• CCI AD FROM 5th April 2021

MARKET WATCH 11 SEPT, 2021

NATIONAL

INTERNATIONAL

Cabinet likely to clear 7 mega textile parks within 2 weeks

The proposed scheme to setup seven mega investment textile parks (MITRA) is likely to get Cabinet approval in the next fortnight, a senior official said. The proposed scheme to setup seven mega investment textile parks (MITRA) is likely to get Cabinet approval in the next fortnight, a senior official said. The textiles ministry has proposed to set up these parks on over 1,000 acres in the next three years, on the lines of China and Vietnam. They will have integrated facilities, plugand-play infrastructure and quick turnaround time to minimise transportation losses, aimed to attract big-ticket investments in the sector.

Source:  Economic Times

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With textile PLI, the idea is to capture the entire value chain: Piyush Goyal

"Cotton-based textile industry is the largest employing sector in the country. Also, we have our strengths in the sector. But if you see the world market, today two-third of the world market and international trade is based on man-made fibres (MMFs) and technical textiles. Over the last few years, we have lost that opportunity." Piyush Goyal, Minister of Textiles, explains the idea behind the PLI for the textile sector. Edited excerpts: ET Now: Your views on the PLIfor textile sector? Piyush Goyal: The Production-linked Incentive scheme was conceptualised by PM Modi as a way to make India globally competitive and to make production at large scale to get benefits of economies of scale, and also to improve the quality of the products that India makes. We have already had very good success in certain sectors like pharma, medical devices, mobile manufacturing, etc. That has encouraged us to look at more sectors, textiles being the latest. It is interesting to see that because of climatic conditions and also because of our history, India has largely focussed itself on cotton-based textile industry. We will continue to focus on that because it provides huge employment. It is the largest employing sector in the country. Also, we have our strengths in the sector. But if you see the world market, today two-third of the world market and international trade is based on man-made fibres (MMFs) and technical textiles. Over the last few years, we have lost that opportunity. This PLI scheme is focussed on MMF and technical textiles.  will encourage people to set up a little larger-scale factories — Rs 100 crore minimum investment at one level and Rs 300 crore minimum investment at another level — with a commitment to have a turnover or production of at least twice that amount, i.e. Rs 200 crore and Rs 600 crore. The idea is that we create global champions and capture the entire value chain. Today, we are dependent on fabrics from abroad. A lot of processing is not done in India. So the idea is to capture the whole value chain. The PM has already directed the petrochemical industry and petroleum ministry that all three departments should work in tandem to set up backward linkages for adequate raw materials being produced in India. The idea is that with this scheme we will make the MMF and technical textiles viable, directly creating seven-and-a-half lakh jobs, and also capture the entire value chain, expand investments in the value chain, right down to petrochemicals. In the process, we believe that this Rs 10,863 crore incentive will become a catalyst for much larger investments. It will have huge forward and backward linkages. And you will be happy to know that as a part of the scheme, while selecting the beneficiaries we will be focussing on Tier III, Tier IV towns and aspirational districts — basically the backward areas. Many states are approaching the Textile Ministry for the MITRA scheme — the seven textile parks announced in the budget.Is that going to be the next big reform? PM Modi has always held the view that the textile sector has a special place in India’s economic development and job creation. Therefore, there have been a series of measures he has introduced. The RoSCTL scheme has been continued until 2024. RoDTEP rates have been announced for the other textile products. We are making sure raw material is available for Indian manufactures at affordable prices. We have also decided and we will soon go to the cabinet with the MITRA scheme which will help us set up large-scale textile parks where a whole ecosystem can be created – testing facilities, common effluent treatment plant, facilities to encourage manufacturing, skill development, nearby housing for the workmen, etc. We will encourage states to come and bid and vie for these projects. For the textile sector to be successful, there are several important elements. One, skilled labour has to be available. Two, labour laws have to be amenable to large-scale employment. Three, power at an affordable price. Four, land should be affordable. Five, common facilities for testing and locally available research and development. Six, common effluent treatment plants to meet international sustainability standards. We are very much keen and are looking forward to very soon present that scheme to the PM and then the Cabinet. Overall, there are a series of steps already taken. I can assure you PLI is not the last of those steps. How are you going to address the container shortage and the export challenges currently being faced? We are working with the Shipping ministry and the Railway ministry to see what we can do in the short run to get more and more empty containers into India. We are also looking for ways of faster & easier movement within India from the place where they currently are to the place where they are required. The Railways has done some wonderful work giving concessions for movement of containers. Concor is also supporting that effort. Simultaneously, for the longer term, we are looking at promoting the Indian shipping industry and Indian domestic manufacturing of containers. Concor has taken some very good steps in this regard. They have given trial orders to some companies to manufacture containers in India. They took out and expression of interest and many companies have shown interest in it. I am confident that over the next two- or three-years India will become self-reliant in container manufacturing. The PM has also directed all of us to encourage more and more companies to come and invest in India in the shipping sector, to have Indian flag-bearing ships and expand our foray in the shipping industry.

Source: Economic Times

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Container crunch takes toll on freight rates: Lock empty cases, say exporters

Freight rates to a number of key ports have risen by over 300 per cent since August 2020. In light of rising freight rates due to the global container shortage, exporters have called on the government to provide freight subsidies and curb the movement of empty cases out of India. Freight rates to a number of key ports have risen by over 300 per cent since August 2020. Exporters have also called for the release of about 20,000 containers that have been abandoned or detained by various agencies to augment their supply, The Indian Express has learnt. The government is currently in talks with key stakeholders to help exporters deal with the shortage and rise in freight rates. Delays in unloading of containers at various ports due to Covid-related curbs and an unexpectedly quick recovery in global trade has led to an international container shortage. “Some countries are putting a premium on the import of empty containers,” said Ajay Sahai, director general and CEO, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), adding this was compounding the container shortage. Sahai said the Kolkata port had restricted the export of empty containers to a maximum of 100 per vessel for a three-month period and that other ports should also curb the export of empty containers. An exporter said the shortage meant that companies did not know when materials would reach their destination and that long delays in shipments reaching their destinations were leading to working capital issues, as payments were being delayed by 2-3 months. The FIEO has also called for a freight support scheme for all exports till the end of the fiscal — by when freight rates are expected to normalise. The FIEO has recommended that such a scheme also be applicable to LCL (Less than Container Load) cargo to ensure that small exporters are not excluded. Exporters have also said the option of priority booking offered by some shipping lines was adding to freight costs. “Priority booking should be stopped and revert to first come, first served booking,” Sahai said. Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had recently said at a meeting with textile exporters that the government “cannot mandate or force (these freight) rates” since if government forced the rates downwards, then shipping firms could also demand a hike in rates when they are low. Experts said even though the shortage and high freight rates were international issues, persistent structural worries had led to Indian exporters facing a worse situation. “The average turnaround time for ships in India is about 2.7 days while the world average is 23.5 hours,” said Biswajit Dhar, professor at JNU’s Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, noting that this was adding to container shortage for Indian exporters.

Source: Indian Express

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IIP growth: India’s index of industrial production grows 11.5% in July

 However, consumer non-durables still trailed the pre-pandemic level by 8.3% despite the fact that it went up by 20.2% from a year before, aided by the base effect. Mining, manufacturing and electricity recorded growth of 19.5%, 10.5% and 11.1%, respectively, albeit driven by favourable base effect. However, while mining rose 4.4% from the pre-pandemic level, both manufacturing and electricity dropped by 2.1% and 8.3%, respectively. The index of industrial production (IIP) grew 11.5% in July, driven by a contracted base. However, the index substantially bridged the gap with the pre-pandemic level and remained only marginally lower than the July 2019 mark, suggesting a graded pick-up in industrial activities with the easing of curbs in key states as the second wave waned. Barring consumer durables, all other use-based categories rebounded to or above the preCovid levels. Capital goods, a proxy for investment, rose 29.5% from a year before in July and returned to the pre-pandemic level, so did consumer non-durables (even though the latter dropped 1.5%, year on year, due to restocking after the first wave). However, consumer non-durables still trailed the pre-pandemic level by 8.3% despite the fact that it went up by 20.2% from a year before, aided by the base effect. Mining, manufacturing and electricity recorded growth of 19.5%, 10.5% and 11.1%, respectively, albeit driven by favourable base effect. However, while mining rose 4.4% from the pre-pandemic level, both manufacturing and electricity dropped by 2.1% and 8.3%, respectively. Aditi Nayar, chief economist at ICRA, said the manufacturing index in July 2021 (130.9) was nearly as high as the level in October 2020 (132.0) during last year’s festive season, “which offers a glimpse into the strength of the revival after the second wave”. “With an expected uptick in mining, electricity and infrastructure/construction goods, amidst a weaker performance of the auto sector, we project the IIP growth to improve to 13-15% in August,” she forecast. Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at CARE Ratings, expected a higher growth rate in August, too. But from September onwards the base effect will get diluted sharply. “A critical part would be the expected revival in demand especially for consumer goods which will make firms build up stocks from August onwards,” Sabnavis said.

Source: Financial Express

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Release of pending export incentive dues to ease liquidity at most challenging times: Exporters

 Welcoming the move of clearing pending tax dues, former President Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) S K Saraf said that the delay in payments has affected cash flow of exporters in MSME sector particularly. The government's decision to release the pending export incentive dues worth Rs 56,027 crore will help the sector in meeting the liquidity concerns and maintaining cash flow during the current challenging times, according to exporters. The government on Thursday said it will release Rs 56,027 crore to exporters against pending tax refunds under different incentive schemes for outbound shipments. The amount will be disbursed to more than 45,000 exporters. Welcoming the move of clearing pending tax dues, former President Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) S K Saraf said that the delay in payments has affected cash flow of exporters in MSME sector particularly. "This payment will be a great relief to exporters in these challenging times. I hope this payment is made expeditiously. It will save a lot of MSMEs from a certain extinction," Saraf said. Sharing similar views, Ludhiana Hand Tools Association President S C Ralhan said that the move would help in promoting exports. "Container shortage and rising freight rates will also required urgent attention of the government," Ralhan said. Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman A Sakthivel said that it will help exporters bag additional export orders for the coming festive season and thus help the country achieve its merchandise export target of USD 400 billion. "The government has made a smart move by deciding to release Rs 56,027 crore against pending tax refunds to exporters in the current financial year itself. Apart from supporting exporters that are struggling to meet their working capital needs, the extra cash in hand will enable them to commit to bigger export orders," Sakthivel said. Sakthivel, who is also FIEO President, said that for the MSME sector, the decision has come as a booster dose for them as it would help them to be able to complete their booked order more efficiently. "The move will help the sector in meeting the liquidity concerns and maintaining cash flow of the exports sector thereby further facilitating in addressing the export demand in the international market," he added. Sanjay Aggarwal, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that this is a massive relief measures announced for the exporters. "Release of Rs 56,027 crore will boost the sentiments of the small exporters to expand their export horizons and connect well with the global value chains," he said.

Source: Economic Times

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India-UK FTA: Not a zero-sum game, but 'give and take'

While the potential to expand trade in goods and services exists for both India and UK, translation of the same into actual trade flows will be determined by the tariffs and nontariff barriers. India's hesitancy to engage in FTA's, by and large, has been on account of high trade deficit with trading partners post the implementation of ASEAN, S Korea and Japan FTA/CECA. While the legitimacy of these concerns is questionable, the experience of South East Asian countries clearly points to the positive outcomes of FTAs in developing manufacturing capabilities and aligning with development/growth targets. In the current context of the proposed FTA with UK, India's negotiating agenda should clearly focus on pushing up India's overall export capability. Considering the emerging challenges of increasing trade costs, higher incidence of nontariff barriers, integrating technology with supply chains, digitization, sustainable and green technologies, the India-UK FTA provides opportunities for not only expanding India's trade engagement with UK but also with the rest of the world given the trade complementarity between the two nations. Structurally, there are significant differences in the economic indicators of UK and India as detailed in Table 1. The trade orientation (trade openness) of UK is significantly higher than India. Second, the share of services in GDP is much higher in UK relative to India, while the share of manufacturing and agriculture is relatively higher in India. However, ironically. UK's exports of goods accounted for 54% of total exports to India, while services accounted for 46% of total exports. And third, the wide difference in GDP per capita indicates the prospects for higher growth in GDP for India relative to UK. With growth in income, the demand for high end goods and services is likely to increase faster in India. For India, the high income in UK entails a demand structure for value-added goods and services. While the potential to expand trade in goods and services exists for both India and UK, translation of the same into actual trade flows will be determined by the tariffs and nontariff barriers (NTBs). DIT estimates show that the simple average tariff faced by Indian exports to UK is 4.2% while it is 14.6% for UK exports to India. At a disaggregated industry level, the peak tariff applied by both UK and India are significant. For example, in UK, peak tariffs are high at 242% for prepared food, 124% for vegetable products, 103% for animal and vegetable products, 76% for chemicals, 10% for textiles,12% for footwear and 13% for vehicles. As against this, tariff peaks in India are more widespread across all industries ranging from 100 to 150% for food products, 70% for plastics, 100% for automobiles, 60% for miscellaneous manufactures besides tariffs ranging between 20- 40% for all the other manufactures (DIT,2021). What this means is that negotiations on tariff reductions would lead to higher exports for UK relative to India. With low tariffs in UK, tariff reduction may not provide impetus to export growth for India. However, what is of more important from India's perspective is the high incidence of nontariff barriers in UK, particularly for agricultural products. Quantitative assessment based on SMART simulations indicates only a 2% change in all agricultural exports (export competitive) of India to UK post the FTA. This would imply that India's modest agricultural exports to UK are constrained by NTBs. The implication drawn is that when stringent technical standards. (say MRL) are introduced in the importing country, it results in higher compliance costs for Indian firms/exporters, which in turn can make their products uncompetitive. This is evident in the declining and the low share of agricultural exports to UK. Between 2000- 01 and 2019-20, the share of agricultural exports in total exports to UK declined from 14.4% to 7.85%. Among agriculture exports, high growth (value) is observed for fish, cereals, coffee/tea, fruits and vegetables &products. For these products, India's major competing countries in UK are mainly EU countries and developing countries like Vietnam and Kenya. Manufacture exports account for over 90% of India's exports to UK. The high growth (value) exports are machinery, electricals, textiles, precious stones and leather items. India's competing countries in UK are EU countries, USA, China, Bangladesh. Therefore, the possibility of India's exports expanding in UK would depend on the tariff concessions provided to these countries relative to India. A review of UK's public consultations on FTAs with EU, US, Australia, New Zealand indicate that EU countries have been offered zero tariffs across all products, 10 TRQs for agricultural products to US, GSP for developing and LDCs. Vietnam is likely to enjoy tariff preferences under GSP and CPTPP. EU countries with extensive subsidies under Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) can stand to gain for agricultural products. Moreover, across all prospective FTAs, UK's commitment is to implement food quality standards and other technical standards. Therefore, countries that can meet these standards are likely to get better market access. Projections on a zero-tariff regime in both India and UK indicate a higher growth of imports from UK estimated at US$2.1 billion as the tariffs in India are higher than compared to UK. The estimates show UK imports will substitute wines &spirits from France and automobiles from Germany. As India is not a major exporter for UK, the extent of trade gains will depend on how India develops new competitive products and on the concessions accorded to EU, US, Vietnam and Bangladesh by UK. While there are possibilities of enhancing India's services exports to UK, investment opportunities also exist for chemicals, fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, food processing, telecom and petroleum. In the light of these trade dimensions, for the FTA negotiations between India and UK, the following issues may become important from India's perspective. First, as UK's tariff reductions may not lead to significant increases of exports for India, higher market access opportunities can be realized only if NTBs are addressed. India should work towards drawing up Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs). To mitigate the high compliance cost, India can explore the possibilities of UK's investments in Food Processing, Machinery, Pharmaceuticals with the objective of technological upgradation and implementing Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Additionally, India would also require institutional interventions for certifications. In this regard, the Digital Global Identity Systems for supplier verification & certification, based on Blockchain can be developed with UKs assistance. This is particularly beneficial to the industries dominated by SMEs as brought out by the experience of Canada. Second, the focus of investments from UK should be on enhancing R&D capacity of Indian manufacturing. For this, the UK industries may be encouraged to engage in the PLI Scheme with a focus on electronics and textiles. Third, as India exports mainly manufacturing intermediates while UK exports final goods, the give and take in the FTA may necessitate reducing the tariffs for automobiles and spirits. In this regard, pointed industry consultations may provide the feasibility of tariff reduction in exchange for technological partnerships. Fourth, the bilateral relationship in services trade needs to be strengthened for both UK and India. And lastly, the FTA with UK need to be taken up as a continuum for the FTA negotiations with EU.

Source: Economic Times

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BRICS a powerful voice of developing nations, must become even stronger: PM

The grouping of five nations calls for peace in Afghanistan The territory of Afghanistan must not be used to carry out terror attacks against other countries, the five-nation influential grouping BRICS said on Thursday and strongly called for combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the crossborder movement of terrorists. The grouping held extensive deliberations on pressing issues, including the situation in Afghanistan at a virtual summit chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who cautioned against any complacency among BRICS members and called for making the grouping of five nations more productive in the next 15 years. "... (it is important that) we do not become too self-satisfied and we must ensure that BRICS is even more result-oriented in the next 15 years," Modi said, while chairing the 13th BRICS Summit virtually. The summit, hosted by India, was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro. He said the grouping of Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa has become an influential voice of emerging economies of the world. He said the grouping has also been useful for focusing on priorities of the developing nations. Modi also highlighted that cooperation between the Customs departments of the five nations will make trade among these nations easier. He disclosed that BRICS has adopted a counter-terrorism plan. He said BRICS has created powerful institutions, such as the New Development Bank, Contingency Reserve Arrangement, and the Energy Research Cooperation Platform. He said BRICS, under the chairmanship of India, has organised 150 meetings and programmes, of which more than 20 were ministerial, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Pointing out that efforts were made to expand the BRICS agenda, he said many firsts were achieved this year. "It was for the first time that BRICS took a collective position on strengthening and reforming multilateral systems." He also said the first BRICS digital health conference was organised recently, which was an innovative step to improve access to health through technology. Besides, water resources ministers will meet in November in the BRICS format, he said. He said these initiatives will not only benefit citizens of the five nations, but will also make BRICS relevant in the times to come. He said with the agreement on remote sensing satellite constellation between space agencies of BRICS nations, a new chapter of cooperation has begun. "There has also been a consensus with regards to starting a virtual BRICS Vaccination Research and Development Centre. The BRICS Alliance on green tourism is also another new initiative, "he pointed out. BRICS brings together five of the largest developing countries of the world, representing 41 per cent of the global population, 24 per cent of the global gross domestic product, and 16 per cent of the global trade. India hosted the summit in its capacity as its chair.

Source: Business Standard

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Boost for 45K exporters: Govt set to clear Rs 56,027 crore dues this fiscal

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said the scheme would benefit 45,000 exporters, adding the move would help MSME exporters meet their liquidity requirements. In a major boost to exporters, the government announced on Thursday that it would clear dues of Rs 56,027 crore to exporters under various government schemes in the current fiscal. Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said the scheme would benefit 45,000 exporters, adding the move would help MSME exporters meet their liquidity requirements. It would also help the country achieve the total merchandise export target of $400 billion for FY22, he added. Exporters with claims under the erstwhile Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS) as well as those with claims under the currently applicable Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (RoSCTL) for textiles and the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme will benefit. Goyal said the government had taken the decision to “immediately release all the pending overdues of various schemes of the government, under the erstwhile MEIS for exporters, under RoSCTL for the textile industry, RoDTEP dues, for the first quarter January to March, 2021 and overall … to budget Rs 56,000 crore in the current year itself to disperse all pending incentive dues.” Experts said lack of available funds with the exchequer was the reason behind delays in payments to exporters under various schemes with the government. Goyal added the dues set to be paid include MEIS claims of about Rs 33,000 crore, SEIS of about 10,000 crore and RoSCTL and ROSL claims of about Rs 5,500 crore. In effect, exporters will be cleared all their old due plus another Rs 19,500 crore (under RoDTEP and RoSCTL) for the current year,” said Goyal, noting that a total of about Rs 75,000 crore would become available to exporters. “At this time when export cycles are elongated, exporters have to wait longer to get payments and liquidity is a key issue. This will definitely help ease liquidity issues for exporters, particularly for MSMEs,” said Ajay Sahai, director general of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations. The Minister said exporters would have to file claims relating to earlier years by December 31. The government will shortly enable an IT portal to accept applications and Department of Revenue will monitor the disbursement.

Source: Indian Express

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'Manyavar' owner Vedant Fashions files IPO papers with Sebi

 The initial public offer (IPO) is purely an offer for sale of 36,364,838 equity shares by promoter and existing shareholders, according to the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP). Vedant Fashions Ltd, which owns ethnic wear brand Manyavar, has filed preliminary papers with capital markets regulator Sebi to raise funds through an initial share-sale. The initial public offer (IPO) is purely an offer for sale of 36,364,838 equity shares by promoter and existing shareholders, according to the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP). The OFS comprises sale of up to 1.74 crore shares by Rhine Holdings Ltd; up to 7.23 lakh shares by Kedaara Capital Alternative Investment Fund-Kedaara Capital AIF I; and up to 1.81 crore shares by Ravi Modi Family Trust. The promoters of the company are Ravi Modi, Shilpi Modi and Ravi Modi Family Trust. Since the IPO is entirely an offer for sale, the company will not receive any proceeds from the public issue. Vedant Fashions' 'Manyavar' brand is a category leader in the branded Indian wedding and celebration wear market with presence across the country. The company's other brands include Twamev, Manthan, Mohey, and Mebaz. As of June 30, 2021, the company has an extensive retail network with 537 exclusive brand outlets (EBOs) including 55 shop-in-shops globally, including 12 overseas EBOs across the US, Canada and the UAE, which are countries with a large Indian diaspora. "We seek to grow our retail network and product reach by entering new geographies, including in Tier II and III towns and cities in India, as we believe that these markets offer significant growth opportunities for us," the company said in the draft papers. Axis Capital, Edelweiss Financial Services, ICICI Securities, IIFL Securities and Kotak Mahindra Capital are the book running lead managers to the issue.

Source: Economic Times

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Focus on new-age textiles

Plan to boost production, exports should include MSMEs too The Centre’s scheme aimed at boosting domestic manufacturing of the in-demand manmade fibres, garments and technical textiles is being seen as a mixed bag. Incentives worth Rs 10,683 crore are to be provided over five years, and the targets include creation of 7.5 lakh jobs with private investment of Rs 19,000 crore. Definitely beneficial for corporates and large-scale industries, it is expected to contribute to economies of scale, but does not offer much to the micro, small and medium enterprises, which form the core of textile clusters in various states, such as Ludhiana in Punjab. Reducing the high threshold limit for investment, or offering similar incentives, could help unleash the potential of MSMEs in India’s emergence as a sourcing hub for the new-age textile material, as it has been for cotton garments. Man-made fibres, such as viscose, polyester and acrylic, are made from chemicals. Technical textiles are used for the production of personal protective equipment, airbags, bulletproof vests, and in the aviation, defence and infrastructure sectors. The shift from the primary focus on cotton is being attributed to the fact that two-thirds of the international trade today is of synthetic and specialty textiles. However, man-made fibre apparel accounts for only a fifth of India’s overall exports. The production-linked incentives are focused on enlarging and upgrading the new-age textile value chain, and not missing the bus in the changed dynamics of global trade. The budgetary outlay may prove to be inadequate as the scheme gathers steam, but the intended positives are many, such as increasing women’s participation in the formal economy since they are the predominant workforce in the textile industry. The realignment of the export strategy seeks to make Indian companies more competitive after ceding ground to countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam. The success depends on simplified procedures to claim benefits and having an open outlook on roping in smaller units and incentivising their role in enhancing the quality and quantity of production lines.

Source: Tribune India

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Cambodia Would Benefit From Myanmar-Bangladesh Ties – OpEd

Myanmar is one of Bangladesh’s closest neighbors with historic connectivity going back centuries. The 271 km long Bangladesh-Myanmar border is very important for Bangladesh due to its strategic position, although at present the area is militarized due to its ongoing internal conflicts. Were this to be resolved, Bangladesh could develop routes via Myanmar to access China to the east, and other southeast Asian countries to the south. On the other hands, Cambodia is very closed to Myanmar geographically. Thailand isa neighboring state of Myanmar. Myanmar and Cambodia can be able to access in South Asia through Bangladesh. If Cambodia connects itself with Bangladesh-MyanmarThailand-India connectivity project and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar connectivity corridor through Thailand, Cambodia would benefit. A huge potential is waiting for Cambodia. If the two projects can be implemented truly, Cambodia will be gainer in this regard. Bangladesh-Myanmar improved ties is very needed in this regard. Cambodia is a very friendly country to both Myanmar and Bangladesh Myanmar can also use Bangladesh as a transportation route to reach markets such as Nepal, Bhutan, and India. Both Bangladesh and Myanmar are members of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), an organization consisting of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand that seeks to foster regional and economic cooperation. Cambodia can and should join BIMSTEC to utilize the benefits. Bangladesh is a Southeast Asian country and can be used as an important hub to connect ASEAN and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). members of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka is difficult. Myanmar too, as an ASEAN member, can access the SAARC free-trade bloc through Bangladesh. Such a way, Cambodia would benefit economically to boost up their trade ties. Cambodia will be able to ensure its maximum business interest. Cambodia can access into the market of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Central Asia easily. Myanmar and Bangladesh have also resolved a dispute over their maritime borders through the International Court of Justice. As a result, the rights of Bangladesh have been established in an area of 1,11,000 square kilometers. Myanmar’s waters have also been properly identified. Bangladesh-Myanmar-Cambodia has potential to invest in maritime business in the Bay of Bengal. These countries should utilize and extract the maritime resource from the maritime zone. Blue economy can bring benefit for BangladeshMyanmar-Cambodia also. The proposed construction of the Asian Highway, funded by the Asian Development Bank can increase land connectivity between the two countries and increase trade in products such as fertilizers, plastics, cement, and furniture, etc. Cambodia should join the project to ensure its maximum business interest. Myanmar and Cambodia which at present does have sophisticated manufacturing, can import electronics and pharmaceutical products that are readily produced from Bangladesh and benefit from the technology transfer. Bangladesh-Myanmar-Cambodia has potential of rice and fishery production. Trilateral effort is very needed here. Bangladeshi medicines, agricultural products garments, footwear and leather goods, knitwear, pharmaceuticals, tableware, home textiles, textiles, seafood and marine products, tea, potatoes, jute and jute products, light engineering products, spices, cosmetics and ceramics, Toilets, etc. can be exported easily to Cambodia through Myanmar and Thailand. On the other hands. Cambodia mainly exports cotton, edible oil, fertilizer, cleaner, staple fiber, yarn, etc. to Bangladesh. Bangladesh and Cambodia cooperate in various fields. According to Bangladeshi media outlets, In 2010, the two countries agreed to set up a joint commission for bilateral cooperation between the foreign ministries. In 2013, they signed a visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic passports. Bangladesh has expressed interest in hiring Cambodian human resource development teachers. In 2014, a joint commission was set up to explore new areas of cooperation between the two countries. An agreement was signed to strengthen existing cooperation. In 2014, an agreement on cultural cooperation was signed between Bangladesh and Cambodia. The signed 10 deals in 2017 are expected to enhance bilateral ties and strengthen economic cooperation between the two developing countries. Bangladesh has proposed a long-term land cultivation agreement for farms in Cambodia by Bangladeshi nationals. Bangladesh is keen to sign a long-term rice import agreement with Cambodia. Bangladesh Cambodian students have been awarded scholarships by Bangladesh Agricultural University. The two countries jointly conduct agricultural research. In 2014, Bangladesh and Cambodia signed an agreement for scientific and technological cooperation in the agricultural sector. China is now the biggest investor in Myanmar. China has invested over US$3 billion since the 2016-2017 fiscal year. One of the most strategic components of these investments is the US$1.3 billion Kyaukphyu deep seaport, which when completed, can provide China’s Yunnan province a shortcut to the Indian Ocean. Cambodia can extract some benefits from the investments for its own gain. The country’s biggest economic advantage for Myanmar is that they are a member of ASEAN. ASEAN controls about 24 percent of total world trade and its share in world trade is growing yearly. ASEAN’s trade relations with China, Japan, and South Korea are deepening due to the increase in trade and the upcoming RCEP agreement. ASEAN countries account for more than 50 percent of total trade between themselves and these three countries. Bangladesh is keen to provide assistance to Myanmar. Covid-19 vaccine distribution and counter-terrorism training are some areas for cooperation. The Rohingya refugee problem has, however, created some tension between the two countries, and find the solution can serve the longer-term interests of Bangladesh and Myanmar even Thailand and Cambodia also. Myanmar and Bangladesh should solve this problem to serve its own and reginal interest. Myanmar should understand that it is the issue of the region. Whole South Asia and South East Asia may be volatile and unstable for this problem. Cambodia can play a very significant role in this regard. Cambodia can mediate to bolster the strained relations between Bangladesh-Myanmar. Cambodia can paly to repatriate the Rohingyas in Rakhine in Myanmar. Cambodia can easily solve the problem because it has a very good relations with Myanmar. However, the three countries can also increase production in the agricultural sector through joint ventures. Apart from adopting joint investment projects, Bangladesh can increase imports of various agricultural products including pulses, spices, fish and rice. Thus, enhancing trilateral relations could contribute to the growth of trade and investment relations with ASEAN and BIMSTEC countries. This will create an opportunity to solve the Rohingya problem and stop militant activities. Therefore, Myanmar should take effective steps to strengthen bilateral relations to connect the South East Asia with South Asia. Cambodia should play an effective role to motivate Myanmar to bolster ties with Bangladesh. Benefit is waiting not only for Myanmar but also for Cambodia.

Source:  Eurasia Review

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PM says there’s need to check wide import-export gap

Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the Commerce Division to submit the Strategic Export Framework for approval in the next two weeks as there is an urgent need of taking immediate measures to lessen the gap between imports and exports. The prime minister directed this, while chairing a meeting to review various steps taken by the government to increase the country’s exports. The meeting was informed that a total increase of $30 billion is possible in the current volume of exports and this could be achieved by focusing on 19 products, including IT, textiles, medicine, poultry, rice, vegetables, fruits, leather, salt, marble, and surgical instruments to increase the country’s exports. The meeting was informed by the Commerce Division that consultations with stakeholders, including industrialists, exporters, and concerned government agencies is underway. The prime minister stressed that as all economic indicators are moving in a positive direction; however, there is a need for urgent steps to reduce the gap between imports and exports. He further stated that the government is creating facilities for exporters, and directed that targets should be set for Pakistan’s trade and investment officers stationed abroad in terms of increasing exports. He said that the diversification of markets and products is a priority of the government to increase Pakistan’s exports. The prime minister added that providing a conducive environment and business-friendly policies to the business community is a government priority. He said that the government has been pursuing a policy of formulating policies in consultation with the business community and a strong partnership between the government and the industry would be continued. The prime minister further stated that the government has been following the policy of providing all possible facilities to the business community, the expects the business community to take full advantage of these opportunities and fully support the government in stabilising the country’s economy. The meeting was attended by National Security Advisor Dr Moeed Yousaf, Special Assistant Dr Shahbaz Gill, secretaries of Commerce Division and Energy Division as well as other senior officials.

Source: Brecorder

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Sri Lanka slaps 100 per cent LC margin to restrict imports: Report

The new margin requirement will be in effect from September 8 for over 600 items ranging from chocolates and wine to raincoats and carpets to discourage imports Sri Lanka has imposed a 100 per cent cash margin on letters of credit (LC) for over 600 items ranging from chocolates and wine to raincoats and carpets to discourage unnecessary imports as the country is facing a severe foreign exchange crisis. The decision was taken by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka at its meeting held on Wednesday. The board issued the order under the monetary law. The new margin requirement will be in effect from September 8 for over 600 items ranging from chocolates and wine to raincoats and carpets to discourage imports, it said. The licensed commercial banks have also been barred from giving credit for importers to meet the margins. Licensed commercial banks shall not grant any advances to their customers for the purpose of enabling such customers to meet the minimum cash margin deposit, the Central Bank said. The directive has described 693 items through customs codes including, chocolates, spaghetti, apple juice, wine, oats, soya milk, dairy goods, lipsticks, carpets, coats anoraks and electronic goods. Two days ago, Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa told parliament that Sri Lanka was facing a severe external crisis as well as a domestic crisis with revenues falling and expenses continuing to rise. Our country is facing a severe foreign exchange crisis he said. On August 31, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued emergency regulations to contain soaring inflation after a steep fall in the value of the country's currency caused a spike in food prices. President Rajapaksa declared the state of emergency under the public security ordinance to prevent the hoarding of essential items, including rice and sugar. The government appointed a former army general as commissioner of essential services, who will have the power to seize food stocks held by traders and retailers and regulate their prices. The move had come after the prices of most essential goods skyrocketed due to the falling local currency and high global market prices driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sri Lankan rupee has fallen by 7.5 per cent against the US dollar this year. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka recently increased interest rates in a bid to shore up the local currency. According to bank data, Sri Lanka's foreign reserves fell to USD 2.8 billion at the end of July, from USD 7.5 billion in November 2019 when the government took office and the rupee has lost more than 20 per cent of its value against the US dollar in that time. Sri Lanka, a net importer of food and other commodities, is witnessing a surge in COVID19 cases and deaths which has hit tourism, one of its main foreign currency earners. Partly as a result of the slump in tourist numbers, Sri Lanka's economy shrank by a record 3.6 per cent last year. The country is currently under a 16-day curfew until Monday because of a jump in COVID-19 cases.

Source: Business Standard

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Smart wearable technologies make the difference in logistics

The search for alternatives to China has resulted in more attractive investments in Turkey’s production and logistics technology startups, which are boosting efforts to put efficient and flawless instruments at our disposal he coronavirus pandemic has triggered major interest in production-oriented initiatives operating in multiple areas, from textile and automotive to the health industry. Soaring costs in China, a bulky production structure and increasing risks have prompted European companies to turn to Turkey. Now the use of wearable technologies that work with minimal error in manufacturing and in the logistics sector is also increasing. Turkey’s only industrial smart wearable technology brand in the world, Thread In Motion (TIM), has launched the TIM Partners program. The program aims to provide perfect end-to-end service to Thread In Motion’s existing operating regions and new target markets. The company’s first Diamond Partner in Turkey has become the country’s leading traceability integrator Vector. To address the expectations of Industry 4.0, TIM's integration partnerships harness mutual hardware and software knowledge to help organizations easily combine legacy systems with new mobile tools and Internet of Things (IoT) wearables. Smart gloves “We are very excited to have fully implemented the partnership structure that has been on our agenda for a long time,” said Thread In Motion founding partner and CEO Kadir Demircioğlu while evaluating the program. “We are bringing a whole new breath to the well-known channel sales order; aside from the rights of our partner companies at home or abroad, we will reward employees who sell in accordance with our ‘human first’ philosophy,” Demircioğlu noted. In addition, he stated that their “smart gloves,” which he said were unbeatable in the market, “make our business partners stand out from the competition, and I can say that this is one of the best feedback we have received.” TIM smart gloves can be used in different industries and scaled to the volume of use. Many global companies in different sectors use Thread In Motion’s technology in operational processes. Business associates program As part of the TIM Partners program, Thread in Motion offers its partners four different models: Diamond, Platinum, Gold and Silver. Each model has specific minimum requirements, different percentages of entitlements and various other advantages to make it easier for the partner to achieve their goals. Thread In Motion Channel and Partner Program Manager Gökhan Barlak said the business partnership structure that has developed with players abroad, including Romania, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Portugal, South Korea, India and Brazil has matured over the last year and has turned into the TIM Partners program and has started to be applied in global markets together with Turkey. Industry 4.0 achievements The first Diamond Partner of Thread In Motion in Turkey, Vector, is accelerating and trying to make flawless the logistics procedures of customers with the smart gloves, its CEO said. “Since the day we set out, we have started to transform the sector with Thread In Motion, which has extended us support at every point. Both we and our customers are very satisfied, our goal is to bring the whole market together with Industry 4.0 achievements," Halit Erol Şengünler said.

Source: Daily Sabah

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Researchers develop yarn that can detect temperature and generate power

Recently, researchers from the UK and Netherlands developed yarn to generate power, detect temperature differences, and measure strain. What challenges do wearable sensors face, how did the researchers develop their yarn, and what applications could it be used in? What challenges do wearable sensors face? Modern wearable electronics have started to increase in popularity, with most taking the form of a watch-like device. While these devices can provide conveniences such as text messaging, browsing, and alerts, they are generally bulky and nowhere near as comfortable as clothing. The main limiting factor behind modern wearable electronics is that electronic components are ridged by nature. Since anything ridged cannot flex or bend, anything built using ridged parts will also be inherent ridged (or at least partly). For wearable electronics to become genuinely wearable, they need to be constructed entirely from flexible components. Research into such components is widespread, and there have already been some significant achievements. For example, PragmatIC is a UK-based semiconductor manufacturer that has successfully created a flexible ARM core. However, the core is still in its early stages and wastes large amounts of energy due to using NMOS circuitry. Sensors are another area that wearable electronics will be heavily reliant on. Wearable sensors can give great insight into personal health and statistics, and sensors that can be comfortably worn without the user knowing will be highly advantageous. However, most sensors rely on inflexible technologies, just like electronic components, which are often bulky. Researchers develop wearable yarn Recently, researchers from the UK and Netherlands have developed a yarn that can be woven into textiles and provide various functions, including power generation, temperature sensing, and mechanical stress measurements. The fibres are made using a commercially available yarn called Lycra covered in a conductive copolymer poly(3,4-ethylene dioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS). This covering gives the yarn its ability to measure temperature, detect strain, and generate power. The ability to measure mechanical stress was discovered when the researchers subjected the yarn to high amounts of strain. This caused the formation of cracks throughout the copolymer, and it is these cracks that increase the surface area of the copolymer, giving it the ability to measure strain. While the yarn can measure temperature, this measurement is based on thermoelectricity. As such, the yarn can only detect temperature differences as opposed to absolute temperature. While this may seem like a disadvantage, it enables the yarn to produce electricity when used in reverse. The researchers estimated that 1800 strands of fibre woven into a glove could provide enough power for basic electronics. As such, the temperature difference between the user’s body and the ambient environment could potentially power future devices. What is the potential application for such sensors? One potential application for such textiles would be predictive diagnostics. Simply put, a user could wear a medical vest that monitors the temperature, stress, and general movement. This data is passed to an AI that looks for anomalous data while also being compared to online databases of freely available medical data. From there, the AI could spot certain conditions before they become a problem (such as dementia and Alzheimer’s), thereby giving patients more time to act. Another use for such sensors would be the health monitoring of individuals in dangerous environments (such as mines and oil rigs). Any deviation in normal working conditions such as toxic environments or structural failure would be easily detected on a vest-worn device, which could trigger an alarm for those at a control centre. It is unlikely that such yarn would ever provide power (as TEGs have such low efficiencies and require high-temperature difference), but its ability to be woven into textiles while providing the temperature and mechanical strain readings is highly advantageous.

Source: Electro Pages

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Bangladeshi designer weaving his way to Vogue

Moin Uddin, a Bangladeshi fashion designer and stylist, has been successfully working in fashion internationally for quite some time. He was honoured as one of the best-dressed gents at Vogue Fashion Night Out Sydney in 2018. Hailing from Chattogram, Moin was intrigued by fabrics from a young age. He is an avid believer in tailored and personalised products. When it comes to clothes, he is passionate about innovative gent styles. Moin moved to Australia in 2016. He has a Bachelor's in Marketing from Macquarie University in Sydney. Currently, he is pursuing his Master of Business Analytics Studies from the same university. Moin was invited to a job interview at Heinemann Australia, a luxury retail company associated with top-tier brands like Louis Vuitton, Bally, Fendi, and Salvatore Ferragamo, among others. He wore a hand-made suit that he designed in Bangladesh to the interview. He was the first Bangladeshi to work in the company's Luxury Boutiques department in Australia. He also won the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award in 2015. Later, Moin joined the renowned menswear brand, Ermenegildo Zegna, as a luxury menswear specialist. He was approached by Vogue's master photographer Liz Sunshine around the same time. "Liz appreciated my style and included my photo in the magazine," shares Moin, who also attended the Melbourne Fashion Week in 2019. He is currently working in supply chain and marketing with renowned brands like Roger La Viale, Ermenegildo Zegna, Vitale Barberis Canonico, Linen Club, Arvind, Tessuti, Jacquard, Australian Wool, and Merino Wool by providing high quality Cashmere fabrics. Moin returned to Chattogram last year to establish his own menswear brand, Salvatorini. His brand combines the sartorial tradition of clothing with textile innovation. The designer believes that being ethical, transparent, and innovative is important in the fashion industry. He looks to create a fashion revolution for Bangladesh by taking his hand-made creations to global platforms.

Source: The Daily Star

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