Issue 470 | May 25, 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 44 factories in 11 countries:

 Canada, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. 

In partnership with the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), WRAP presented a webinar on Trends in CSR, addressing the topics of forced labor, working hours, and harmonization efforts. Click here to access a recording of the program.

WRAP's Arlington, Virginia office will be closed on May 28, 2018 in observance of Memorial Day. 
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This Week's Headlines

At the eighth Bangladesh Denim Expo, a common trend was being noticed; a commitment by vendors to engage in practices which were considered sustainable and environmentally friendly. One of the specific changes that was noticed was the introduction of manufacturing processes designed to reduce water consumption by over half. In addition, many companies have reduced their chemical use within the production process. This commitment to high-tech, environmentally friendly production techniques is  a lure for global labels to continue outsourcing their production to Bangladeshi companies.  ( The Independent

AccordOf the 220 companies that were signatories of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (Accord), over two-thirds have signed the 2018 extension of the agreement. This agreement is designed as a transitional document to be in force until a fixed nationalized regulatory body is ready to take over. The new version of the Accord expands the scope of the original by incorporating facilities which perform tasks such as knitting, printing, washing, weaving and dyeing while also bolstering freedom of association and outlining a new complaints protocol.  ( Just Style ) However, the Accord still faces an uncertain future after the  Bangladeshi High Court extended the restraining order on the government extending the inspection agency's tenure. ( The Daily Star
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ChinaChina and the United States have agreed in principle to reduce the trade deficit between the two countries, a step designed to reduce tensions  and at least delay implementation of tariffs on Chinese goods. No exact target was set by either nation but Lawrence Kudlow, head of the National Economic Council, stated that a $200 billion reduction by 2020 was a "good number." (The Washington Post)

According to the Deputy Director General of the foreign affairs office at China Import and Export (Canton) Fair, textile and garments accounted for 4.7% of the total volume of transactions at the most recent 123rd Canton Fair. This indicates that China's textile and garments exports are growing and recovering at a healthy pace after a decline in recent years. Much of the growth is being attributed to upgraded standards within the industry via environmentally sound practices and high quality textiles. (Fibre2Fashion)

At the recent Copenhagen Fashion Summit, industry executives discussed the growing trend towards sustainability and how working with their supply chain partners can establish a wage framework that is fair to the workforce. With the growing pressure in the marketplace for goods to become sustainable, brands are realizing the need for cooperation between management and the labor force in order to achieve sustainability goals. During his remarks at the Summit, Bill McRaith, chief supply chain officer of PVH Corp,outlined the need for a holistic approach when examining processes and procedures within the supply chain. (Just Style)
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European Union
GDPRThe proposed European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will take effect on Friday, May 25, 2018, and is expected to change customer data processing. The National Retail Federation (NRF) and EuroCommerce have released a joint paper discussing the immediate effects of GDPR on US and EU based retailers. The new regulation is designed to better protect consumer data collected from websites, apps, and other remote commerce channels. Although this is an EU-based proposal, it will impact U.S. retailers. According to the paper, many retailers are not expected to be in compliance with the new standard. ( Fibre2Fashion

Shoemakers in Europe have been experimenting with techniques that can have custom made shoes in the hands of consumers in a matter of  days or even hours, not months. One such process consists of the customer going to a retail location, walking on shoes fitted with sensors on a treadmill to collect data that will be transmitted to a set of 3D printers which will construct the soles. W-21, a  boutique in the canal district of Amsterdam, utilizes this method. Other retailers use a process that requires the customer to stand on a device which reads the makeup of their feet and transmits this information off-site for manufacturing. This concept is also starting to expand past Europe with 100 stores in China due to receive similar equipment in the coming year. ( The Economist

WTOThe World Trade Organization's (WTO) just released World Trade Outlook benchmark shows that while trade expansion is still likely to continue, growth will slow slightly in Quarter 2 of 2018. This decline aligns with the WTO's trade forecast issued in April, showing restrained growth in trade compared to 2017. Reasons for the moderate level of growth include slowing markets for automobiles and agricultural raw materials, rising prices for air freight and continued trade tensions between China and the United States.  ( Sourcing Journal )
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TurkmenistanU.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ordered all goods which are at least partly made with cotton sourced from Turkmenistan be denied entry into the United States out of concern regarding the use of forced labor during the production process.  The U.S. imported 11.64 million square meter equivalents of cotton for the year through March 31, a 40.4% decline for the previous year. Turkmenistan currently owns a 0.6% market share of cotton products. 
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United Kingdom
Story Mfg., a UK based label, has been focusing on creating ethically made clothing that is accessible to the public as a whole. The company focuses on what they term as "slow made" processes in the manufacturing of their clothing; these processes include the use of natural dyes and using recycling techniques. Sustainability was not initially a focus for the company, but as time went on, the firm realized that sustainable approaches resulted in a superior product. 
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United States
Sarah Iqbal,Program Manager of the World Bank Group's DEC Indicator Development unit, recently discussed gender equality in the global labor market. Specifically, Iqbal, outlined the fact that in many countries, female workers are forbidden from working certain positions. These laws vary depending on the country; in Russia for example, women cannot drive a truck or steer a ship. In Mumbai, female shopkeepers must close their stores earlier than those owned by their male counterparts. However, labor shortages are forcing some countries to reconsider these laws and allow women to take more of an active role in the workplace.  ( The Economist )

Vietnam is viewed as the next emerging market for apparel sourcing, with some in the industry labeling it as the "next China." However, according to an analysis by Dr. Sheng Lu from the University of Delaware, this enthusiasm should perhaps be tempered. In his report, Dr. Lu believes that Vietnam's growth could be stunted by numerous factors, including intensified competition for labor and greater competition for orders from labels. Dr. Lu also believes that the positive benefits for Vietnam from recent trade pacts may have simply been overstated. ( Just Style )
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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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