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Vietnam is likely to overtake Bangladesh in the global apparel export market share once the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) takes shape. TPP is likely to benefit Vietnam’s apparel industry while hurting South Asian competitors like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Vietnam’s market share in apparel could rise to about 11 per cent up from 4 per cent as of now. 

The TPP free trade grouping consists of Vietnam, along with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and the US. The agreement may come into force this year. But a wave of foreign investment in Vietnam’s textile industry has already begun. Flexible rules of origin requirements would likely result in gains for Korea and Japan, the primary suppliers of textiles to Vietnam’s apparel industry. China and Hong Kong would likely see little impact, as they are big suppliers to Vietnam, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. 

In contrast, Asian suppliers such as India, Pakistan and Thailand, as well as some European countries, would be losers, as they are preferred suppliers to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Negotiations between the US and Vietnam are underway on the terms of trade agreement on apparels. The US is understood to favor yarn forward rules, which implies that all stages of production, starting with yarn spinning, must take place within a TPP country.

Myanmar will host an exhibition for textiles and garments machinery from June 26 to 29, 2015. The exhibits will include textile and spinning machinery and accessories, yarn processing and weaving machines, bleaching and washing machines, cloth processing machines, ironing and steaming equipment, laundry machinery and accessories, dry cleaning equipment, testing equipment and controls, winding machines and textile screen printing machines. 

In addition there will be accessories including zippers, buttons, labels, fasteners, ribbons, badges, linings and interlinings, trimmings, beads, belts and buckles, needles and thread, knives and scissors and grinding machinery. Manufacturers, distributors, dealers, agents, engineers, technocrats, policy makers, importers and exporters and trade associations will be present at the fair. 

Brands from Bangladesh, China, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, UK and Vietnam will take part in the exhibition. Myanmar’s readymade garment sector is still at a nascent stage. However, given the pace of its growth, the sector may turn into a big player for cheap readymade garment products. 

Besides neighboring China and having access to the sea, availability of cheap labor and natural resources is an added factor. The Myanmar government is heavily investing in infrastructure, which may take a couple of years to take shape.

Levi Strauss & Co has settled an investigation through the US International Trade Commission (ITC) over patent infringement regarding certain laser abraded denim garments. Levi’s agreed to the terms with Revolaze and TechnoLines, who filed the complaint, alleging that laser abrasion process technology violates one or more of their patents. 

A spokesperson for Levi Strauss confirmed the case had now been settled but declined to offer further information due to the confidential terms of the case. The complainants requested the ITC issue a general exclusion order, or a limited exclusion order, and cease and desist orders. There are 20 respondents in the investigation, including Gap, H&M, and Abercrombie Fitch. 

Initially, several companies accused claimed laser technology patents were invalid or enforceable. Levi Strauss is one of the world’s leading branded apparel companies, marketing in more than 100 countries worldwide. The company designs and markets jeans and jeans-related pants, casual and dress pants, shirts, jackets, and related accessories for men, women and children. 

Almost 90 per cent of Levi's sales come from menswear. Levi Strauss India gets strong support from the parent company. The iconic American company made its first pair of jeans in 1873. Despite its legendary status, Levi’s is having trouble selling its utilitarian jeans in a market that has embraced denim as a fashion statement.

The apparel market has seen good growth of late. Four of the top 10 supplier countries saw strong double digit growth, including Bangladesh, with China and Vietnam remaining top of the table. The volume of apparel imports from all sources increased five per cent in December. China is the largest supplier followed by Vietnam. Bangladesh, which is at number three in the top 10 league table, saw apparel shipments into the US increase 20 per cent. However, Bangladesh started to see shipments to the US decline in February as buyers relocated orders elsewhere due to factory safety issues and the ongoing political turmoil in the country. 

Indonesia is number four. It saw shipments grow 7.4 percent, rebounding from an 8 percent decline in November. Honduras registered a 2.5 percent year-on-year gain. Increases were also booked by India (up 10.5 per cent), Mexico (up 6.8 per cent) and Pakistan (up 15.6 per cent ). Only Cambodia and El Salvador reported a decline during December. 

China remains a compelling source for apparel buyers as rising prices are largely being offset by productivity gains. No country can match China in terms of the size of its supply base. Vietnam continues to benefit as both producers and buyers diversify their supply chains.

Uganda has signed up for the 'Cotton made in Africa’'(CmiA) initiative with an aim to establish country’s competitiveness in domestic cotton. Around 5,400 farmers from Uganda are benefiting from the ‘Aid by Trade Foundation’ (AbTF) after the Western Uganda Cotton Company (WUCC) and registered cotton farmers were verified by the industry body.

CmiA offers cotton farmers training in modern, efficient and sustainable cotton cultivation methods that allow them to increase the quality of their cotton as well as their crop yields and thereby generate higher incomes, and subsequently improve their living conditions. Uganda joins CMiA aftet Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'IIvoire, Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique partnered with it.

Around 80 per cent of Uganda's population works in agriculture and related industries and cotton cultivation is one of the main sources of income for the peole belonging to the country’s rural regions. In association with Uganda’s first fully integrated textile company, Fine Spinners, CMiA cotton aims to create a fully integrated textile production chain - from the cotton field to the final product.

Milano Unica XX, the Italian textile trade show showcased Spring/Summer 2016 fabric collections at Fieramilano city from February 3 to 5, 2015. Nearly 353 exhibitors including 64 from other Europe, in addition to 34 firms in the Japan Observatory, displayed latest offerings in fabrics. The importance of Europe and the United States, in addition to other consolidated markets was confirmed by an increase in international buyers.

The most significant figures in both percentage and absolute value came from France with over 12 percent rise in visitors and Great Britain with over 9 percent in Europe. Among non-EU countries worth noting were, US with over 10 percent visitors, China with over 13 percent, Japan, over 29 percent and Turkey over 4 percent. However, marked decreases in buyers were seen from Russia with 29 percent, Germany, 12 percent and Spain, below 6 percent. Despite the optimism of the first day, the presence of Italian buyers was in decline too.

Commenting on the show, President, Silvio Albini, said, “We have finally been able to announce positive results in turnover, export and trade balance for the Italian textile sector, even though the international economic scenario is still uncertain. Also the declaration of Carlo Calenda, Vice-Secretary of Economic Development, who announced important financial support for trade fairs promoting 'Made in Italy' and their globalization; in particular, means support for our Italian Textile TradeShow”. 

“Beginning with a complementary and careful selection of production by Japanese exhibitors, we have satisfied new demands from the world of clothing manufacture, greatly appreciated by our traditional exhibitors. Now, our attention shifts to the 7th edition of Milano Unica China, which will be held in Shanghai, March 18-20, 2015. The next edition in Milan, presenting Fall/Winter 2016-17 collections, will take place September 8 to 10, 2015, at the Portello - Fieramilanocity”.

If Pakistan government slaps additional duty on import of cotton yarn from India, the country’s export of value-added textile will dive down from existing $11.49 billion, points out Muhammad Jawed Bilwani, Chairman, Pakistan Apparel Forum. He feels the government by supporting spinning textile sector was creating more financial miseries for value-added textile manufacturers and exporters. There is already a 5 per cent import duty on import of cotton yarn which the industry wants the government should withdraw to facilitate apparel textile export to the world. 

The proposal of imposing additional duty will greatly hamper the cost of doing business of the vital value-added textile sector whose exports earnings are $11.49 billion more than spinners, he stressed. Bilwani further said that the value-added textile sector will be unable to import cotton yarn from India owing to the 5 percent import duty and the proposal of additional import duty, will greatly increase cost of doing business and make it tough for them to face global competition. 

The European Branded Clothing Alliance (EBCA) has asked negotiators of the planned European Union-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership to strike an ambitious agreement. EBCA wants a deal to fully remove tariffs and that either harmonises, or at least leads to, the mutual recognition of standards on clothing and textiles. It wants the EU and the US to work on removing unnecessary testing and move to an international standard for test methods. 

Textile and clothing products are still some of the most tariff-protected goods in both Europe and the US. That is why EBCA and its US counterparts, the American Apparel and Footwear Association and the US Fashion Industry Association, would want the full, immediate and reciprocal dismantling of tariffs. 

EBCA wants to harmonise textile labeling regulations between the EU and the US, reduce the number of compulsory labeling requirements and keep product labels as simple as possible. It wants flexible rules of origin to encourage the trade and investment of companies using global supply chains. 

EBCA is a coalition of European retail clothing brands operating significant global supply chains. It was founded in 2007. Members are committed to upholding rigorous and internationally recognised standards of corporate responsibility across the full range of their operations.

Johnson Controls has extended its global partnership agreement with Lectra for another three years. To preserve and strengthen its position as a market leader, Johnson Controls will acquire all its high ply fabric cutting equipment and related services exclusively from Lectra. Johnson Controls is the world’s largest complete automotive seating supplier. The company supplies over 50 million cars every year from 220 production plants worldwide. 

The continuing collaboration will focus on optimizing the agility of Johnson Controls’ production processes. During the first 10 years of the agreement, Lectra supported Johnson in transforming its automotive trim cutting rooms worldwide. Johnson abandoned traditional die presses in favor of more flexible automated cutting. The adoption of the Vector solution—ideal for high-volume cutting of a wide variety of automotive seat materials—and the resulting increase in production flexibility, throughput and material efficiency provided the seating supplier with a significant advantage in the highly competitive automotive industry. The company will use Lectra’s expertise and technology to reduce the cost per cut piece and deliver on time.

Lectra is the world leader in integrated technology solutions dedicated to industries using soft materials—fabrics, leather, technical textiles and composite materials. It develops the most advanced specialized software and cutting systems.

The next edition of Munich Fabric Start will be held in Germany, September 1 to 3, 2015. The event will be attended by international trade visitors including buyers, fabric specialists, designers and product managers representing famous brands. There will be seminars and workshops on latest trends and sustainability developments. 

This is a specialized fabric fair held twice a year, in February and September. The portfolio ranges from women’s, men’s and children’s wear. The fair is a compressed exhibition by leading exhibitors from around the world. Colors, patterns, prints, materials and accessories for the coming season will be exhibited. From ultra-light materials to high-tech coatings and ready-to-wear fabrics and collections, an extensive product range of fashionable textiles as well as the complete range of suppliers for ribbons, buttons and labels is presented. The fair is accompanied by an extensive program of lectures, panel discussions as well as fashion shows and presentations. 

There will be a new section dedicated to innovative and high-research-inspired fabric collections. This area will host special pop-up projects. It is expected to host about 20 to 25 exhibitors. The new area is expected not only to host denim fabrics, but also jersey, leather and other innovative sportswear materials.

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