Issue 462  | March 30, 2018
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The WRAP Blog
Darlene Ugwa

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

This week, we certified 43 factories in 12 countries:

 Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, USA, and Vietnam

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This Week's Headlines

AfricaAt the 10th ordinary session of the African Union (AU) Heads of State summit, 44 of 55 African Union (AU) members-nations signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement allowing for liberal movement of goods across the continent. The agreement was signed in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. If all 55 nations ratify it, the agreement has the potential to reach a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US $2 trillion. ( Fibre2Fashion)

BangladeshThe Bangladeshi garment industry's Minimum Wage Board is calling for wage proposals from workers' representatives and factory owners by April 25. The board convened in January in hopes that within six months; they could present a minimum wage recommendation to the government. The minimum wage for the garment sector was set at TK 5,300 (US $63) in 2013, but with inflation and increased costs of living, there has been strong advocacy for raising the minimum wage. ( Fibre2Fashion)

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh announced it dismissed an additional ten ready made garment (RMG) factories after their failure to implement workplace safety measures. So far, the Accord has cut ties with 143 factories. ( New Age Business)

Sourcemap, a digital supply chain mapping platform, has entered the Bangladeshi market by conducting a door-to-door census of every garment factory in the country. The goal of the project is to increase transparency of the industry and offer readily available information to brands and other stakeholders. Sourcemap is partnering with C&A Foundation and Brac University in Bangladesh for the implementation of this project. ( Just Style)
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T Cambodiahe Prime Minister of Cambodia recently spoke to thousands of garment and footwear workers and said that industry workers could expect to see a minimum wage of at least US $250 per month by the year 2023. He added that currently, more than 1,000 workers are earning up to $153 a month and some could reach $170 this year. ( Khmer Times)

ChinaChina announced that it plans to add tariffs on 128 American products in response to the United States impositions of tariffs on steel and aluminum, which negatively impacts their economy. China's Ministry of Commerce believes that the US tariffs are in violation of the World Trade Organization's rules. Some of the 128 products might include fresh fruit, wine, steel, pork, and recycled aluminum. ( Sourcing Journal)
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Two US-based entrepreneurs of Indian descent and the CEO of an Indian garment firm have launched an initiative called Good Business Lab. The enterprise hopes to train factory workers in soft skills, like time and stress management, while promoting the importance of communication and teamwork. The textile and apparel industry is the largest in the country and accounts for more than 119 million workers. The enterprise will also research the livelihoods of women workers and how to improve them. ( Fibre2Fashion)

The Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry will negotiate a unique agreement with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that will likely increase the India-Africa trade volume; currently, the trade volume is worth an estimated US $53 billion. The government is also planning to set up a new India-Africa Development Fund to promote financial lines of credit and export opportunities. ( Fibre2Fashion)

The government of Kenya is reducing the cost of workers' permits for Indian expatriates in the textile and apparel sector. The price will be reduced from 200,000 KES (US $1,980) to 10,000 KES ($99). They hope this price reduction will result in enabling export-oriented garment factories to source labor with specialized skills from the local population. The Indian expats will in return transfer skills to local workers. ( Fibre2Fashion)

MexicoIndustry experts believe that if the trade wars between the United States and China continue and sourcing from China becomes too expensive, it is likely that the US will begin to source more from Mexico. For this to happen, Mexico will also need to remain price competitive. For the same reasons, Central America is also believed to benefit from the tariffs wars; the Guatemalan apparel industry could surge up to 15% in 2018. ( Just Style)
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Export earnings from Myanmar's cut-make-pack (CMP) garment sector experienced exponential growth and a new record of US $2.3 billion by early March; their fiscal year ends on March 31. Export earnings grew from $337 million in 2010, to nearly $1 billion in 2014. Myanmar's exported products mainly enter the Japanese, South Korean, and European Union markets. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Pakistan's Sindh province unveiled a new Labour Policy for 2018 is the first tripartite labor policy in Pakistan. It was agreed upon by employers, unions, and the local government. The policy encompasses social security, welfare payments, and pensions for all workers including, formal, informal, contract, piece-rate, home-based, and seasonal. ( Just Style )
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United States
Last July, the United States initiated conversation with South Korea to renegotiate their US-Korea Free Trade (KORUS) Agreement and after subsequent meetings taking place in the latter half of the year, the two parties reached general terms of amendments. In a joint statement released this month, the two sides agreed that South Korea would be exempt from the 25% additional tariff the US began imposing on imported steel. ( Just Style)
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T UShe United States Commerce Department's fourth quarter report on the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) stated that while GDP increased by 2.9%, its growth decelerated compared to the previous quarter. In addition, there was a decline in corporate profits. The deceleration is being attributed to a decline in private investments and an increase in imports. ( Sourcing Journal)
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A fire engulfed the Vina Korea Co., Ltd. factory, located in the Khai Quang industrial zone in Vĩnh Yên City. No one was injured, but the conflagration destroyed the entire clothing factory. The fire is believed to have started in the second building of the property, in the clothing storage area. This factory had more than 4,000 workers. ( Viet Nam News)

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 .

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