Issue 486| September 14, 2018
Upcoming Training

September 13
Factory Fire Safety
Dhaka, Bangladesh

September 17-19
Internal Auditor Course
El Salvador

September 24-28
Lead Auditor Course
New Delhi, India


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 
55 factories in  18  countries:

 Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, 
Sri Lanka, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam.

On September 20, WRAP will be participating in the webinar "Working Hours Best Practices" in cooperation with the American Apparel and Footwear Association. For more details and to sign up for the webinar, click here.
Upcoming Events

October 18
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The WRAP Blog
By:
Nana Marfo


This Week's Headlines


Bangladesh approves 51 percent raise in minimum wage
 
Bangladesh  

On September 10, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance) announced that 400 affiliated readymade garment factories had completed remediation of all workplace safety issues which were identified during the auditing process. In addition, the Alliance noted that over 91 percent of factories had addressed all cited problems, and officials were confident that the entire remediation process could be completed before December. ( New Age )

Cambodia
StrikeAbout 200 garment workers at a factory located in a garment production commune situated within Phnom Penh's Meanchey district have been protesting since Monday after the commune's owner fled without paying their August wages. The workers, who were employed by a sub-contractor who supplies garments to a foreign buyer, claimed that they did not receive their salaries on September 10, which is their usual payday. Officials from the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training met with about 257 workers hired by the factory to address the issue. (Phnom Penh Post)
 
China
Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua warned against countries "going it alone" and upending the globalized trading system through the adoption of protectionist trade policies.  The remarks were made during a meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Hanoi and came as the United States is preparing to implement an additional round of tariffs against Chinese goods. ( Agence France Presse )
 
India
On Thursday, a fire broke out at a garment factory in Noida Sector 59, located on the outskirts of New Delhi. No casualties are being reported at this time. According to local officials, over ten sets of fire apparatus were required to deal with the blaze, and an investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. (The Times of India)

Officials from the Gujurat Chamber of Commerce accused Bangladesh of facilitating backdoor entry of Chinese textiles into India and requested that Textiles Minister Smriti Irani intervene by introducing protectionist trade measures to safeguard India's textile industry. The figures that were cited came from Bangladesh's Export Promotion Bureau, stating that India imported $87.4 million worth of readymade garments from Bangladesh during July-November last year, a sharp rise of 56 percent compared to U.S. $55.92 million during the same period the previous year. (Fibre2Fashion)
 
Haiti
Garment manufacturing industry insiders in Haiti are optimistic that the sector can continue expanding in size, as long as the Caribbean country's government continues its work on stabilizing the domestic economic climate. Factory owners believe that as long as the government delivers on its promises of general economic growth and effective social services, such as healthcare and improved transportation, the percentage of Haitians involved in the country's garment sector could skyrocket. (Just Style)
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Japan
Japan's trade imbalance is the third largest of all major U.S. trading partners, just behind China and Mexico, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Trump Administration has already been using threats of potential increases in trade duties for Japanese goods to urge Tokyo to sign a new bilateral trade agreement. However, the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hesitant to sign a deal strictly with the United States, instead preferring a more comprehensive deal that includes other Asian powers. (CNBC)
 
Nicaragua
WarningThe U.S. Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) is warning garment buyers heading to Nicaragua to take additional precautions as the country's political situation continues to destabilize. Nicaragua's apparel and textile industry is being stricken by the crisis, which is a result of popular dissatisfaction in the regime of President Daniel Ortega. Many factories are seeing reduced orders and being forced to cut the workforce in order to remain solvent during the crisis. (Just Style)
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Pakistan
The Pakistani government organized a seminar on health and safety to mark the sixth anniversary of the Ali Enterprises factory fire in Baldia Town, Karachi. One of the objectives of the gathering was to promote the efforts that the government had made in improving factory safety standards. However, many of the workers in attendance were less than complimentary of the government's efforts, expressing their frustration that they have not seen any real evidence of improvement regarding working conditions nor have they witnessed any real momentum in making these changes a reality any time soon. (The Express Tribune)
 
Singapore
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is seeking to bolster ties with China as trade tensions between Beijing and Washington rise, according to Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister, Teo Chee Hean. The economic stakes in the China-ASEAN relationship are indeed notable. China has been ASEAN's top trading partner for eight consecutive years, while ASEAN has been China's third largest trading partner for the past seven years. China was also ASEAN's third most significant source of foreign direct investment last year, while ASEAN as a whole was China's largest source of foreign investment. (Forbes)
 
Saudi Arabia 
This week represented a seismic shift in the Saudi apparel industry as a deadline for factories and retailers to employ only Saudi nationals has come and gone. Larger companies have, for the most part, been able to comply with the new rules with little issue. However, smaller firms and traders who are unable to accommodate the changes are being forced to shutter. The Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development did not provide any kind of assistance to those companies that were unable to comply, citing their belief that the industry had ample time to meet the deadline.  Expatriates from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Yemen have long dominated the garment workforce in Saudi Arabia. Now, many of them are being forced to look for new livelihoods.  
 
Tajikistan
Tajikistan's Ambassador to India, Jalolov Mirzosharif, pitched for more bilateral trade in apparel and textiles between the two countries. During a meeting with officials from India's government and textile industry, Mirzosharif touted the improving relationship between the two nations as the impetus for his proposal to increase trade.  
 
United Kingdom
BrexitEven though 90 percent of them voted "remain," the heads of apparel brands located in the United Kingdom are preparing for the inevitable fallout from Brexit. With seven months to go, there is still a great deal of uncertainty facing the UK's fashion industry, mainly since the exact terms of Britain's departure from the European Union are still unknown. Possibilities range from a "hard" Brexit where tariffs increase by double digits, to the incredibly unlikely outcome of 10 Downing Street electing to remain in the European Union. (The Evening Standard)

Burberry is looking to end its practice of burning unsold clothes, bags, and perfume, along with stopping the use of real fur in the production of apparel and accessories. These changes come under pressure from environmental groups throughout Britain and represent yet another move towards ecological responsibility and sustainability within the industry. The British fashion house destroyed £105 million (U.S. $196 million) worth of goods to prevent them from entering the black market. Burberry will instead look to adjust production totals to better align with demand and hopes that others in the industry will follow their lead. (The Guardian)
 
United States
Flo3The mid-Atlantic region of the United States is preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Florence, whose impact will primarily be felt in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. All three states have a robust presence in the apparel and textile industry, with cotton being one of the region's most profitable agricultural products. However, the industry's focus at this time is strictly on the safety of all of those in the path of the storm. ( Sourcing Journal)
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Imports entering America's major container ports are expected to remain strong this month following record growth over the summer, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker released by the National Retail Federation. This report comes despite the ongoing tariff threats being issued by the Trump Administration and could be a result of foreign producers trying to get their goods to the United States prior to the implementation of trade duties. (Sourcing Journal)
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Trade associations representing farmers, retailers and manufacturers are joining forces in a new multi-million-dollar campaign to oppose President Donald Trump's trade tariffs, in the latest attempt by U.S. businesses to stop an escalating trade war. The groups are launching a U.S. $3 million campaign, designed around measures such as town hall-style events in critical congressional districts ahead of the midterm elections, digital advertising, and other grassroots outreach to Congress and the administration. More than 80 coalition members are signing a letter to all members of Congress asking for support in fighting the duties and providing oversight on trade policy matters.  ( Sourcing Journal )
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American brand Prison Blues has a unique method to meet the demand within the United States for durable, reasonably priced denim that can be worn by those working in the agricultural and construction industries. The company employs inmates at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution to manufacture men's workwear apparel and denim. Prison Blues believes that this is a mutually beneficial arrangement for all parties involved as it can produce products that are competitively priced while the inmates learn skills that can benefit them upon release while being paid a modest wage. (Sourcing Journal)
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Amazon has filed for a series of trademarks that suggest the company is planning to roll out more clothing brands, part of its bid to become a more prominent fashion destination. Over the past few weeks, the e-commerce giant has filed U.S. trademark applications for eight apparel lines, including ones aimed at outerwear and children's gear. The company, which has built up its private-label clothing and accessories business over the past few years, already has dozens of brands in place in multiple categories. (Sourcing Journal)
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New York Fashion Week was held under the shadow of the ongoing U.S./China trade war, and many in attendance were wary about the long-term implications that the dispute could have on the industry moving forward. Brands and designers are not unified on how they will respond to the crisis; some are looking to reduce their dependence on China, while others are looking to expand their presence in China to gain exemptions from any retaliatory duties Beijing may impose. (CGTN)

President Trump threatened China with another round of tariffs on Friday, saying he was prepared to tax virtually all Chinese goods imported into the United States if Beijing did not change its trade practices. The threat comes as the Administration prepares to move forward with another round of tariffs on U.S. $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. (New York Times)

Six Los Angeles garment manufacturers were fined a combined U.S. $574,000 for a scheme in which they operated under one license to avoid compliance. The violations included not having valid workers compensation coverage for employees at the facility, violating wage statements, and a failure to follow garment registration provisions. In addition, California authorities were investigating accusations of wage theft by factory management. ( 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  www.wrapcompliance.org .

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