and apparel agreements.


Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Glas served more than 10 years as a professional staff member in the US House of Representatives. She was known for her open-door policy and her willingness to listen to issues raised by the industry.


 The Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements is responsible for matters affecting textile trade policy and for supervising the implementation of all textile trade agreements. CITA negotiates and administers provisions of free trade agreements; implements the short supply, wool provisions, and other aspects of the Trade Preference Acts; and takes textile and apparel safeguard actions, when appropriate, under the World Trade Organization.

Interstoff Asia Essential-Autumn 2014 is set to return from September 25 to 27 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The fair was attended by 174 exhibitors from Asia and Europe in the last autumn edition. This year too it will continue to display the latest fashionable, functional and eco fabrics and garment accessories.


The four Asian pavilions: China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, will bring exhibit high-quality fashionable, functional and eco products. With a wide selection of fabrics on display, last edition of Interstoff drew together 6,788 trade visitors.


Other than offering high-quality products, the show will also forecast the next season’s trends. The activities during the exhibition would include fabrics display, seminars and runway shows. A trend forecaster, Elementi Moda from Italy, will use fabrics sponsored by exhibitors to visualise the four themes in the Trend Forum, which helps buyers to find the fabrics they are looking for. Kai Chow, Creative Director at Doneger Creative Services – a trend forecasting agency in the US was also the lead designer of the Trend Forum and the Trend Guide during the spring show.

Over 700 international fashion buyers from at least 35 countries are expected to attend Colombiamoda 2014 in Medellin, Colombia, from July 22 to 24, 2014. Colombiamoda is Latin America’s fashion event, consisting of runway shows and business meetings with industry heavyweights from around the world. The event is in partnership between Inexmoda, Colombia’s Institute for Export and Fashion, and Proexport Colombia, the government agency looking after promoting trade, investment and tourism.


The goal of July’s event will be to further globalize Colombia’s economy and utilize the country’s FTAs. In order to do this, a number of conferences focused on the subject, business meetings and subsector events will be included in the Colombiamoda program. Additionally, Proexport will debut a new online tool that allows buyers and exporters to secure meetings in real-time.


Buyers from countries such as the US, Canada, Ecuador, France, Chile, Japan and others, representing global companies such as Under Armour, Galeries Lafayette and Perry Ellis International have already confirmed their presence. Among the product categories on display will include jeans, sportswear, formal styles, underwear, kids’ clothes, uniforms, swimwear and shape wear. Building on the success of past events, Colombiamoda will include segments like industrial uniforms and safety clothing, as well as two new pavilions: household textiles and technical textiles.


Buyers from the US and Canada have established good business propositions during Colombiamoda in past years. For example, there were 43 per cent more Canadian buyers at Colombiamoda in 2013 than the previous year, generating business expectations of more than five million dollars. These expectations benefitted from the lowered tariffs of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which came into effect in 2011.

Bangladeshi business leaders have decided to appeal to their Chinese counterparts to increase apparel imports from Bangladesh, helping to raise the share to at least 10 per cent. As of now, the country imports less than one per cent from Bangladesh of the total apparel product imports of worth 30 billion dollars annually.


If the country increases its share of imports from Bangladesh to 10 per cent then Bangladesh’s apparel exports to China would reach 3 billion dollars in a year. Bangladesh's apparel shipment amounted to 21.51 billion dollars in 2013 financial year, with North America and the European Union being major destinations. On the other hand, Bangladesh runs a massive trade deficit with China, which imported goods worth only 485 million dollars against its exports of 6.3 billion dollars in 2013 fiscal.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to visit China from June 6- 11, 2014aiming to increase Chinese cooperation in the field of trade, investment and socio-economic development of the country. A total of 70 businessmen will be accompanying the prime minister during this visit.


Bangladeshi businessmen would also attend 9th China-South Asia Business Forum and 2nd China-South Asia Expo in Kunming under Yunan province of China  from June 6-7, 2014 to discuss issues relating to investments and expansion of trade between the two countries.

Despite the string of tragic incidents in Bangladesh RMG units last year, Woolworths continued to place clothing orders with a Bangladeshi company whose textile factory burnt down last year, killing seven workers. It has published a list of names and addresses of 52 supplier factories in Bangladesh, from whom it sources products, which have drawn international scrutiny for its string of industrial disasters.


The decision by Woolworths to reveal its source factories has put pressure on other retailers to do the same. Kmart was the first Australian company to list its Bangladeshi suppliers, late last year. It has since added factories in Cambodia, India and Indonesia. Target has decided to publish its factory list this year, with Indian and Chinese factories to follow. It is a signatory of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. The Cotton On Group, also a signatory, said publishing the list was on its priority. Pacific Brands, with brands such as Bonds and Berlei also plans to post a list this year. As a signatory, it disclosed its Bangladeshi suppliers to the accord, which later published a broader list. The Just Group, with brands such as Just Jeans and Portmans, has signed the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and has not published the list of factories.


Sixth on Woolworth’s list is Aswad Composite Mills unit two in Savar, a subsidiary of Palmal Group, one of Bangladesh's biggest clothing manufacturers. Aswad's Gazipur factory burnt down in October and seven workers died after a heating chimney caught fire. Woolworths, which owns Big W, at the time could deny that it had sourced fabric from Aswad in Gazipur because it ordered through Palmal. Woolworths said the Aswad factory on its list did not refer to the one gutted by the fire, and that in the month of the tragedy it had become a signatory of the legally binding Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, designed to prevent further disasters.


The Gazipur factory also made fabric for Kmart, Target, and Just Group. The Aswad fire was the latest in a series of industrial disasters in Bangladesh's massive but poorly-regulated garment industry. Five fires and building collapses killed more than 1200 workers in the 12 months to last October.

The five day forum organised this spring, attracted nearly 40 participants from the China Cotton Association, top Chinese spinning mills, the Taiwan Textile Federation, the Taiwan Spinners’ Association, and Taiwanese spinning mills. The topic was automation in the spinning industry based upon the lack of skilled labour and sustainable development, including discussion sessions on automation realisation, product innovation and spinning mills’ core competency. A subsequent plant visit was arranged to the highly automated spinning mill of Far Eastern New Century Corporation.


<br> Since 1998, the Far Eastern New Century Corporation Hukou Mill has adopted the fully automatic Rieter system, including ring spinning machines (70000 spindles) and rotor spinning machines (2800 rotors). To ensure perfect product appearance and efficiency, the company integrated the whole process, from fibre preparation to stocking and delivering products with highly automated equipment like link systems between roving, ring and winding, automation transportation system for laps, silver cans, yarn bobbin, automatic packing and stocking warehouse.


Even after running for 16 years, the machines still remain in a fairly good condition. After launching Rieter spinning machines, the manpower went down to 10 operators/10000 spindles and production efficiency 5 per cent higher than that of the peers, and the stable Com4®yarn quality is well recognised by their customers. And that’s why the company ordered another nine Rieter R 60 fully automatic rotor spinning machines (3600 rotors) in 2012.


Representatives from top mainland spinning enterprises, like Esquel Group and Huamao Group were impressed by the Taiwanese spinning mill management experience and concept of total automation in the spinning mill.

The textile and apparel industry in Indonesia must work towards improving its competitiveness in face of increasing trade cooperation agreements between nations and globalization of the world trade, Director General of Industrial Manufacturing (BIM) Harjanto said while inaugurating the Uniform and Workwear Fair 2014, organized by the Ministry of Industry in Jakarta.


The textile and clothing industry is one of the strategic sectors that continue to make a significant contribution to Indonesia’s economy, in the form of providing employment as well as earning foreign exchange, Harjanto said.


The textile industry in Indonesia absorbs a large amount of workforce. In 2013, about 1.55 million people were engaged in the country’s textile sector and around 570,000 people were employed in the garment sector. In recent years, the garment sector has become one of the highest foreign exchange earning sectors for the country and in 2013, the value of garment exports reached 7.3 billion dollars, or 60 percent of the country’s total textile exports.


Harjanto said the increase in the value of Indonesia’s clothing exports is the result of hard work an innovation of the textile industry in the face of increasingly intense global competition. The existence of trade cooperation agreements with other countries also makes trade competitive, and this challenge must be addressed carefully by the textile industry by improving production efficiency and marketing strategies, he added.

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