Issue 403 | January 19, 2017
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The WRAP Blog
by: Avedis Seferian

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

The WRAP Up
Last week we certified 53 factories in 11 countries:
Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

As of the sending of this newsletter, there are 2,318 factories with current WRAP certificates around the world employing 2,097,428 workers.

WRAP's U.S. office will be closed on Friday, January 20 in observance of the U.S. Presidential inauguration.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead
WRAP's President & CEO reflects on WRAP's activities in 2016 and looks ahead to 2017. Click below to watch the video


This Week's Headlines
Upcoming Events

January 24-27, 2017
Orlando, Florida, USA

January 24-26
Medellin, Colombia


Bangladesh
bangladeshA group of 20 Western apparel brands have signed a joint letter expressing concern about the recent labor unrest in Ashulia and urging Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to form a new wage board for workers. The letter, signed by companies like H&M, Esprit, and C&A, notes that last month's major protest could damage the country's reputation as a reliable sourcing market and that the nation's leaders should engage in social dialogue to help resolve the underlying issues. Dozens of factories in the area were forced to close as thousands of workers engaged in a demonstration for higher wages. ( The Daily Star)

Hundreds of workers at a Dhaka garment factory staged a protest on January 18 demanding payments for annual leave. Workers say that factory managers had promised them wages for 18 days of leave but never followed through with the promise. Local authorities say they are working with management to try and resolve the issue. ( BD News 24)

Belgium
The Brussels-based European Apparel and Textile Confederation (EURATEX) has announced the launch of a new effort aimed at digitizing the supply chains of at least 100 European companies. The "eBIZ 4.0" project seeks to improve product traceability, time to market, and data exchanges with a suite of technology tools that include RFID and near-field communication (NFC) devices. EURATEX leaders hope the effort will also help make these tools more accessible to small and medium sized companies in addition to the larger ones. ( Just Style / EURATEX)
*NOTICE: Just Style article requires a paid subscription

Cambodia
cambodiaA new report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) says that last year's decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union could spell trouble for Cambodia's vital garment industry. While the ILO says that exports remained strong through most of last year, currency uncertainty created by the so-called "Brexit" vote could make future exports more expensive, and ultimately cause some orders to be cancelled. ( Cambodia Daily

China
chinaThe government of China has announced a new plan aimed at boosting foreign investment in the country in an effort to build a "new open economic system." Officials say the plan entails making government administration more streamlined and reducing the cost of setting up a business in order to create a more favorable environment. ( Fibre2Fashion)

India
indiaIndia's Textile Ministry says it will reimburse garment and textile exporters for state levies they have paid to export destinations. Speaking during the inauguration of a recent industry event, an official with the ministry noted that the effort is aimed at making Indian companies more competitive in Western markets like the European Union, which currently does not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in place with India. The ministry says it has received Rs. 5 billion (US$ 73 million) from the government to make the payments. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Mumbai will soon be home to a new textile museum. In a recent statement, the Maharashtra state government said that it has designated 2 former textile factories as "heritage structures" designated to house the new museum. There's no official word as of yet on when the museum may open. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Taiwan
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen says that textiles should be at the heart of the country's thinking when developing new global trade deals. In a statement about her recent visit to Central America, Ing-wen was quoted as saying that there was "significant" development potential for textiles in Central America and that Taiwan should consider pursuing trade agreements with countries in the region. ( Fibre2Fashion)

United States
Newly-elected U.S. President Donald Trump says that he would offer a "fair" trade deal to the United Kingdom within weeks of his inauguration. In a joint interview with the Times of London and Germany's Bild newspaper, Mr. Trump commended the U.K. on its decision to leave the European Union and predicted that other member states would soon follow suit. This was Mr. Trump's first foreign interview since being elected President. ( The Times / NBC News)
*NOTICE: The Times interview requires a free subscription

A new initiative has been launched in the United States aimed at developing next-generation robots for advanced manufacturing across a range of industries including textiles. The Advanced Robotics Manufacturing (ARM) Institute brings together over 230 stakeholders, including 84 industry partners, 35 universities, and 40 government and non-profit groups, with the goal of creating over 500,000 new manufacturing jobs by 2025. The institute is being funded by a US$80 million grant from the Department of Defense and an additional US$173 million from other partner organizations. ( Just Style)

uscbpThe U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) says that it confiscated a record amount of counterfeit goods last year. Working in cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), CBP says it made over 31,500 seizures in 2016, 20% of which were apparel or accessories. According to the agencies, China and Hong Kong are the top sources for counterfeit goods entering the United States. ( Sourcing Journal /  CBP)
*NOTICE: Sourcing Journal article requires a free subscription

Trade research company Panjiva has released its newest trade outlook for 2017. The report focuses on what effect newly-elected U.S. President Donald Trump could have on the global trade environment and provides a look at macroeconomic data trends hinting at what the coming year could hold. In a statement, a company representative noted that President Trump's administration will have global implications on trade and force companies to re-evaluate their strategies. ( Business Wire)

A new survey conducted by Applied DNA Sciences and Harris Polling says that 60% of Americans would be willing to boycott a brand if they found out that its products contained cotton picked by child or forced laborers. The online survey of over 2,000 U.S. adults also found that 30% of respondents would stop buying from a brand if they discovered a false product claim about it. The survey was conducted in late December. ( Sourcing Journal /  Applied DNA Sciences)
*NOTICE: Sourcing Journal article requires a free subscription
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  www.wrapcompliance.org .

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