Issue 465  | April 20, 2018
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The WRAP Blog
By:
Darlene Ugwa

Welcome to The WRAP Weekly newsletter.  Feel free to look around and thank you for being a loyal reader.


The WRAP Up
This week, we certified 33 factories in 12 countries:

 Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Lesotho, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Philippines, and Vietnam



A Message from WRAP in Commemoration of the 5th Anniversary of the Rana Plaza Tragedy

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This Week's Headlines


Bangladesh
SternA report by New York University (NYU) Stern Center for Business and Human Rights states that the estimated cost to remediate remaining dangerous conditions in Bangladeshi garment factories is around US $1.2 billion. The report urges shared responsibility among all stakeholders to solve the issue. The Director of the Stern Center commented that while great advancements have been made with regards to fire safety and building structure upgrades, many subcontracting units still pose a threat to thousands of workers.  ( Just Style )
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According to a survey by Action Aid Bangladesh, based on a sample of 200 of the 1,400 survivors of the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013, 48.7% of the survivors have not worked in the past six months due to physical and mental hindrances. Of the number that did return to work and are employed, 21.6% returned to the garment industry while many others found work as day laborers. ( Financial Express)

Better Buying and Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) are collaborating on an 18-month program that will promote responsible buying practices within the garment supply chain. The program will have Bangladeshi suppliers anonymously evaluate their buyers. They will use an online platform to provide feedback to buyers about their purchasing practices, so that strengths and weaknesses can be detailed to allow for improvement from the side of the brands. ( Just Style)
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Several hundred ready-made garment (RMG) workers demonstrated against their termination from the Hydroxide Knitwear Ltd. factory in Gaizpur. According to the President of the National Garments Workers Federation, on April 5, approximately 400 workers were terminated without prior notification when a jacquard machine was installed in the factory. The former workers are demanding immediate reinstatement and a withdrawal of a case that was filed against 57 of the protesting workers by the factory. 
China
ChinaAlthough no action has been taken towards the proposed trade tariffs between China and the US, there is some talk in China of proposing a boycott of American products in retaliation. This tactic has been used before by China's citizens against Japanese, South Korean and Philippine products and brands. There are over 40 American companies in the country, including Nike, Apple, and Procter and Gamble, which all serve the Chinese market. Many argue that the two countries are dependent on each other, as US multinational corporations have invested greatly in the Chinese economy and in return, the US also relies on the Chinese market for its business. ( The New York Times)

India
IndiaAccording to data from the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S), India's 2017-2018 apparel exports dropped 3.83% compared to the previous cycle. The drop went from US $17.382 billion in fiscal year 2016-2017 to $16.716 billion this past year. The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) chairman commented that India's apparel export industry is "not only stagnating but heading towards recession." ( Fibre2Fashion)

There is a textile crisis in India and many millowners in southern India are considering limiting production by up to 20% in the near future. There will be a meeting of millowners in Coimbatore on April 24 to make a final decision. Nearly 15 mills were not able to pay their workers' wages in the last month and millowners were forced to sell their product at a loss in order to meet other obligations. ( The Hindu)

According to data from India's commerce ministry, India's trade deficit with China has more than tripled over a ten-year span. The amount rose from US $16 billion to $51 billion with India's imports from China at six times its exports. India might gain from the proposed trade tariffs between the US and China since China can now look to them to import items like cotton, soy beans, and corn, thus closing some of that deficit. ( Bloomberg Quint)

Pakistan
Pakistani denim manufacturer, Artistic Fabric and Garment Industries (AFGI), believes it has developed breakthrough technology that will result in zero waste water from dyeing and finishing of denim fabric. The Karachi based company has a goal of recycling 65% of daily water consumption and they believe their technology will use the minimum required amount of water but will not compromise the quality and look of their products.  ( Just Style)
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Sweden
Global brand H&M is launching an initiative in Spring 2018 called 'Take Care' with the hopes of encouraging customers to extend the lifespan of their clothing through reusing, repairing, and recycling. This program falls into place with the brand's mission of becoming "climate positive" within their entire supply chain by 2040. ( Fibre2Fashion)

United Kingdom
Intertek, an assurance, inspection, and certification company, has launched an online platform, Inlight Network, which allows inquiring consumers and brands to evaluate the level of compliance and audit results from user of the Intertek's Supplier Verification Audit Programme. It provides an opportunity for the suppliers to share with their buying partners their complete compliance business profile and brands can use the platform to increase transparency within their supply chain. ( Just Style)
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United States
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), global consumption of cotton has risen 5% from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018. Despite increasing consumption, in the 2017-2018 period, production will surpass consumption for the first time in three years. China currently accounts for one-third of global use and consumption is expected to rise for India and Pakistan. ( Fibre2Fashion)

The United States Department of Labor has found RK Apparel Inc, a US garment manufacturer, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The investigation revealed that factory workers were paid below the federal minimum wage, with some receiving pay as low as $4 per hour. Employees were also required to work up to 58 hours a week but did not receive overtime pay for any time over 40 hours per week as per federal law. The manufacturer has been temporarily restrained from shipping to its buyer, Charlotte Russe. ( Just Style)
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USAs of last Tuesday, United States President Trump tweeted his hesitance of reentering the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) deal, citing that while Japan and South Korea would like to see the US return, he does not feel it is a good deal for the country. The President believes bilateral deals are more efficient and profitable for American workers. ( Sourcing Journal)
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Vietnam
VietnamAs reported by a local industry researcher, while workers in the Vietnamese garment and textile industry have higher rates of technical skills compared to other industries, there is still a problem with low productivity and high employee turnover within the industry. Experts suggests the government pay more attention to workers' needs and strengthen human resources, hoping it can sustain a productive and quality workforce, especially as Vietnam works within international trade agreements. ( Fibre2Fashion)

About WRAP
Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, USA, with regional offices in Hong Kong, SAR, and Dhaka, Bangladesh, full-time staff in Europe, India and Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia), and for Latin America, WRAP is an independent, objective, non-profit team of global social compliance experts dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane, and ethical manufacturing around the world through certification and education. To learn more about WRAP, please visit  www.wrapcompliance.org .

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