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Imports of denim fabrics into the US have been constantly falling over the last two decades. There was a boost in imports when premium denim boom happened in the mid 2000s . But that peaked out in the 2005-07 period. Now there is hardly any strong reason for imports to pick up for the US unless production of local denim fabrics falls further.

Imported quantities have decreased by about 20 per cent. However, there has also been an increase in average price of the imported fabrics at about 8 per cent despite decreased quantities. This is also indicative that imports of premium denim fabrics seem to be sustaining better over lower priced denims.

Denim fabric imports fell by about 18 per cent in the first four months of 2014 compared to a similar period in 2013. Quantities of denim fabrics imported from around the world reduced from almost all major exporting countries including China, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan. China remains the highest exporter to the US for its fabrics. Mexico, Japan, Taiwan and Italy come next in the rankings and export some quantities to the US. These fabrics are mainly used for premium denim products made in the US. But as has been seen imports have been falling continuously for a few years.


Spinners worldwide are concerned over cotton's quality as the market is likely to be flooded with some cotton which has been stored in warehouses for a long period. They might be eagerly anticipating a period of lower prices for their raw material. This was discussed at the recent ITMF Conference in Beijing and the ICAC Plenary Meeting in Thessaloniki, with experts warning that stockpiled cotton can degrade over time. Quality problems are inevitable; color loss (‘yellowing’) and deterioration of spinning quality are the biggest concerns. Accurate testing with USTER® HVI 1000 is the only sure way to check that cotton supplies are fit for purpose. Against a background of inventory levels which have risen over recent years, prices on world cotton markets look set to fall. It is estimated that more than 100 million bales are in warehouses around the world – a stockpile which would supply the entire textile industry for a whole year. China, the largest single cotton-consuming country, alone has more than half of this total inventory (62 million bales), which would be enough for two years of domestic textile needs. 

Long storage affects qualitycotton 1

It is a known fact that raw cotton quality declines over time, even when stored in good conditions. The big issue is loss of color, often referred to as ‘yellowing’. Cotton may come into the warehouse with excellent quality ratings but over time color degradation will take its toll on quality levels stored for long periods. Hence, special attention is required to be paid to cotton sourced from areas with enormous production but poor storage options.

In case Chinese spinners are aware that this cotton may have been in the warehouse for as long as three years, they might baulk at the potential quality risks it carries. In those circumstances, some of these supplies might be unloaded to world markets – spreading the risks to spinners everywhere.

In cotton buying and selling negotiations, color grade is a key driver. That is because a number of serious fabric faults can be traced back to color grading issues. It is essential that spinners know exactly the correct color data for every cotton purchase, so they can ensure that mixing of the bales at the start of the spinning process is appropriate for the yarn quality being produced.

Extensive testing of color degradation of cotton under various environmental conditions has resulted in clear evidence of the seriousness of the problem. If cotton is stored in a cool and dry warehouse, an ideal storage environment, for more than a year it will start to degrade. If conditions are unsuitable – a hot and humid warehouse, for example – the ‘yellowing’ will occur after only six weeks. 

Awareness among spinners

Most spinners are aware of the risk of color grade loss with cotton that has been in long-term storage. It may be impossible for them to check on the detailed warehousing environment of cotton purchase. The defect known as barré is an unwanted striping effect in woven or knitted fabric, which becomes visible only during fabric manufacture or even at dyeing – the worst possible times to detect off-quality. The barré effect can be caused directly by inaccurate color grade data, often taken from outdated bale tags.

Re-testing raw cotton samples before making a purchase decision is the solution for spinners is effective cotton classing. For this, the USTER® HVI 1000 is the globally-accepted instrument, used to set cotton calibration standards by the world’s leading cotton authorities, including USDA in the USA, CFIB in China and many other national bodies. The HVI provides fast and accurate data on color grade levels, so that spinners can compare quality data from bale tags with their own test results. Not only does it give them security that their cotton purchase is good value, it also helps to determine the optimum mix of qualities for the start of the spinning process.




hailand should quickly negotiate and conclude a Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement with Europe in the absence of a Generalized System of Preferences offered by the European Union, says Suttinee Poopaka, Executive Director, Thailand Textile Institute. Suttinee feels Thailand should not only to conclude an FTA agreement with Europe as soon as possible but boost its production competitiveness too in its textiles and garments.

Due to competitiveness, many Thai manufacturers have now relocated their production units to neighboring countries like Cambodia, which still enjoys GSP privileges. It is pertinent to note that the European Union has cut GSP privileges to several countries, including Thailand, since January 1 after the World Bank redefined them as upper-middle income countries from 2011 to 2013. Due to which Thailand has to pay high duty as much as 12 per cent for products exported to the EU, impacting the country’s competitiveness with countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar which still enjoy GSP privileges.

Announcing the Textile Policy for 2014-19, the Pakistan government has put forward its vision to double textiles exports from the current $13 billion to $26 billion besides creation of three million new jobs. The implementation of Textile Policy requires a financial package of around Rs 65 billion in five years. The finance division will provide Rs 40.6 billion while the rest of over Rs 23 billion will be arranged through Planning Commission and Export Development Fund.

The mark-up rate for Export Refinance Scheme of State Bank of Pakistan was reduced from 9.4 to 7.5 per cent with effect from July 1, 2014 while discount on bank interest would be given at 2 per cent as compared to the existing rate. Textile industry in the value added sector would be provided Long Term Financing Facility (LTFF) for up-gradation of technology by SBP at 9 per cent interest for 3 to 10 years.

Textile sector enjoyed duty free import of machinery under textiles Policy 2009-14. This facility (SRO 809) has been extended for another two years. Technology Up-gradation Fund for SMEs, will be extended for the policy period as well. A committee has been constituted regarding EDF which would resolve the issue in one month where textile ministry is likely to get its due share.

The Textiles Policy (2014-19) is based on actionable plans to make textile sector more competitive, robust, goal-oriented and sustainable. It envisages vital measure like budgetary support to the textile sector, enabling policy environment, sectoral strategic plan, marketing initiatives, revitalising projects and capacity building of the ministry and stakeholders, with a view to improving productivity and competitiveness of the entire textile value chain and to achieving the following goals during the next five years.

Under the policy value addition would be doubled from $1billion per million bales to $2 billion; facilitating an additional investment of $5 billion in machinery and technology for the machinery import. According to the policy, clusters would be systematically developed and existing clusters will be strengthened, vocational training of workers, 0.12 million internships and different programs for enhancement of skills and higher per capita productivity would be introduced.

UBM Asia has forayed into the digital textile printing market with the acquisition of ‘China (Shanghai) International Printing Industry Expo (CSTPF)’ from SUNEXPO. CSTPF launched in 2009, has over the last six years evolved into an important gathering for the digital textile printing sector and related industry professionals.

The demand for revolutionary printing technology from leather, glass, ceramic, carpet and other downstream sectors and the continuous innovation in digital printing technology have led to imports of advanced equipment and technology from abroad and the expansion of the overseas market for printed products the next development targets for the digital textile printing industry in China. Having stronghold in China, India and Malaysia as the biggest tradeshow organizer, the acquisition of CSTPF has led UBM Asia into a new sector of immense potential. The UBM Asia and CSTPF teams will work in close collaboration to build the most influential and authoritative international exhibition in the field of digital textile printing.

Gong Changming, General Manager of CSTPF will continue to lead the CSTPF staff and the team will move into the UBM China Shanghai office. The next CSTPF will be held at the Shanghai New International Expo Center, China from April 14-16, 2015.

Exports of readymade garments from Bangladesh in the first seven months of the current fiscal year have grown due to demand from countries like Australia, Russia, China, Brazil and South Korea. Total apparel exports in the seven months from July 2014 to January 2015 edged up 1.98 per cent in value terms.

Shipments to Australia were up 17.4 per cent, to Japan up 12.5 per cent, to China up 14.7 per cent, to the Russian Federation up 12 per cent, to Brazil up 12.2 per cent, to South Korea up 18.9 per cent, to India up 16 per cent and to South Africa up 16 per cent. In contrast, shipments to the US slipped 3.4 per cent in value.

But while Bangladesh’s total export value is marginally ahead of last year, it still falls short of the target set for the period. For fiscal 2014-15, Bangladesh had set an export target for knitwear and for woven garments. In the seven months knitwear exports are 2.6 per cent ahead of last year, but 2.9 per cent behind target. Woven garment exports are up 1.2 per cent but 5.1 per cent behind plan. US imports from Bangladesh rose for the first time in almost a year in December.

The textile and garment machinery exhibition held in Dhaka from February 4 to 7, 2015 saw exhibitors get orders worth more than $200 million. More than 30,000 local and international visitors visited the exposition. Around 880 exhibitors from about 32 countries and regions showcased a wide array of state-of-the-art textile and garment technologies, machinery and parts. Some 1,060 booths exhibited products of leading brands at the fair.

The expo introduced latest machines and technology to the country's textile and garment industry’s supply chain that includes spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing, printing, finishing, testing, washing, embroidery, sewing, and other related equipment.

It was the ideal platform for local exporters to come in contact with relevant manufacturers, regional agents and wholesalers to source high quality machinery, equipment and materials under a single roof. Besides the host Bangladesh, other countries represented at the fair include: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the UK, the USA and Vietnam.

BTMA and Chan Chao International and Yorkers Trade and Marketing Service of Taiwan jointly organised the expo which is regarded a mini version of the big regional exhibition, ITMA.

Tirupur’s knitwear hub South India has recorded a 19 per cent rise in exports in rupee terms to touch Rs 15,000 crores during the first nine months from April-December, of the current fiscal. With around 7,000 units out of which 85 per cent are small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the region’s exports in dollar terms were 18 per cent for the period under review.

As per A Sakthivel, President of the Tirupur Exporters Association (TEA), the export figure was arrived at after consolidating the bank-wise export data collected from banks. Now the players are optimistic about crossing the export figure of Rs 21,000 crores by March 2015, provided the industry is able to maintain the same growth trend in the fourth quarter. By 2016-17, exports are expected to reach Rs 36,000 crores, almost double the figure achieved in 2013-14.

Exporters from Tirupur have appealed to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in a pre-Budget memorandum to address issues like announcement of three per cent interest subvention on rupee export credit, import of specialty fabrics without payment of duty under Export Performance Certificate Scheme and speedy initiation of FTAs with EU and Canada.

Power loom units in India will get a subsidy for upgradation. There will be no restrictions on the number of units eligible for receiving these benefits. These benefits will be given across the board to improve the quality of the product.

Of the over 20 lakh looms, only 1.25 lakh are fully mechanized. At present only a maximum of eight power looms can receive a subsidy of Rs 15,000 each under the scheme, which is also available only in select weaving clusters, like Erode and Salem. The idea is to help poor weavers and make weaving contribute significantly to the growth of the Indian textile industry.

Since 95 per cent of the textile machinery is being imported, there are lots of opportunities for entrepreneurs and the demand for looms can be met by domestic players. Though weaving is one of the important sectors for the Indian textile industry, it has not been given due attention unlike the spinning sector. The weaving sector consists of fragmented, small and often un-registered units that invest low amounts in technology and practices especially in power loom, processing, handloom and knits.

India has the world’s largest installed base for looms. The power loom sector produces more than 60 per cent of the cloth in India.

Britain's textile industry is forecasted to create 20,000 jobs in the next five years as a result of re-shoring of production and growth areas, including material for vehicles and aircraft. Apparel exports doubled in the decade to 2013, with 5,000 jobs created in that year alone. But a shortage of skilled staff and insufficient funding for investment could slow growth.

The UK is the 15th largest textile manufacturer in the world. Higher wages in Asia, and the trend for fast fashion, with customers favoring UK manufacturers, are expected to add to domestic sales. The advanced textile sector, which makes lightweight carbon fiber and other materials, has also provided a boost to clothing manufacturing. F1 cars are woven on the same jacquard loom as a wedding dress.

Online retailers buy all their clothes in the UK to ensure quick turnaround time. Other retailers sourcing more supply from the UK include Marks & Spencer. However, fast fashion can also result in small, uneconomic runs. Some retailers also treat suppliers poorly, with long payment terms or by demanding discounts. The micro businesses driving growth often lack money to invest and scale up. However, all accept that mass production of cheap clothes and household goods is unlikely to return.

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