Issue 398 | December 9, 2016
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The WRAP Blog
by: Russell Jowell

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

Last week we certified 92 factories in 21 countries:
Cambodia, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, USA, and Vietnam.

As of the sending of this newsletter, there are 2,333 factories with current WRAP certificates around the world employing 2,127,372 workers.

President & CEO Avedis Seferian recently contributed to an article in Women's Wear Daily looking at the persistence of sweatshops in the U.S. garment industry.
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This Week's Headlines
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bangladeshA new report from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) says that millions of Bangladeshi children under the age of 14 are not enrolled in school and in fact are engaged in full-time work. The report found that 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 14 living in some of Dhaka's poorest areas regularly worked well beyond the 42 hour per week limit set by the govenrmnet. The group is calling on the Bangladeshi government to curb the pipeline of child laborers and instead push them to get an education first. ( ODI / Fox News)

Garment industry leaders in Bangladesh say that they are keen on increasing exports to Slovenia. During a recent visit to the country, Slovenia's Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Food noted that the country was hungry for more Bangladeshi clothing products and said that following a meeting with Bangladesh's Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, she was confident that the two countries could cooperate well to increase sales. Bilateral trade between the nations currently sits at just over US$54 billion. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Hong Kong
Tracing, oversight of second and third-tier suppliers, falsification of records, and duplicate audits are among the top challenges in ethical sourcing compliance today, according to Jon White, the Managing Director of Hong Kong-based Omega Compliance. In an interview with Sourcing Journal, White noted that the only for any company to get a firm grasp on what is happening beyond their Tier 1 suppliers is to get someone on the ground to watch the product being made first hand. He also notes that the most effective compliance audits are those that take place close to when the products are actually being made. ( Sourcing Journal) *NOTICE: This article requires a free subscription.

indiaIndia's Ministry of Textiles has set up thousands of mobile "camps" across the country to help textile workers open bank accounts and reduce their dependence on cash following the recent decision by the government to depreciate the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 banknotes. While textile and garment workers in India have traditionally been paid in cash, the recent currency move has created a cash crunch that is negatively impacting the workers of the industry. So far, the ministry says it has helped open over 9.1 million new bank accounts. ( Fibre2Fashion)

The textile industry in Amristar has been forced to lay off over 10,000 workers and shutter hundreds of production facilities thanks to the recent decision to discontinue the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 banknotes, according to the Amristar Textile Processor Association (ATPA). The head of the ATPA noted that the decision by the government to remove the aforementioned denominations has resulted in a severe cash crunch that has negatively affected thousands of businesses. He urged the government to help curb the damage by limiting bank withdraws. ( Fibre2Fashion)

India's Textiles Minister Smriti Irani says that the country's US$48 billion export target for the current fiscal year may be hard to achieve due to decreased demand in major markets like the United States, Europe, and China. In an interview, Irani noted that the government had passed a package of textile industry incentives earlier this year that could help defray any setbacks from the traditional export markets. India also fell short of its export goal for the previous fiscal year as well. ( Fibre2Fashion)

India's Textile Commissioner Kavita Gupta says that the industry needs to create at least 10 million new jobs over the next 3 years. Speaking at a recent conference in Mumbai, Gupta noted that significant domestic and global opportunities exist for the textile sector and that it is important for the industry to grab them by ensuring adequate production capacity. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Indonesia's textile industry is urging the government to regulate the import of cheap textile products in an effort to safeguard the domestic industry. Speaking to a local newspaper, the head of the Indonesian Textile Association noted that dumping of cheap textiles from nations like China was negatively affecting their own industry and urged government leaders to help cut off the flow. ( Fibre2Fashion)

lesothoAn estimated 20,000 workers in Lesotho recently took place in a demonstration against political instability in the country that threatens the country's status to remain part of the U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The demonstrators are pushing the government to restore democracy and the rule of law following a coup in 2014. The country exports an estimated US$250 million in garments each year but political instability has threatened its continued membership in AGOA. ( Just Style) *NOTICE: This article requires a paid subscription

Pakistan textile exporters should focus on growing textile sales to Argentina, according to the Argentinian ambassador to Pakistan who noted that his home country imports about 60% of its textile products. He noted that China and Brazil are currently among the top sources of Argentinian imported textile products and that Pakistan could rise to that level with effective branding and marketing. ( Fibre2Fashion )

United Kingdom
brexitA new survey from Just Style says that confidence in the global apparel industry is still low following the recent decision by the U.K. to leave the European Union. This is the second such poll taken this year. The survey found that 47.7% of respondents said their confidence in the industry's short-term prospects had fallen in recent months, compared to 47.3% in the last survey which was conducted in July. Respondents believe that it will take years for the full implications of the "Brexit" vote to come to fruition. ( Just Style)
*NOTICE: This article requires a paid subscription

Workers at a major logistics warehouse that supplies products for companies like Topshop initiated a strike on December 8 to push for a living wage. Workers say they have been pushing for a £8.45 (US$10.60) hourly minimum wage, a rate they say is a living wage, over the current rate of  £7.20 (US$9.00). Workers have threatened another walkout on December 12 if their demands are not met. (Retail Gazette)

United States
usaThe volume of U.S. apparel imports dipped in October even as retailers continued to stock up for the holiday shopping season, according to new data from the Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA). Only two of the top 10 supplier countries to the United States, China and Vietnam, posted an increase in shipments while imports from Bangladesh fell by nearly 25% year-on-year. ( Just Style) *NOTICE: This article requires a paid subscription

New data from the U.S. Department of Commerce says that while apparel failed to benefit from an October uptick in consumer spending, footwear did benefit from this gain. The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis says that overall personal consumption spending rose by nearly 4% in October year-on-year. Spending on footwear grew by almost 3% during this period, while apparel grew by just 0.6%. Analysts say higher than normal temperatures across the U.S. may have discouraged many from buying winter apparel. ( Sourcing Journal)
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Asian investment in U.S. garment manufacturing continues to increase as Taiwan-based Everest Textiles says it will invest over US$18 million over the next 5 years to set up a U.S. manufacturing facility. The plant will be located in the U.S. state of North Carolina and will be the company's first outside of Asia. It's expected to create over 600 new jobs once it is operational. ( Fibre2Fashion)

American Apparel recently warned over 3,500 of its California employees that they may lose their jobs in January pending the outcome of a potential sale to Canadian clothing company Gildan Activewear. The struggling company filed for its second bankruptcy last month and has already cut over 500 jobs this year. Analysts say these new job cuts would be a devastating blow to Southern California's garment industry. ( Los Angeles Times)

Global labor activist group Know The Chain has released its third and final benchmarking report of 2016 which ranks 20 of the largest apparel and footwear companies on their efforts to address forced labor in their supply chains. At 81 out of 100, Adidas scored the highest, followed by Gap at 77 and H&M at 69. The companies were graded on a number of criteria including commitment to preventing forced labor, traceability, and risk assessment.
( Just Style /  Know The Chain*NOTICE: Just Style article requires a paid subscription

Many textile and dyeing companies in Vietnam are beginning to invest in sustainable material development, according to a recent report on Vietnam Television. Analysts say that the prospect of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal prompted many companies to modernize their operations, and now that the deal's future is uncertain under U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, many of these same firms are now recognizing the need to take a longer-term, more sustainable approach to their development. ( Vietnam News)
About WRAP
Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, USA, with regional offices in Hong Kong, SAR, and Dhaka, Bangladesh, full-time staff in India and Southeast Asia (Thailand and Vietnam), 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 .

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