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MARKET WATCH 14 SEPT, 2017

NATIONAL

INTERNATIONAL

 

Delhi HC allows exporter to import without paying IGST

The Delhi High Court has granted interim relief to an exporter, allowing him to import goods without payment of the integrated goods and services tax (IGST) to the extent allowed by advance authorisations received by him prior to July 1, when GST was enforced. Advance authorisation is issued for exporters to allow duty-free import of inputs which are physically incorporated in export products. The relief given relates to export orders placed on the petitioner, an exporter of plastic products, before July 1. The next hearing in this case is on February 22.

Prior to GST, import under the Advance Authorisation Scheme (ASS) was exempt from payment of taxes like basic customs duty, additional customs duty, and education cess. A major change since July 1 is additional levy of IGST. While upfront exemption is extended to basic customs duty, exporters are required to pay IGST on import and central, state or Union Territory GST (as the case applicable) on domestic procurement; thereafter, they may claim a refund.

The petitioner in this case had contended that such a mechanism adversely affected his working capital, impacting export orders got prior to July 1, for the fulfilment of which he had to undertake import of inputs. One such export order placed on the petitioner by Walmart Inc, USA, was cited. The petitioner said with the change brought about by the GST regime, he would have no option but to pay IGST out of own sources, causing a working capital blockage. As the petitioner had already used up the overdraft limit with banks, borrowing would have to be done.

Counsel for the customs department said the petitioner could seek refund of the IGST after completion of the export obligation. Hence, there was no ground for a real grievance. The petitioner replied that the prospect of IGST being ultimately refunded was little consolation -- he required liquidity to discharge the additional levy of IGST, failing which the import would get blocked.

Abhishek Rastogi of Khaitan & Co, the petitioner's counsel, said while the order was specific to the petitioner, it did lay down the foundation for benefits that should go to exporters. After GST implementation, he said, the commerce ministry had asked the finance ministry to ensure export benefits continued as these were prior to GST. The finance ministry had not acted on this representation, resulting in exporters loss of working capital on a large scale. The interim relief, he added, was a "beginning for the two ministries to pave a clear Path for exporters".

SOURCE: The Business Standard

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GST woes: Exporters allege no duty drawback refund from states

State governments have effectively stopped paying tax refunds under the duty drawback scheme (DDS), compounding their liquidity issues, say exporters. Since the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime was introduced on July 1, they allege, getting refunds for the state component of the levy has become very difficult under the DDS, with the requisite mechanism not in place. "While it is still possible to get states to pay for their share of refunds under the Integrated GST, those refunds which are to be paid fully by them are not materialising," said Ajay Sahai, director-general of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations. The problem was across the country, he added.

DDS seeks to rebate the duty or tax chargeable on any imported or excisable material or input services used in the manufacture of export goods. Customs and Union excise duties in respect of inputs and service tax in respect of input services are neutralised under the scheme. The Central Board of Excise and Customs, which administers the DDS, had decided to extend it for three months once GST was introduced. This was after exporter bodies had represented that the scheme seamlessly reimbursed the tax incidence on input and input services. However, to avail of the benefits, exporters should not claim input credit under GST, the government had warned at the time.

Till now, a severe crunch in liquidity under the GST regime had been flagged by exporters as the most challenging issue. Their costs have risen by up to 1.25 per cent (Freight On Board value) after GST implementation, according to their calculations. The figure is changing as late refunds pinch smaller players hard and even larger entities have difficulty over streamlining of operations, they say.

A similar issue is playing out over duty scrips, the scope of which has been reduced as a tax paying instrument. Exporters earn duty credits in the form of scrips at fixed rates of two, thre and five per cent on despatch of shipments, depending on product and country. The earned scrips may be freely transferred to others or sold. In August, the government had instituted a 12 per cent tax on sale of scrips received for incentive schemes such as the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS), for the first time. Scrips received by exporters under the Services Exports from India Scheme and the Incremental Export Incentivisation Scheme, apart from the MEIS, will be taxed.

The government's tax move was rapped by exporters, who said this had no justification and would hit their shipments. Subsequently, the GST Council last week announced that this was being reduced to four per cent. However, while scrips were allowed to be utilised for the payment of excise, service tax and value added tax before GST, this may now only be done for payment of basic customs duty. "This is unfair and a withdrawal of benefits to exporters. It has meant additional cash outgo for import clearance on export orders," said the Engineering Export Promotion Council. They have asked that such scrips be allowed to neutralise Central and State or Integrated GST, in line with the pre-GST situation. Both duty drawback and scrips are to be discussed by exporters with the newly constituted committee to look into their GST concerns. After a similar committee headed by commerce secretary Rita Teaotia tried to address their major grouses, the GST Council has now decided to form a similar committee, headed by revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia.

SOURCE: The Business Standard

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Exporters Seek Clarity on Status of Sops Under GST

Exporters say they're facing difficulties owing to ambiguity about benefits continuing under goods and services tax (GST) from the previous tax regime and queries over accessing input credit, further clouding their prospects amid a dull global market and an appreciating rupee. Some of them have sought clarity on the matter from the government ahead of the peak export season, said people in the know. The development has led to exporters being unsure about pricing products set for the European Union and the US and warnings that overseas sales could suffer a setback in the upcoming quarter.

The Foreign Trade Policy, FTP 2015-2020, has several incentives based on the earlier levies such as excise duty and service tax. It had been expected that these incentives would be recalibrated under GST but that hasn't happened, exporters said. “There is an urgent need for the government to clarify on the incentives available to exporters as their tax outgo has changed in GST,“ said MS Mani, partner, Deloitte India, adviser to some top exporters. “It is expected that the newly constituted committee headed by the revenue secretary would fast track its recommendations so that exporters get much-needed clarity ahead of the peak export season and are able to plan accordingly .“

Sales surge in Europe and the US during the Christmas period and exporters need to ensure that goods are shipped in September or at least October to catch that bump. “This is the need of the hour as the objective of the FTP is to ensure that goods are exported and not the taxes asso ciated with the procurement or manufacture of these goods,“ said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.“Since the GST rates are not identical to the erstwhile indirect tax rates and because there is no exemption on procurements for exporters, the exporting community is not clear on whether the incentives would increase, decrease or remain the same.“

While one option would have been to provide an exemption in the GST legislation to procurements made by exporters, the government has provided a mechanism under which exporters pay the applicable tax to vendors and claim a refund on input taxes. “There are very stringent timelines provided for grant of refunds to exporters in the GST law,“ admitted the person cited above. But exporters aren't sure whether these would actually be followed, based on their past experience with refunds, the person added.

Many exporter groups have raised the matter with the government in the past few months. The Adhia committee is set to evaluate the problems faced by exporters. Exporters are also facing problems over claiming input credit for goods exported because of mismatches in Harmonised System Nomenclature codes for about 230 products -mainly dyes and dye intermediates. The code is used globally to classify goods for taxation and for claiming domestic benefits. This means purchase invoices and shipping bills appear to be those of different products to GST's IT network. Exporters are therefore unable to get credit, impacting their cash flows.

Sachin Menon, national head of indirect tax at KPMG, said, “There seems to be no harmony between HSN codes in the GST portal and ICEGATE (portal run by the Central Board of Excise and Customs) for a few products.This means that some of the exporters may not be able to take input credit for the exports and would directly impact their cash flows till this issue is resolved.“

SOURCE: The Economic Times

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FinMin releases timelines for submission of budget proposals

The finance ministry released timelines for submission of proposals by different ministries and departments towards preparation of the first post-GST Budget, scheduled to be presented in February. As per the circular for the Budget 2018-19, the pre- budget meetings of ministries and departments will start from October 9. "All data, as per the prescribed formats, will need to be submitted on UBIS (Union Budget Information System) platform. Data entered in the UBIS shall form the basis for generating both Statement of Budget Estimates and the Detailed Demand for Grants," the circular said. The basis of the final budgetary allocations will be the ceilings indicated in the Medium-term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) statement, it added.

The MTEF statement was tabled in Parliament in the monsoon session in August, 2017. Using the allocations indicated in the MTEF statement, each ministry would decide the allocations and forward them to the budget division. As per the timeline, estimates of capital receipts have to submitted to the budget division by October 16 and for revenue receipts by November 15. Further, the outcome budget framework would also need to be prepared as per the allocations indicated in the MTEF statement. "The outcome budget would need to be duly approved by NITI Aayog and Public Finance, Department of Expenditure," the circular said.

For the central sector and centrally sponsored schemes, tentative ceilings would be discussed during the pre-budget meetings. The government expects GDP estimates, a key macro- economic data used in preparation of the budget, from the Central Statistics Office by January 6. It also contains revised estimates of revenue and expenditure. The annual exercise of budgeting is a means for detailing the roadmap for efficient use of public resources taking into account socio-economic and political priorities.

SOURCE: The Economic Times

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Indian firm buys Monsanto Holdings' cotton seed business

Hyderabad-based Tierra Agrotech Pvt Ltd has acquired the branded cotton seeds business of Monsanto Holdings as the US-based seed giant battles a bitter dispute with former Indian licensee Nuziveedu Seeds in the Delhi High Court that has drawn both countries’ governments. Monsanto had earlier threatened to exit India after New Delhi had imposed price controls. “Tierra targets to scale up its breeding and research programme by integrating the acquired business and by strategically investing to deliver high-yielding cotton hybrids,” an Indian newspaper reported quoting Tierra Agrotech managing director Suresh Atluri as saying. However, Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) (MMB), a joint venture with India’s Mahyco, will continue to sell genetically modified cotton seeds under license to more than 40 Indian seed companies. Monsanto Holdings, an MMB licensee, had only a small share of India’s cotton seed market and focuses largely on vegetable seeds, such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.

SOURCE: Fibre2fashion

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Cabinet apprised of India-Japan MoU for research in silk

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been apprised of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Central Silk Board (CSB), India and National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS), Japan for collaborative research in the field of silkworm and silk industries. The MoU is of scientific and technological nature.  The MoU was signed last year in November between CSB and NIAS for initiating a collaborative research for developing prolific bivoltine hybrids of silkworm suitable for the Indian tropical conditions. It would help in developing prolific hybrid silkworms, which would improve the manufacturing capacity and quality standards of the Indian sericulture industry and thereby enhance exports of silk and silk products.  It is expected that subsequent to the MoU, the Indian textiles & apparel industry would be able to produce world class silk and silk products. The improvement of quality and productivity would ultimately increase export of silk products.

SOURCE: Fibre2fashion

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GST: Govt sets up panel to receive profiteering complaints

A four-member standing committee, comprising tax officials of the Centre and states, has been set up to receive complaints of undue profiteering by any entity under the new goods and services tax (GST) regime. The Standing Committee on anti-profiteering will act as a complaint processing machinery and will refer any cases it finds fit for investigation to the Directorate General of Safeguards (DGS). The setting up of the panel, with two officials of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) and one each from Delhi and Haryana tax department, sets in motion the anti- profiteering clause under the GST.

CBEC officials Himanshu Gupta, principal commissioner, GST Delhi; O.P. Dadhich, principal commissioner customs (preventive) Delhi; H. Rajesh Prasad commissioner (sales tax) Delhi and Ashima Brar excise and taxation commissioner Haryana, are members of the committee, according to an official order. The anti-profiteering mechanism was proposed to enable the benefit of lower taxation in the GST with the subsuming of over a dozen central and state taxes like excise duty, service tax and VAT and end to tax-on-tax, is passed on to consumers. Businesses or entities not passing on the benefit can be referred to the committee. The detailed procedure for approaching the committees will be announced soon, officials said. Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia had last week said that the government has notified the ‘standing committee’ comprising four officers—two each from the Centre and states—but the names of the officers were not in public domain.

As per the structure of the anti-profiteering mechanism in the GST regime, complaints which are of local nature would be first sent to the state-level ‘screening committee’, while those of national level would be sent to the ‘standing committee’. If the complaints have merit, then the respective committees would refer the cases for further investigation to the Directorate General of Safeguards (DGS). The DG Safeguards would generally take about three months to complete the investigation and send the report to the anti-profiteering authority.

Although, the members of the anti-profiteering authority, to be headed by a secretary-level officer with four joint secretary-rank officers as members, are yet to be finalised, Adhia had said adding that the authority would be in place by the time the DGS investigation on the complaints is complete. The GST was rolled out from 1 July and the government has advised businesses to pass on the benefit of any cost reduction to buyers. The anti profiteering authority, if it finds that a company has not passed on GST benefits, will either direct the firm to pass on benefits to consumers or if the beneficiary cannot be identified will ask the firm to transfer the amount to a ‘consumer welfare fund’ within a specified timeline.

The authority will have the power to cancel registration of any entity or business if it fails to pass on to consumers the benefit of lower taxes under the GST regime, but it would probably be the last step against any violator. The authority can suggest return of the undue profit earned from not passing on the reduction in incidence of tax to consumers along with 18% interest, as also impose a penalty. A five-member committee headed by cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha, comprising Adhia, CBEC chairman Vanaja Sarna and chief secretaries from two states, would finalise the Chairman and members of the authority, which would have a term of two years.

SOURCE: The Live Mint

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Future Retail weighs merger options with HyperCity Retail

Future Retail, which owns the Big Bazaar retain chain, is discussing with HyperCity Retail, part of the K Raheja Corp Group, for a possible merger between the two. All discussions now are exploratory in nature as the company keeps on evaluating possible business associations and transactions, the Kishore Biyani-owned company said in a regulatory filing. HyperCity has 20 stores in Delhi, Noida, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jaipur, Pune, Ahmedabad and other cities. K Raheja Corp Group also operates retail chains under Shoppers' Stop and Crosswords in India. Biyani's Future group had earlier acquired Bharti Retail, South India-based convenience store chain Nilgiris and the 136 retail stores of Heritage Food in Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru.

SOURCE: Fibre2fashion

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Jabong 3rd largest global e-tailer for Dorothy Perkins

Jabong is the third largest global e-commerce partner for Dorothy Perkins, UK-based women’s fashion retailer which has been dressing and inspiring women worldwide for more than 100 years. Jabong has been aggressively expanding its product portfolio and has added more than 50 new brands this year with a special focus on adding international brands. The brand is available on Jabong, with an extensive collection of over 3,000 SKUs. In the last three years of this association, Jabong has recorded a 50 per cent CAGR in sales. "As one of India’s best loved fashion e-tailers, Jabong has been our partner of choice in India since 2014. They have helped us position our brand to the right audiences in a way that matches perfectly with our persona. Their immense contribution towards raising brand awareness for us in the country is a testament to Jabong’s track record of providing the ideal launch pad for top global brands entering India," John Kenchington, multi channel director, Dorothy Perkins said.

"Our team is exhilarated that Jabong has emerged as the third largest partner for Dorothy Perkins worldwide, even though we only sell in India. It is actually a salute to our fashion forward women consumers who form the major share of our customer base. Dorothy Perkins with its continued focus on fast fashion is one of the most loved brands on the platform. We will continue to ramp up our efforts to provide the best of international fashion to our consumers," Gunjan Soni, head, Jabong said.

Jabong is India’s leading fashion and lifestyle e-ecommerce platform that offers a wide selection of over 350,000 products across footwear, apparel, jewelery and accessories categories. With more than 2,500 international high-street brands, sports labels, Indian ethnic and designer labels from over a thousand sellers, Jabong brings to its customers the latest trends from across the globe. Jabong services over 19,000 pin codes covering over 2,000 cities and towns across the country.

SOURCE: Fibre2fashion

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50% of UK’s visitor visas given to Chinese, Indians

Visitor visas constituted the bulk of total visas granted by the UK to nationalities in non-European Economic Area (EEA) during financial year ended June 30, 2017. Nearly 50% of visitors were from China and India. Of the total 26.3 lakh visas issued by the UK during this period, 20.38 lakh or 77% were for visitors alone. The aggregate number of visitor visas reflected a rise of 8% over the previous year ended June 30, 2016. Of the 20.38 lakh visitor visas, Chinese were allotted 26% and Indians 20%. The primary visa categories include visitor, work and study. According to the UK's home office, as many as 4.14 lakh Indians obtained visitor visas, a rise of 10% from the previous corresponding period. By comparison, those granted to the Chinese, excluding from Hong Kong, rose 24% to 5.36 lakh.

Aside from visitor visas, the most common ones granted to non-EEA nationals include study visas (excluding for short-term courses). During the year ended June 2017, 2.13 lakh such visas were granted, a 4% increase over the previous year. Visas granted to the three largest non-EEA student nationalities saw an increase too. Chinese students were issued 82,200 visas, a rise of 17% from the previous financial year; Americans 14,400 visas, up just 1% and Indians 11,700, an almost 10% rise, states the UK's home office.

The EEA brings together the Europena Union countries and a few others such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland into a single market—allowing for free movement of people. Thus, the UK home office statistics on visas include only non-EEA countries. The official statement, though, explains that some non-EEA nationalities such as Americans do not normally require a visa to visit the UK. Consequently, the number of visitor visas granted is much lower than the total number of arrivals. While Brexit may change the scenario, the number of visas issued to skilled workers remained fairly constant during the 12-month period ended June 30, 2017, compared with the corresponding period in the earlier year. There was an insignificant decline of 1.25% to 92,805 from 93,935. The earlier trend continued, with Indian nationals accounting for nearly 58% (or 53,366) of the total skilled work visas granted. US nationals were the next largest group with 9,144 Tier-II visas granted to them or 10% of the total in this category.

In the previous corresponding year, Indians had obtained 53,548 Tier-II visas or 57% of the total visas in this category, whereas Americans with 10,019 were issued 11% of these visas. Work visas across all categories, which include Tier-I (unskilled), youth mobility and temporary ones saw a marginal decline of 2% from 1.66 lakh visas in June 2016 to 1.63 lakh visas. The impact of Brexit has shown some signs with EU nationals gradually migrating out of the UK. Latest available figures for a 12-month period up to March 2017 show that the net migration or the difference between the number of people entering and leaving the UK, was 2.46 lakh, a decrease of 81,000 from the previous year.

According to a Uniten Kingdon-based immigration counsel, the government's initial aim was to bring the net migration to below one lakh people a year. However, there has been internal discontent on this issue and the industry fears a brain drain should this happen. "Indian workers are largely in the skilled category. Further, several of them are on company secondments. It is too early to tell what will be the impact of Brexit on them," says this expert.

SOURCE: The Times of India

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Rupee optimism holds as shock India slump worries economists

The shock slowdown in India’s growth has economists rushing to cut their estimates for the end of the year. Their pessimism isn’t shared by currency strategists who are raising forecasts for the rupee. Citigroup Inc. and UBS Group AG are among global banks that have lowered their estimates for India’s growth after the latest data showed gross domestic product (GDP) in the June quarter rose at the slowest pace since 2014. Even so, the median rupee forecast for end-March is rising in September for a sixth straight month. “Investors are more inclined to view this GDP miss as a blip, rather than a deteriorating signal over the macro backdrop in India,” said Viraj Patel, a London-based foreign-exchange strategist at ING Groep NV. The rupee “certainly stacks up as one of the best among Asian FX, given the combination of a robust macro outlook, low external financing risks and low political risks.” The jury is still out on how long the slowdown in India’s growth will last given it’s been at least partly triggered by one-time events such as the government’s unprecedented currency ban in November and the disruption caused by the 1 July implementation of a nationwide sales tax. Currency investors need to weigh the domestic softening against broad weakness seen in the US dollar this year, which has supported the rupee.

The Indian currency has climbed 6.1% in 2017, with the bulk of its gains coming in the first half of the calendar year. It has weakened about 0.2% so far in September to 64 per dollar on Wednesday, after rising 1.1% in the last two months. The median of estimates compiled by Bloomberg shows the rupee will end the financial year at 64.50, as against the 64.70 forecast at the end of August. The case for a downward revision to growth has intensified “with weaker than expected first-quarter GDP data, reduced space for fiscal spending and emerging concerns on consumer confidence,” Citigroup economists Samiran Chakraborty and Anurag Jha wrote in a report dated 31 August, lowering their estimate for GDP growth to 7% from 7.5%. Such revisions come at a time when there are already signs that overseas demand for Indian assets is waning. Concern over equity valuations and geopolitical risks surrounding the Korean peninsula saw global funds pull out $1.73 billion from Indian stocks in August, the biggest outflow in nine months. They have withdrawn another $617 million so far this month.

August’s rise in foreign holdings of rupee-denominated government and corporate bonds, at 126 billion rupees ($1.97 billion), was the smallest since February, as investors use up almost all of their eligible quotas to buy bonds. That said, strategists including those at ING and National Australia Bank Ltd point out that India remains one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world. A strong political mandate should allow Modi’s administration to implement more policy changes to revive expansion, they say, adding that Asia’s best carry and total returns as well as the prospect of at least one more interest-rate cut should keep investors interested in rupee assets.

At 6.58%, India’s benchmark 10-year bond yield is the highest among major Asian markets and the rupee is among the least volatile emerging-market currencies. Borrowing in dollars to purchase rupee assets has earned 9.9% in 2017, the best carry returns in Asia, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The rupee tops the region on a total-return basis as well. Societe Generale SA said earlier this month that the currency is its top pick in Asia on a total-return basis, while HSBC Holdings Plc said India’s economic reform story remains intact, which should sustain foreign direct investment. Bloomberg Intelligence predicts the currency will strengthen to 61 per dollar by March. ING has raised its end-2017 rupee forecast to 63.50 and sees it at 62.50 at the end of March. Patel cited the “RBI’s strong desire for stability,” for recent revisions, adding that the risk of a “broader move toward 60 is high.” “India is one of the best placed in the EM space,” said Julian Wee, a senior market strategist at National Australia Bank in Singapore. “Politically, there is little risk. Its fundamentals are also pretty strong. The U.S. dollar remains weak overall, and the rupee still retains a large interest-rate differential buffer against it.” Bloomberg

SOURCE: The LiveMint

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EU hopes to resume FTA talks with India

The European Union is looking at a bilateral summit with India next month that would act as a catalyst for resumption of talks on the free trade agreement encompassing goods, services and mutual investment protection, according to a senior EU official. Talks on the Bilateral Trade Investment Agreement (BTIA) —- the official title of the pact -- started in 2007 but have been marred by various flip-flops and disagreements. The discussions have remained deadlocked on issues like tariffs on automobiles and wines and spirits, EU trade officials said. They hoped that the 14th EU-India Summit, likely in early October "will get the economic dialogue going as a precursor to relaunching talks on FTA". The last summit on March 30, 2016, saw discussions focused on trade and investment, energy and climate, water, migration and foreign and security policy. "Unfortunately, Indian policy has created major uncertainties for us because your government has taken policy decision to let bilateral investment treaties, which gave very clear rules, lapse," said a senior EU official, who did not want to be named. The 28 member states of the EU wanted the pacts to continue until they are replaced by EU-India FTA that would have had an investment chapter. "Indian side thought it was wiser to let the bilateral investment treaties (BITs) lapse," the official said, adding that EU investors, in many cases, no longer have bilateral investment protection. The official said EU not just wants an FTA but "also an investor certainty created by provisions of treaty".

The EU push for the pact comes amid many countries world over, including the US, questioning the system of free trade. The US has pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and has questioned the benefits of globalisation and free trade. Expressing dismay over India's decision to do away with bilateral investment treaties with its member states, the EU official said: "All the EU member states wanted to prolong these until it would be replaced by EU wide treaty with India in form of FTA, which would have had an investment chapter". On the expected deliverables of the EU–India Summit, another official said that besides joint declaration on climate change and clean energy, a likely one is on a partnership for smart and sustainable urbanisation -- linking the EU's Urban Agenda with India's '100 Smart Cities Mission'. European Investment Bank (EIB) loan for Bangalore metro development, is also on the cards. "The European Investment Bank which sits is Luxembourg, had in the last summit signed a major loan for Lucknow metro development. And I think now there will be new loans for Bangalore metro development," an EU official familiar with the development. He declined however to specify the size of the new loan being negotiated.

The loan is in the process of finalisation, the official added. The two sides may also look to strengthen security cooperation such as by expanding the scope of counter-piracy dialogue to maritime security and establishing a new dialogue on cyber crime and space. Also, it may support India-Europol cooperation on issues like cyber crime and counter terrorism. "We have had recently good and concrete dialogue on cyber security and counter terrorism and on maritime security. And these are certainly key fields where we can deepen our cooperation," the EU official said. On the new areas of cooperation, he said a strategic cooperation with Europol, which is the Europe wide agency for police cooperation, is being talked about. "We are looking forward to having some form of strategic cooperation between India and Europol. So these are examples of increased cooperation in security," said the official.

SOURCE: The MoneyControl

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PM Modi-Shinzo Abe meet: Two sides to discuss dipping bilateral trade between India, Japan

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sit down for bilateral talks on Thursday, the two sides will discuss the sharp decline in bilateral trade in the last four years. Despite the increased bonhomie, and 10 meetings between the leaders, this is a major challenge confronting the bilateral ties. “This is an area of concern, and both leaders will discuss the issue…. It’s not a new issue…has been continuing for some time now. We hope to arrest the trend, and turn it around,” a government official told The Indian Express on Wednesday. According to official data, bilateral trade between the two countries more than doubled between 2006-07 and 2012-13. However, total trade has come down to $14.51 billion in 2015-16 from a peak of $18.5 billion in 2012-13.

In 2015-16, India’s exports to Japan were worth $4.66 billion, while imports amounted to $9.85 billion. In 2016-17, the country’s exports fell by 17.38 per cent — to $3.85 billion — and imports by 2.2 per cent to $ 9.63 billion. “The negative or slow growth in trade with Japan is a matter of concern for India in view of the fact that there is high potential for faster progress on goods and services trade. The share of India-Japan trade in Japan’s total trade has been hovering around 1 per cent but it is in the range of 2.05 to 2.34 per cent of India’s total trade in the last five years,” according to a note prepared by the Central government.

India’s primary exports to Japan have been petroleum products, chemical elements/compounds, fish and fish preparation, non-metallic mineral ware, Metalliferous ores and scrap, clothing and accessories, iron and steel products, textile yarn/fabrics, machinery, feeding-stuff for animals. Officials said that economic relations between India and Japan have vast potential for growth, given the obvious complementary that exists between the two Asian economies. Japan’s interest in India is increasing due to a variety of reasons, including India’s huge and growing market and its resources, especially the human resources.

The signing of the historic India-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and its implementation from August 2011 has accelerated economic and commercial relations between the two countries. During Modi’s visit to Japan in September 2014, Abe had pledged $35 billion in investment in India’s public and private sectors over the next five years. The two countries also set a target of doubling Japanese FDI and the number of Japanese firms in India by 2019. “This current trend only means that the initiatives taken so far have not worked, and we have to find new and creative ways to stop the decline,” the source in the government said.

SOURCE: The Indian Express

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Global Textile Raw Material Price 2017-09-13

Item

Price

Unit

Fluctuation

Date

PSF

1319.54

USD/Ton

0%

9/13/2017

VSF

2463.14

USD/Ton

0%

9/13/2017

ASF

2386.64

USD/Ton

0%

9/13/2017

Polyester POY

1332.54

USD/Ton

0%

9/13/2017

Nylon FDY

3166.89

USD/Ton

0%

9/13/2017

40D Spandex

5584.14

USD/Ton

1%

9/13/2017

Polyester DTY

5783.02

USD/Ton

0%

9/13/2017

Nylon POY

1545.2

USD/Ton

0%

9/13/2017

Acrylic Top 3D

2876.21

USD/Ton

1%

9/13/2017

Polyester FDY

2539.63

USD/Ton

0%

9/13/2017

Nylon DTY

1690.54

USD/Ton

0%

9/13/2017

Viscose Long Filament

3289.29

USD/Ton

0%

9/13/2017

30S Spun Rayon Yarn

3075.1

USD/Ton

1%

9/13/2017

32S Polyester Yarn

1988.87

USD/Ton

0%

9/13/2017

45S T/C Yarn

2860.91

USD/Ton

1%

9/13/2017

40S Rayon Yarn

3243.39

USD/Ton

0%

9/13/2017

T/R Yarn 65/35 32S

2386.64

USD/Ton

0%

9/13/2017

45S Polyester Yarn

2111.26

USD/Ton

7%

9/13/2017

T/C Yarn 65/35 32S

2401.94

USD/Ton

1%

9/13/2017

10S Denim Fabric

1.42587

USD/Meter

0%

9/13/2017

32S Twill Fabric

0.87816

USD/Meter

0%

9/13/2017

40S Combed Poplin

1.22545

USD/Meter

0%

9/13/2017

30S Rayon Fabric

0.68846

USD/Meter

0%

9/13/2017

45S T/C Fabric

0.72211

USD/Meter

0%

9/13/2017

Source: Global Textiles

Note: The above prices are Chinese Price (1 CNY = 0.15299 USD dtd. 9/13/2017). The prices given above are as quoted from Global Textiles.com.  SRTEPC is not responsible for the correctness of the same.

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Trade with US normal, says Cambodia ministry

Despite a diplomatic row with the United States, the trade relationship between Cambodia and the US remains normal, said the Ministry of Commerce’s spokesperson yesterday. Soeng Sophary, told Khmer Times yesterday that the US, Europe and Canada were big markets for Cambodia’s garment and footwear products. “Although there seems to be some problems currently with the US, diplomacy at the end of the day will prevail and there’s mutual respect for it,” said Ms Sophary. “I don’t think the issue is big enough to jeopardise our export of garments and footwear to the US,” she added. “I think our government will find an amicable and peaceful way through dialogue to diffuse this situation. There is a clear consensus between politics and economics – they are two separate issues.”

The US Embassy on Tuesday called on the government to immediately release opposition leader Kem Sokha, claiming allegations the United States were helping him push for regime change were made without a shred of serious or credible evidence. Mr Sokha was last week charged with treason over comments made in 2013 video footage from Australia-based CBN news, which showed him saying the US government had been helping him to push for regime change in Cambodia since 1993.

Speaking at a press conference on the matter, Ambassador William Heidt said the US joined the European Union in calling for Mr Sokha’s release, adding that pressure on civil society must also cease. According to Cambodia’s General Department of Customs and Excise, exports of garments and footwear rose by 7.2 per cent to $7.3 billion in 2016, up from $6.8 billion in 2015. “The US market, which was a lifeline for the industry just a few years ago, now accounts for just a quarter of the sector’s exports. It should be noted that Cambodian garments entering the US market are subject to an average tariff rate of about 16.8 percent (of the Most Favoured Nation rate),” stated the report.

According to the report, the share of the sector’s exports going to the US market continued to drop from 29 percent in 2015 to 25 percent in 2016 due to the outcome from market diversification outside traditional ones, namely the EU and the US. “There is an emerging sign of strong growth of the sector’s exports to markets outside the EU and US. Exporting to other markets represented 35 percent in 2016, up from 28 percent in 2015, and from just 11 percent 10 years ago.” The customs and excise report pointed out that the growth of garment and footwear exports to markets outside the US and EU was mainly due to expansion of exports to the Japanese and Canadian markets. “Japan has also grown in importance as an export destination for Cambodia,” it said.

According to the report, exports to Japan accounted for 9 percent of total garment and footwear exports in 2016, up from 7.7 percent in 2015 and just 2.7 percent in 2010 while exports to Canada were nearly 8.0 percent of market share, up from 7.5 percent in 2015 and just 0.5 percent in 2010. At the same time, the exports to China have also been quite strong, from a low base which was virtually zero in 2010. The report pointed out that the Chinese market accounted for 2.3 percent of Cambodia’s garment and footwear exports in 2016, up from 1.8 per cent in 2015. “It appears as if Cambodian garment and footwear export patterns may be driven by a number of free trade agreements that Cambodia had with various countries, particularly under the Asean frameworks,” said the report.

SOURCE: The Khmer Times

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China may have cut North Korea textile trade before UN sanctions

China may have suspended textile trade with North Korea even before Monday's adoption of a United Nations Security Council resolution banning such transactions, acting unilaterally to pressure the reclusive state into ending its nuclear provocations. The suspension has been in place since late August, according to a source contacted by The Nikkei. "Chinese customs stopped processing cargo from North Korea two weeks ago," said this individual, who has close knowledge of a Chinese company that outsources apparel production to the North. Earlier that month, Pyongyang threatened to fire a ballistic missile into waters near the U.S. territory of Guam. "The North Korean side has stopped loading their ships because they can't get through customs," the source said. "The situation is the same for other companies as well, and apparel trading between China and North Korea has effectively been suspended." Beijing has provided no explanation, according to the source.

Textile factories dot Liaoning Province's Dandong, a border city where roughly 70% of the country's trade with North Korea is based, as well as Hunchun in Jilin Province's Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, producing clothing on commission from manufacturers around the world. Some of the work is outsourced to North Korea. An affiliate of a Pyongyang-backed textile trading company takes the orders, sets the rates and distributes the work to plants throughout North Korea, according to a source familiar with the matter. About 80% of these factories are run by the North Korean side, while the rest are joint ventures with Chinese companies. They purchase the materials from China and ship the finished products back over the border. These plants "also produce clothing for well-known European brands," the source said.

The South Korean government estimates that the North makes $760 million a year from exports of textile products. This amounts to 26% of North Korea's total exports, the country's biggest earnings source behind coal. The newest U.N. sanctions will deal a blow to Pyongyang, but also will affect Chinese companies. China opposed including a total embargo on oil in the latest U.N. sanctions. If it is the case that Beijing took unilateral action against North Korean apparel even at the risk of hurting Chinese businesses, its frustration with Pyongyang must be fairly strong.

Still, many think China is not fully committed to the sanctions and serves as a loophole for North Korea. Though Beijing wants to discourage Pyongyang from conducting further military provocations, it is hesitant to take any action that could cause turmoil in North Korea ahead of the Communist Party's twice-in-a-decade leadership meeting in October.

SOURCE: The Nikkei Asian Review

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‘Emergent steps needed to address dismal state of textile exports’: Pakistan

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), commenting on the statement made by Commerce Secretary Muhammad Younus Dagha in the meeting held last week at Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association that the textile industry is itself responsible for the continuous decline in exports, said that the Pakistani textile exports have shown decline during the last four years because of the cost of doing business which is the highest in the region.

He said that the textile industry has been hit hard due to the high cost of energy, both gas and electricity resulting in making Pakistan’s exports uncompetitive in the global market as the cost of production of both gas and electricity is about 30 percent higher than the regionally competing countries like Bangladesh, India and Vietnam. The government should remove the levy of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) on gas. He further demanded that the government should provide gas at the regionally competitive rate of Rs 400/MMBTU as was earlier announced by ECC in November 2016 but was not implemented.

He said that both the spinning and weaving sectors are backbone of the textile value chain, and have faced the brunt of high cost of doing business, which has made them unviable throughout the country. Today spinning industry is incurring heavy losses by selling yarn below cost. The   production of yarn and fabric is substantially more than the local consumption; therefore, their exports must be encouraged.

He further requested that the following measures be taken on immediate basis to improve the efficiency and viability of textile industry, like expeditious payment of long outstanding sales tax refunds and other refunds to address the liquidity issue, to check large scale influx of imported yarn and fabrics in the country to save the domestic industry. Free Trade Agreements and Preferential Trade Agreements be reviewed and revisited in such a way that the exports of Pakistani goods to those countries be increased.

He also demanded the government to encourage investment in spinning, weaving and finishing sectors in such a manner that maximum cotton be converted into yarn and further downstream value added products as it will not only facilitate the farmers and the spinning industry but would also help the whole textile chain and the national economy in general. He said that few years back we had achieved production of 15 million bales of cotton, which fell down to 10 million bales. Now we must take necessary steps to achieve 15 million bales of cotton production or even increase it further to 20 million bales every year. He referred the investment boom seen during the years 2003-2008 and BMR of more than 7 billion US$ by the business community in the entire textile chain. He added that due to the lucrative investment policy in the above referred period the total installed capacity of the textile industry and the production of basic textile products were increased by more than 40 percent.

He said the Regional countries are following export friendly policies to increase their exports. In the last 10 years, Bangladesh textile exports has increased from US$ 9.8 Billion in 2006 to US$ 35.2 Billion in 2016 i.e. about by 260%, China US$ 144 Billion to US$ 255 Billion or 77%, India US$ 18.4 Billion to US$ 35.4 Billion or 92%, Vietnam US$ 6.6 Billion to US$ 30.5 Billion or 360% while Pakistan’s textile exports have gone down from US$ 14 Billion to US$ 12 Billion. The share of all these countries in the global textile trade is increasing while the share of Pakistan has reduced from 2.2% to 1.5%.

He said that the country has already entered in an era of de-industrialisation where industries are closing. In 2005 the share of manufacturing in the GDP was 19%, which has now fallen to 13%. Large scale closure of textile spinning mills has already taken place resulting in drastic increase in unemployment as well as reduction in consumption of locally produced cotton. This will hurt both the manufacturing as well as the agriculture sectors of the economy. He added that almost 140 textile mills have already closed their operation and about one million workers have lost their jobs and another 75 to 80 mills are on the verge of closure, which will add to the unemployment figure by another 0.5 million labour force employed in the textile industry. He further said that due to the closure of about 140 mills and the various mills operating under capacity, Pakistan’s textile exports is suffering a loss of more than 4 billion US$ per annum.

Zahid Mazhar said that the trade deficit for the last fiscal year was recorded at an all-time high at US$ 32.58 Billion, imports at $53 billion while exports were recorded at merely $20.45 billion, the lowest after 2009-10. He requested the Prime Minister to place the revival of the economy and the textile industry on the top of his agenda as the government has to pay $7,432 million including $1,595 million interest in 2017 and $ 38.224 billion and Rs 15.883 trillion against external and domestic public debt respectively including principal amount and interest in the next seven years and only the increase in exports can help to pay the above debts otherwise we have to take fresh loans to service the principal and interest of the loans we have already taken.

 

He said that the Textile Industry of Pakistan is capable enough to bring the economy out of the current disastrous condition. He hoped that the new Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and his cabinet would take immediate steps to stop the drastic decline in exports during last four years, as any further negligence or delay will take the economy to a point of no return.

He urged the prime minister to issue instructions to the concerned authorities to implement the Textile Package of Rs 180 Billion announced earlier this year for the support of exports and the textile industry. He demanded that the Notification for release of refund under Drawback of Duties and Taxes Order from July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018 be issued without the condition of growth in exports of 10% in 2017-18 as compared to 2016-17 and payment under this package be released without any further delay. This must be treated as the first step to check de-industrialisation and the dwindling exports of the country. He clarified that the duty drawback paid under the Textile Package is not an incentive rather it is the refund of local taxes and levies paid by the exporters.

He also suggested the new Prime Minster as well as the Minister of Commerce and Textiles to avail the opportunity of being at the helm of affairs and to remain engaged with APTMA for arriving at workable solutions in order to solve the problems being faced by the Textile Industry.

SOURCE: The Daily Times

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USA: Cotton prices tumble after hurricanes fail to spoil a bumper crop

The price of cotton slid by the maximum allowed after a government report indicated a massive crop was growing in spite of hurricanes’ one-two punch across the US south. The fibre led a broad sell-off in agricultural commodities, with corn and soyabeans also dropping. Triggering the fall was an updated monthly forecast for crop production. The US Department of Agriculture said farmers would harvest 21.8m bales of cotton this autumn, an estimate 6 per cent higher than last month and the most since 2005. ICE December cotton futures were down 4.2 per cent, or the exchange-permitted limit of 3 cents, to 69.11 cents per pound on Tuesday. The drop reversed a rally in the weeks ahead of the report. Traders had bid up the market last month as hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, the biggest cotton producer. The storm raked cotton fields in south-east Texas, potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of bales, according to analysts. But the state’s top cotton area, around Lubbock, was spared. “This could be one of our largest crops on record,” said Steve Verett, executive vice-president of the Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Growers Association.

The USDA estimated Texas cotton fields would average yields of 757lb per acre, up from an estimate of 742lb last month. The USDA said data collection efforts for its monthly report “were impacted” by Harvey, and it planned to gather additional acreage information across the south ahead of its October report. But the preliminary data were bearish. The average US cotton field was expected to yield a record 908lb per harvested acre, USDA said.

In a survey released on Monday, the department said 63 per cent of the US cotton crop was in good or excellent shape, compared with 47 per cent at the same time last year. However, the remnants of hurricane Irma were dumping rain on cotton-growing states such as Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina after slamming Florida over the weekend, potentially damaging crops there.

The US textile industry has largely moved offshore but the country is by far the biggest exporter of raw cotton bales, supplying yarn mills in countries such as Vietnam and Bangladesh. The benchmark global cotton futures contract is backed by bales grown inside the US. John Bondurant, a money manager and cotton trader in Memphis, said a common theme in Tuesday’s crop report was the success of plant breeding in overcoming what has been a summer of difficult weather.

The USDA also forecast the soyabean crop would be the biggest on record at 4.43bn bushels, while domestic corn production would be the third-highest ever at 14.2bn bushels. “You can sum up the crop reports in one word: genetics. It’s that simple,” Mr Bondurant said. CBOT November soyabeans fell 1.4 per cent to $9.4675 a bushel, while CBOT December corn dropped 2.3 per cent to $3.4925 a bushel.

SOURCE: The Financial Times

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Cotton On says megastores are the way forward

Australian retailer Cotton On Group is turning its stores into megastores housing several of its brands, a move it says has increased the number of its customers. "Emporium" and "department store" have almost become outdated twee words, but, as things have a way of coming full circle, the types of stores they define could become the popular format of the future. Australian retailer Cotton On Group, at least, is putting its focus on expanding in that direction with what it calls megastores - large retail areas of at least 1,600 sq ft in size, housing several of its brands under one roof. The group, which opened its first Singapore outpost in 2007 at Wisma Atria, now has 82 stores here across all its brands. Of these, 16 are megastores, including a 7,000 sq ft outlet that opened last Thursday at Jurong Point in place of the 1,200 sq ft standalone Cotton On store that was there previously.

During the current financial year until next June, the group plans to open 25 new stores in Singapore - the majority will be larger stores replacing existing ones - in both city and suburban areas. "(This is) our preferred way of retailing today," Mr Michael Hardwick, Cotton On Group's chief financial officer, tells The Straits Times last week while he was in town to celebrate its 10th anniversary in Singapore. "We think it gives us our best opportunity to put our best foot forward to create an experience that is a little bit different for our customer." The move, he says, has almost doubled the average basket size of customers, compared with standalone stores, as "customers get the opportunity and the convenience to cross shop" across the brands.

Cotton On Group operates six brands here - Cotton On and Factorie for casual basics; Cotton On Body, which offers activewear, sleepwear and intimates; Cotton On Kids for infant and child clothing; Rubi for shoes and accessories; and Typo, which offers quirky gifts and stationery. I think we all want to be able to connect more with what we're buying. We want exclusivity, but we want it at a value price point. MR ANDREW WOOLCOCK, Cotton On Group's Asia country manager, on its upcoming move to offer free personalisation services to customers at some of its megastores "Today, the sales coming through our megastore format account for more than 50 per cent of our sales in Asia," Mr Hardwick says. "For a concept that didn't exist five years ago, I think it shows the constant evolution of the brand. "That, for us, is going to be the key to our sustainability as a retailer." A handful of other retailers here also believe in larger spaces.

Sporting goods retailer Decathlon opened a 43,055 sq ft megastore in Joo Koon in May with a putting green and a mini-football arena. Local clothing label In Good Company's Ion store includes a cafe and children's play area. Likening Cotton On's move to a revival of sorts of the department store format, Singapore Polytechnic Business School senior retail lecturer Sarah Lim says that this strategy works for a retailer like Cotton On because it targets a specific demographic - the younger, trendier segments of the population. "(Traditional department stores are) for everybody - father, mother and children," she says. "But here, they are very focused on who they are serving. It may work because the store image can be created specially for this group, from the music that is played to the salesmen chosen. "The target consumers will feel good because they are surrounded by the same kind of people," she says, adding that a bigger store size also allows for better experiential retailing. "I think the size helps. Once the store is big enough, you can play with music and ambience." The megastore format, says Mr Hardwick, also creates opportunities for further expansion. The large floor area means that there is space to test new product concepts to see if they take off. This was how, he says, Cotton On Body evolved into a brand of its own - it started out as simply a part of Cotton On's offerings.

Cotton On Group itself has evolved prettily: Founder Nigel Austin started trying to convince the residents of Geelong, near Melbourne in Australia, to cotton on to his sartorial ideas in 1988, selling denim jackets from the boot of his car. His supplier happened to be his father, a clothing wholesaler. After interest in his product started to pick up, Cotton On was officially established in 1991 and today, Cotton On Group has more than 1,500 stores in 19 countries and 11 e-commerce sites in seven countries. Mr Austin, 47, remains at the helm of the group.

Singapore, where the company's regional headquarters is located, has the highest concentration of Cotton On stores in the world - one store per 9 sq km. In Hong Kong there is only one store per 459 sq km. The Republic does not seem to have been a tough sell. "(We had an) immediate connection with the customer, both because of the fashion ability and the value proposition that we were bringing into the market," says Mr Hardwick, 50, who is Mr Austin's cousin. Singapore now represents about 17 per cent of the group's business. The challenge, he says, is the stiff competition here. He describes the country as "the place that forced us to get better because of the competition we were up against".

Mr Andrew Woolcock, 37, who joined the group a decade ago and has served as Asia country manager since last year, says it overcomes this by listening closely to the customer, especially when it comes to demand for trends and value. Singapore customers are much more trend-oriented than the ones in Australia, where the group has 795 stores, he says, so getting new, on-trend designs quickly into stores is a priority here. For example, dresses were not popular items here in the last two seasons, but this season, some new cuts and jersey knit materials were strongly received, so dresses at the moment make up "a third of our footprint within womenswear", he says.

When it comes to day-to-day operations, it is also about being able to react quickly to consumer demand. For instance, during the Formula One period, Suntec City's Cotton On megastore - the largest, at more than 14,000 sq ft - has increased the number of stock deliveries to ensure that popular items are always in stock. Such customer engagement, Mr Woolcock believes, is behind the group's success, enabling it to expand at a time when there have been "closures of other brands" and "the retail index is down around 12 or 13 per cent for Singapore". As for further expansion, he says the way forward will be to turn existing stores into megastores, not about opening more stores in more locations. "There are (only) a certain number of shopping centres in Singapore and we're in the vast majority of them," he says, adding that the group's revenue has grown at about 10 per cent for the past five years.

The next big thing is to allow customers to put their own stamp on items - in line with the wave of customisation offerings on the market. Brands ranging from Prada and Gucci to Nike and Converse have been offering customers the option of personalising their bags, shoes and apparel. In November, Cotton On megastores at Suntec City, VivoCity, 313@Somerset and Bugis Junction will jump on the bandwagon, offering pop-up vinyl printing, hot stamping and embroidery services for certain products at no additional charge. "I think we all want to be able to connect more with what we're buying. We want exclusivity, but we want it at a value price point," Mr Woolcock says of the move. Last Thursday, at the opening of the Jurong Point megastore, shopper May Du, 26, picked up two shirts and two hats. The business development executive, who lives in the area, says she enjoys the variety of products at the megastore, which houses Cotton On, Cotton On Kids and Rubi. "If you have more things, that's always better," says Ms Du, adding that she likes the idea of personalisation. "It will make the clothes more fun and meaningful."

SOURCE: The Strait Times

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Recycling blend textiles into new fibres

The four-year innovative partnership between the non-profit H&M Foundation and The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) has found solutions to recycle blend textiles into new fabrics and yarns – without any quality loss – through a hydrothermal (chemical) process. The technology will be scaled up and made available to the global fashion industry. The finding is a major breakthrough in the journey towards a closed loop for textiles, H&M Foundation reports.

"For too long the fashion industry has not been able to properly recycle its products, since there's no commercially viable separation, sorting, and recycling technology available for the most popular materials such as cotton and polyester blends. This very encouraging finding has the potential to change that. We are very excited to develop this technology and scale it beyond the laboratory, which will benefit the global environment, people and communities," said Erik Bang, Innovation Lead at H&M Foundation.

Closed-Loop Apparel Recycling Eco-System Program

The aim of the Closed-Loop Apparel Recycling Eco-System Program is to find at least one ready technology to recycle clothes made from blend textiles, within the four-year project period. One year into the partnership, HKRITA has together with Ehime University and Shinshu University in Japan, successfully developed a hydrothermal (chemical) process to fully separate and recycle cotton and polyester blends.

The recovered polyester material can be reused directly, without any quality loss. The hydrothermal process uses only heat, water and less than 5% biodegradable green chemical, to self-separate cotton and polyester blends. According to findings, this fibre-to-fibre recycling method is cost effective, and there's no secondary pollution to the environment, ensuring the life of the recycled material is prolonged in a sustainable way. The technology will be licensed widely to ensure broad market access and maximum impact. "By being able to upcycle used textiles into new high value textiles, we no longer need to solely rely on virgin materials to dress a growing world population. This is a major breakthrough in the pursuit of a fashion industry operating within the planetary boundaries," said Edwin Keh, Chief Executive Officer of The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA).

Partnership and funding

The H&M Foundation initiated the partnership with HKRITA in September 2016. It is backed by an estimated EUR 5.8 million of funding, with HKRITA conducting the research and work to commercialise the outcomes. The Innovation and Technology Fund of the Hong Kong SAR Government also provides additional substantial funding and support. The total project investment is estimated to around EUR 30 million during the four-year collaboration (2016-2020), which makes it one of the biggest and most comprehensive efforts ever for textile recycling.

It is H&M's customers' engagement that have enabled this research, as the exact financial contribution is determined by the annual surplus from H&M's global in-store garment collecting programme, which is donated to H&M Foundation. To date the H&M Foundation has donated EUR 2.4 million to HKRITA. The collaboration is part of H&M Foundation´s commitment within its focus area Planet, which initiatives all have the aim to safeguard not only the planet but also the living conditions for people and communities around the world.

SOURCE: The Innovations in Textiles

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UK geopolitically most capable in Europe: think tank

The United Kingdom is the most geopolitically capable country in Europe and comes next only to the United States globally, says The Henry Jackson Society in a new report. The British think tank evaluated the United Kingdom’s standing using 35 indicators and compared the results to China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia and the United States. The categories analysed in the report titled ‘Audit of Geopolitical Capability’ include economics, technological prowess, military strength and cultural prestige, the think tank said on its website. “After Brexit, some are worried that the UK is about to begin a period of economic and geopolitical decline. But what this audit makes clear is that far from beginning the Brexit process from a position of weakness, the UK is in a remarkably strong position,” the report’s author James Rogers said. “The lesson of this report is clear: our future is what we choose to make of it,” the think tank’s executive director Alan Mendoza said.

SOURCE: Fibre2fashion

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Sustainable fashion in focus at Berlin Fashion Week

Sustainably produced fashion is to take centre stage at the Berlin Fashion Week during January16-18, 2018, with Greenshowroom and the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin moving to the setting of the Kraftwerk power station in central Berlin. This is due to demands from exhibitors and visitors for better accessibility. The power plant was built between 1960 and 1964. “We are moving to the heart of Berlin Fashion Week with both our fairs and so responding to popular demand from our exhibitors and visitors for better accessibility,” says Olaf Schmidt, vice president Textiles and Textile Technologies for Messe Frankfurt. At the same time, Messe Frankfurt is stepping up its co-operation with Premium Group as part of #Fashiontech, which will also be held in the power station in future. Messe Frankfurt is also launching a new conference by the name of FashionSustain.

In January, fashion buyers will be able to gain an overview of the latest trends in sustainably produced contemporary fashion and street and casual wear on the ground floor and first floor of the former cogeneration power plant. The second floor will host the extensive supporting programme for both fashion fairs and an attractive conference. Messe Frankfurt is launching a new conference format – under one roof alongside #Fashiontech, which, as a conference and exhibition, provides information regarding the digital future of fashion.

The additional FashionSustain conference broadens the array of information on offer concerning the future of textiles and also sustainability. The events being held in the power station are therefore a hotspot for the future-oriented topics of fashion, technology, digitisation and sustainability. #Fashiontech will be held on the first day of Berlin Fashion Week, followed by FashionSustain on the second day. Both conferences will be held on the second floor of the power station.

“#Fashiontech is a highly progressive addition to what our trade fairs offer. Our partnership with the conference and exhibition means that we can bring in our knowledge as the organiser of the world-leading Techtextil and Texprocess trade fairs. At the same time, the new set-up gives us the opportunity to incorporate our skills from our global Texpertise Network in the interplay between sustainable fashion and innovative technologies. This will enable us, for instance, to take our fringe programme to a whole new level,” adds Schmidt. The Texpertise Network brings together around 50 international textile trade fairs that are organised around the world by Messe Frankfurt.

“Berlin showcases the future of fashion, which gives it a unique selling point on the global stage. With #Fashiontech conference offering talks, best cases, stage stories and masterclasses for the industry, we are already providing the platform for emerging ideas and business models. The cooperation with Messe Frankfurt and the physical proximity of the two themes of ‘Fashion’, ‘Tech’ and ‘Sustain’ is set to make us a future hotspot for the big players in the industry when it comes to discussing and driving forwards industry-relevant issues of innovation and sustainability,” explains Anita Tillmann, managing partner at Premium Group.

The relocation of the fashion trade fairs to Köpenicker Strasse in the Mitte area means much shorter journeys for fashion representatives: Greenshowroom and the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin will in future form part of a convenient circuit with Premium at Gleisdreieck and Bright and Seek at the Arena Berlin. The new location is quick and easy to reach both with the official Fashion Week shuttle and by public transport.

The former Berlin cogeneration power plant in the Mitte area was built between 1960 and 1964 and supplied heat to the district’s residents. It stood empty for several years before cultural organiser Dietmar-Maria Hegemann developed part of the site for the Tresor techno club, which moved into the power station in 2006. The building has undergone extensive conversion and expansion in recent years and now serves as an event location.

SOURCE: Fibre2fashion

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Turkish investment could breathe life into Nigeria's textile industry

Kaduna, Nigeria, once known as “Textile City,” used to have factories that churned out African prints, bed linens, lace and fabrics to decorate homes. They also employed tens of thousands of people. But that was about 35 years ago. Today, many of those workers don't have jobs. But their fortunes could change after a Turkish company announced plans to invest $15 million to reopen one of the factories.

SOURCE: Yarns&Fibers

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Garment workers in BRIC nations earn unfair wage: Report

Western European apparel industry workers from Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) are earning only half of the living wage which is insufficient to maintain a decent standard of living, according to a recent research. Globalisation has helped improve the working conditions for the workers and increase employment, but the pay continues to be insufficient. The study conducted by the Surrey Centre for Environment and Sustainability (CES) using a Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA) approach has been published in The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. The research took into consideration all the workers involved in the manufacturing of garments, including cotton growers and miners who provide metal to make machinery.

A living wage was estimated by the researchers which would be sufficient for the workers for a decent standard of living and the workers were found to be making only half of the estimated living wage, as per the research.

Research fellow Dr Simon Mair, one of the leaders of the research, said that the research has revealed that the workers are not paid a sufficient living wage and hence the supply chain is unfair. He suggested that the companies involved should increase the living wage and either absorb the additional cost or pass it on to the consumers. Consumers may buy less if the products are expensive, resulting in a positive impact on the environment and a negative impact on employment.

Angela Druckman, professor of sustainable consumption and production and Tim Jackson, professor of sustainable development and director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) within CES also participated in the research along with Mair.

SOURCE: Fibre2fashion

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Govt should work with retailers for affordable rates: BRC

To increase the confidence of retailers about investing in new or refurbished shop premises, the government should work with the retail industry and business to put the rates system on a more affordable and sustainable footing, British Retail Consortium (BRC) has suggested. Nearly one in every 10 shops in the UK is currently lying vacant, BRC said. The latest Retail Price Inflation (RPI) figures reveal that inflation continued to rise in August to 3.9 per cent. The RPI has accelerated from two per cent in September 2016, and September’s RPI is likely to be at least four per cent.

Since September’s RPI inflation rate, to be published next month, will be used to determine the uplift in business rates next April, it will push up already onerous business rates bills for retailers across the country—who  account for a quarter of all rates paid—by £280 million next April, BRC said. “Retailers are staring down the barrel of a hefty £280 million hike in their business rates bills from next Spring. It is highly questionable whether communities across the UK can afford a spike in business rates of this scale and any resulting loss of commercial investment will contribute to fewer shops and fewer jobs. Nearly one in every 10 shops currently lies vacant and those in economically-vulnerable communities in particular remain persistently empty, limiting the chances for these places to thrive,” commented Tom Ironside, director of Business Regulation, BRC.

“With the economy slowing, consumer spending facing headwinds and retailers responding to profound changes in shopping habits, the prospect of a further investment-sapping tax rise of this magnitude is deeply worrying and will only serve to make life tougher for high streets. Government should knock on the head any notion of a bumper rise in rates next Spring and work with the retail industry and business to put the rates system on a more affordable and sustainable footing. This would increase retailers’ confidence about investing in new or refurbished shop premises,” he added.

SOURCE: Fibre2fashion

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Trump appoints Indian – American to key position in White House

US President Donald Trump has appointed Indian-American Raj Shah to a key position in his communications team, the White House says. Trump also appointed his confidant Hope Hicks as his Communications Director, officials say. Hicks previously served as Assistant to the President and Interim Communications Director. "Raj Shah will serve as Deputy Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Press Secretary," the White House said in a statement. Shah formerly served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director.

Mercedes Schlapp, a Fox News contributor and columnist for The Washington Times, will serve as Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications. Trump also appointed Steven Cheung as Director of Strategic Response. He previously served as Special Assistant to the President and Assistant Communications Director. Shah, 32, was one of the few handful of Trump's aides who landed in the White House within hours of him being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on January 20. In April he was identified as one of the three West Wing Power Player in the White House along with Hope Hicks and Eli Miller. Born and raised in Connecticut, Shah's parents migrated to the US in 1980s. His parents are from Gujarat. His father, an engineer by profession, moved to Mumbai at a young age while his mother hails from Bhujpur in Kutch. Shah was Director of Opposition Research in the Republican National Committee before moving to the White House.

SOURCE: The Times of India

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Crude Oil Prices Have Halved

The government doesn't plan to intervene to check fuel prices that have soared to the highest in three years, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said after shares of oil refiners tumbled on speculation that refining and marketing firms would have to sacrifice margins to cushion consumers. Pradhan remained non-commit tal on cutting excise duty to check price rise. “It's up to the finance ministry, “he said. While defending the higher duty , Pradhan said increased revenue was only going into welfare activities of building more roads, and providing irrigation and drinking water facilities. He said oil companies will continue to have pricing freedom. “Government has no business interfering in the day-to-day affairs of the companies,“ Pradhan said on Wednesday after meeting top executives of state oil firms. Stocks of Indian Oil, HPCL and BPCL fell 5-6% on price control concerns.

Local prices of petrol and diesel are linked to global rates and two hurricanes that hit US recently and affected about 13% of the world's refining capacity have caused a temporary price surge which would ease soon, Pradhan said. The disruption in US refineries made crude oil cheaper but raised the rates of petrol and diesel, bringing a windfall for Indian refiners. A person with knowledge of the meeting between executives and the minister, however, said the companies have been asked to be `sensitive' to the impact prices have on consumers.

While crude oil prices have halved in the past three years, consumer prices of petrol and diesel have changed little because the government increased taxes on petrol by 64% and diesel by 137% after oil tumbled.

Oil prices began collapsing in June 2014, but the effect on local prices was very limited as the government kept raising duties. Oil companies and petrol pump dealers also gained with higher margins. In May 2014, one in three rupees paid for petrol went in taxes and de aler commission while in July 2017 taxes and dealer commission com prised 58%. For diesel, half the mo ney went in as tax and dealer com mission in July this year compa red to one fifth in May 2014. Petrol pump dealer commission has ri sen 60% in the same period.

The combined profit of fuel retai lers IOC, HPCL and BPCL rose 160% in 2016-17 when average cru de price was $47.5 a barrel from 2013-14 when crude averaged $105.5barrel. Total fuel subsidy burden on government and com panies has declined 86% in three years to Rs 19,700 crore in 2016-17. Petroleum sector's contribution to central and state government has doubled in three ye ars to Rs 5.24 lakh crore in 2016-17.

SOURCE: The Economic Times

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