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Prabhu, UK Minister discuss ways to boost trade

London: Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu held talks with his British counterpart, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox on Thursday, as the two countries look for opportunities to boost trade and investment, including via a potential Free Trade Agreement, as Britain prepares to leave the European Union. As part of its efforts to strengthen trade Britain’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance has doubled its financial support for British companies that export to India. The UKEF has now made £4.5 billion available to British companies exporting to India and Indian firms buying British goods and services (the latter available in rupees). While Britain is unable to hold formal trade talks with countries outside the EU till it leaves the union (at the end of March 2019), the 12th meeting of the UK-India Joint. Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO), being held this week provides an opportunity for the countries to build on work of the UK-India trade working group established last year. Fox said expanding the bilateral trade and investment with India, and breaking down barriers to trade, would be central to the task of Britain preparing for its independent trade policy. “It’s in our shared interest to boost prosperity, generate jobs, develop skills, and enhance the competitiveness of both our countries,” he said. Prabhu is on a four-day visit to London, as part of which he is set to attend JETCO and address an audience at the London School of Economics on the role of trade and investment in driving sustainable and inclusive growth.

Source: Business line

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US looking at free trade agreement with India

The US government is planning a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India in an effort to boost two-way trade that currently stands at $115 billion. “I want to see a US-India FTA … a strategic view of our economic relationship could eventually lead to a roadmap for a US-India Free Trade Agreement,” US Ambassador to India Kenneth I Juster said here on Thursday. Delivering his inaugural policy address on US-India Relations at Carnegie India, Juster said US is concerned about persistent trade deficit with its trade partners, including India. He also said although bilateral trade has reached $115 billion in 2016 from $20 billion in 2001, there is still plenty of room to expand the flow of goods and services in both directions and, in the process, for trade to become more reciprocal.

 Reforms welcomed

“We welcome steps by India to continue its reform agenda, expand market access, and further enhance the protection of intellectual property. And we want to work with India to expeditiously resolve trade and investment disputes,” he said. Juster, who was earlier Under Secretary at the US Commerce Department, urged India to take advantage of its growing ties with the US and transform itself as an alternative hub for US business in the Indo-Pacific region.

Source: Business line

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GST has reduced effective tax payable for all sectors, except power: Study

The goods and services tax (GST), rolled out on July 1, 2017, cut marginal tax rates–the real, effective tax a business pays, technically the difference between the pre-tax and post-tax rate of return on an investment–on businesses in India in all sectors, except electricity, which is exempt from the new tax regime, according to a new study. The fall in marginal tax rates was in the range of 1-23 percentage points across sectors, according to estimates by Gaurav S. Ghosh, senior manager, EY, a global consultancy, and Jack Mintz, director of the school of public policy at the University of Calgary, Canada. Marginal tax is the rate businesses end up paying on each new unit of investment after considering the effect of all statutory taxes levied. A higher marginal taxrate means businesses have lower incentives for increasing investment and vice versa, the authors explained. At 23.2%, the transport sector saw the largest drop in marginal taxrate. At 0.9%, agriculture saw the lowest drop.

Overall, marginal tax

rate fell by five percentage points to 22% from 27%. Marginal tax rate increased by 11.6 percentage points after GST was implemented in the electricity sector. As the sector remains outside GST, businesses cannot claim credits for taxes paid on inputs, Navneeraj Sharma, consultant in the chief economic advisor’s office, and Arvind Subramanian, chief economic advisor, wrote in the Indian Express on December 7, 2017. GST is paid on every transaction in the supply of goods and services, and the tax levied at one stage can be set off or deducted from the tax to be paid at the next stage. India has dual GST–central GST (CGST) and state GST (SGST). There is also an integrated GST (IGST) on the inter-state supply of goods and services, which can be set off against CGST and SGST that is to be paid. All goods and services are taxed under one of six slabs–0.25%, 3%, 5%, 12%, 18%, 28% (click here and here)–wherever they are purchased, according to the Central Board of Excise and Customs

Source: Business Standard

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Skill councils set to create sourcing companies to absorb trained manpower

Electronics Sector Skills Council of India to be first one to set up manpower sourcing company.

NEW DELHI: The industry-backed sector skill councils will soon create an offshoot manpower sourcing company each and aggregate demand across job roles and sectors to help provide jobs to skilled personnel from the councils. The move, expected to immediately result in a spurt in jobs, comes after a persistent push from the government to the councils to absorb their own trained people. The Electronics Sector Skills Council of India will be the first council to have such a manpower sourcing company within itself to provide placements to its skilled manpower, according to people aware of the matter. The process will then be replicated across other sectors over the next six months, they said. So far, 38 sector skill councils have been set up, involving nearly 450 corporate representatives in their governing councils. These sector skill councils function under the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) of the skill development and entrepreneurship ministry and are spread across sectors such as retail, electronics, automobiles, healthcare, banking, and gems and jewellery. "The industry is facing an acute problem of mismatch between demand and availability of job roles resulting in no jobs. We are working on shortand long-term plans that will help industry provide jobs to the millions of people that it skills through its sector skill councils," said one of the persons, who did not wish to be named. According to another person, who is involved in creation of an offshoot company, in the short-term the sector council will reach out to its companies, both big and small, and assess their demand across job roles. Following this, demand aggregation across all job roles and sectors will be done and training will be provided in accordance with such demand so that jobs are immediately available after the completion of training. "Besides, we will create an offshoot company under each sector council to provide manpower to the respective sectors," the person said, adding that the council will only work as a consultant while the independent board of the company will be responsible for creating the structure of the company in a manner that it leads to placements of skilled personnel.

Source: The Economic Times

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Smriti Irani inaugurates Indian Pavilion at Heimtextil Frankfurt

New Delhi, Jan 11 (UNI) Hosting India as the second largest participating company, Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani inaugurated world’s biggest fair for interior textiles – Heimtextil this week in Frankfurt. According to an official statement here, over 390 Indian companies have come together together to showcase the country’s textile expertise at the trade fair. Also the first trade fair of the year for its sector, Heimtextil 2018 will be a trend barometer for the whole business year, spotlighting new trends and innovations in interior textiles, home furnishings, household textiles and a range of allied services. Home

Source: Business Line

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Over 390 Indian companies showcasing at Heimtextil

More than 390 Indian companies have come together together to showcase the country’s textile expertise at the world’s biggest fair for interior textiles – Heimtextil Frankfurt this week. The India Pavilion at the trade fair, which hosts India as the second largest participating country, was inaugurated by the country’s textiles minister Smriti Irani. Heimtextil is regarded as the biggest and most important international platform for home furnishings and textiles. As the first trade fair of the year for its sector, Heimtextil 2018 will be a trend barometer for the whole business year, spotlighting new trends and innovations in interior textiles, home furnishings, household textiles and a range of allied services. Among the companies exhibiting at Frankfrut are India’s leading players like Alps Industries, D‘Decor, Reliance, Shri Laxmi Cotsyn, Trident and Welspun. Also representing India’s design talents is the winner of Interior Lifestyle Awards 2017 (home textile category) Anshul Malhotra who has carved her journey from Himachal to handloom heart in Delhi to Frankfurt and showcases a collection of home textiles and traditional handloom designs in home furnishing and fabrics made with yak wool, Himalayan sheep wool, and silk wool. Leading government bodies including The Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (TEXPROCIL), Handloom Export Promotion Council (HEPC), and Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) are participating collectively with over 390 Indian manufacturer-exporters, marking the 2nd largest participating country among the exhibiting companies, second only to China. In the domestic arena, Indian home textile industry is expected to expand at a CAGR of 8 per cent and reach $5.29 billion by 2018. During the same period, curtains & upholstery and rugs & carpets will grow at CAGR of 8 per cent and 9.4 per cent respectively. Vying for this lucrative market, global players are set to come to the Indian edition of Heimtextil in June this year. Among these are leading industry giants such as D’Decor, Welspun, Raymond, Reliance Industries, Sheena Exports, V&J Furnishing, etc. At the Frankfurt fair, textiles minister Smriti Irani also met Messe Frankfurt representatives wherein discussions centred on greater participation of India at Heimtextil in the coming years as well as organisation of international trade exhibitions jointly that would benefit bilateral textile trade relations. Heimtextil India will take place from June 27-29, 2018 at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi alongside the world-renowned Ambiente India fair thus targetting the full spectrum of home textiles, furnishings and interior decor. "While Heimtextil India will provide the much needed impetus to the India’s home textile, decor and handicrafts sector by fostering trade and design exchange, India’s participation in Frankfurt is set to inspire confidence among global consumers," the tradefair organiser Messe Frankfurt said in a press release.

Source: Fibre2Fashion

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Kerala’s Kitex to set up ₹500-crore infants garment unit in Karnataka

BENGALURU, JANUARY 10: The Karnataka government has given the green signal to Kerala-based Kitex Garments to invest ₹493 crore for a ready-made garments unit in Hassan, Karnataka. BusinessLine had reported in November 2016 that Kitex Garments was looking to set up an export-oriented garments unit for infants in Hassanat an investment of ₹500 crore. Talking to BusinessLine from Kizhakambalam near Kochi in Kerala, the Chairman and Managing Director of Kitex Garments, Sabu M Jacob, said: “The government of Karnataka has given approval to the project. Now depending on how fast the government clearances come through, the project will start. Our plan is to start commercial production by March 2019.”

Projects cleared

At a recent meeting, Karnataka’s State Level Single Window Clearance Committee cleared 52 new projects worth ₹5,233.82 crore. Of this, investments worth ₹2,369.56 crore are slated to be made in Bengaluru. “An investment of ₹2,864.26 crore has been approved for places outside Bengaluru. This reiterates the constant endeavour of the government to have overall industrial development of the State,” said a release from the State Information Department. Jacob said the garments unit would be housed in a steel building, which would be imported from the Gulf, most probably from Saudi Arabia. It will be nut-and-bolts job and would be set up very fast. “Initially, the unit will have capacity of 1,500 to 2,000 people. In Phase 1, it will produce up to 2-lakh pieces of infants garments. After that, we will expand every six months. We intend to complete the expansion by 2021.” However, Andhra Pradesh is also aggressively wooing Kitex Garments to take the company’s investment to that State. For that, the State government is offering many sops to the company. “The Andhra Pradesh government has given us some very compelling proposals to invest in that State. For instance, it has offered us free land, support in setting up the building, power at ₹1 per unit and salary for the staff for three years.” Comparatively, power in Karnataka is being offered at ₹6-7 per unit. ESI and employer’s contribution to Employee’s Provident Fund are, however, being offered by both States.

Source: Business Line

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Pakistan : Govt asked to clear ST refunds to up textile exports

ISLAMABAD - All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA) on Thursday asked the government to clear the pending sales tax refunds and ensure smooth provision of LNG to textile processing units. “The government should resolve these two issues to enhance the textile exports” said a representative of APTPMA after holding meeting with Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr. Miftah Ismail here Thursday. The delegation was led by Zubair Motiwala. Adviser Miftah Ismail assured the APTPMA representatives of all possible support to resolve their problems. He said that the issues are already under active consideration of the government and appropriate decisions will be taken soon. Sources said that government is already working to clear the pending sales tax refunds within next one month. PML-N President and former Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif recently directed Miftah Ismail to clear the 100 percent sales tax refunds of the textile sector by February 15 this year. The PML-N chief also directed Miftah to reduce the gas prices to address the concerns of the industrialists, who are worried about gas prices and Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC). The government had already accepted one of the major proposals of the exporters to devalue the rupee by 5 percent against the US dollar that would help in enhancing the exports . Sources further informed that government is taking policy directives on key economic decisions for the upcoming general elections 2018. The government wants to enhance the exports . Pakistan’s exports were recorded at $11 billion during July-December of the year 2017-18 as compared to $9.9 billion of the corresponding period of the last year, showing a growth of 11.24 percent. Meanwhile, a delegation of Pak-Afghan Chamber of Commerce & Industries also called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Miftah Ismail here Thursday. Members of the Pak-Afghan Chamber of Commerce & Industries apprised the Adviser of the difficulties being faced due to regulatory duty on different types of fruits being imported from Afghanistan. They requested for easing out the duty regime saying the gesture would have positive impact on overall bilateral trade. Adviser said that the government wishes to promote trade with Afghanistan and will review the matter in consultation with all the stakeholders, with a view to finding a solution, favourable for bilateral trade.

Source: The Nation

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Uster experts to explain Tester 6 at DTG 2018

Uster Technologies, a high-technology instrument manufacturer of products for quality measurement and certification of the textile industries, has announced that Uster experts will provide information on the Uster Tester 6 machine at the 15th Dhaka International Textile and Garment Machinery (DTG) expo, in Bangladesh, from February 8 to 11, 2018, in hall 6, booth 606. Uster Tester 6 is more than the ultimate evenness tester: it is also the gateway to wider potential benefits for mills, integrating data from other Uster quality measurement sources to create a real total testing centre. Bangladesh mills have been quick to recognise these extended advantages, and several Uster Tester 6 units are already in operation in Bangladesh, as well as in the rest of South East Asia. The sheer speed of the Uster Tester 6 – without compromise on quality – is hailed by all the spinners. The test speed of 800 m/min also provides highly reliable and extremely accurate results, thanks to the new capacitive and optical sensors. Spinning mills also report increased efficiency in quality management, with feature such as the graphical presentation of ‘timeline’ reports – analysing the product with a long-term perspective and providing quality data over a pre-defined time.

In fact, the Uster Tester can provide essential data for any parameter describing yarn appearance – taking in well over a hundred different factors – using its in-built yarn testing functions, as well as through connections with other Uster testing and monitoring systems. This totally-integrated facility leverages the value of the information and provides practical insights into the entire yarn production sequence and downstream processes. This enormous mass of data requires built-in intelligence to transform it into quick and easy-to-follow guidance for the spinner. Quality alerts provide an early warning of potential issues, allowing spinners to identify and remedy any faults likely to cause second-quality material. Objective guidance helps spinners to categorise quality levels, using the so-called ‘yarn grades’, while critical questions about a yarn’s performance in subsequent processes are answered by intelligent predictions of fabric appearance, pilling resistance and overall ‘weavability’. (GK)

Source : Fibre2fashion

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Pakistan invites Japan to assist in promoting textile thru PTA

Minister of State for Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan Thursday invited Japan to assist Pakistan to promote its textile through Preferential Trade Agreements (PTA). During a meeting with Ambassador of Japan, Takashi Kurai, who called on him, Rana said Pakistan highly values its relationship with Japan, a press statement said. He hoped that the economic cooperation between the two countries would be brought to a much higher level with the passage of time. The minister informed the ambassador that Pakistan offers numerous opportunities to the potential investors from Japan and they can invest in tourism, processing and packaging of sea food, halal food and its export. Japan can invest in these sectors and bring in her technology and sanitary and phytosanitary standards with the investment. On the occasion, Kurai congratulated the minister on assuming his responsibilities and praised the efforts made by Pakistan to eradicate extremism and strengthening of economy. He said the Japanese government has planned to support the government of Pakistan in export promotion, improvement of security through the provision of security equipment at the airports and diversification of automobile industry. The ambassador asked the minister to participate in the EXPO 2025 to be held in Kazakhstan. He suggested that the Joint Government Business Dialogue process between the two countries should be revived for the benefit of both the countries. The minister assured the ambassador of all possible support from his side. The meeting was attended by senior officials of the Finance and Economic Affairs Divisions.

Source : Pakistan Observer

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Zimbabwe Defence Industries to be resuscitated

The Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) is set to be resuscitated through strategic partnerships with universities and colleges to provide cutting edge military solutions, Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander General Philip Valerio Sibanda has said. Once a military solutions hub for the region and beyond, ZDI ran into challenges, including sanctions imposed by the West, which threatened its closure, but efforts are under way to bring it back to life. Speaking to a gathering of officials from Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Staff College at CUT recently, Gen Sibanda said they were working to put ZDI out of the "intensive care unit"."There was a time when there was a lot of hype about our defence industries, the Zimbabwe Defence Industries, but I believe that maybe we made some mistakes along the way," he said. "We could have done better. "ZDI was also using very old equipment and that contributed towards this sort of demise that it is in now. It is like in intensive care, but we are working to bring it out of the intensive care unit." For the past two years, Gen Sibanda said, interactions were being made with various universities and colleges, including the University of Zimbabwe and Harare Institute of Technology, to collaborate on various prototypes. He said ZDI challenges had presented South Africa with the initiative to penetrate the region and beyond owing to advanced technology, but efforts were now being made to reclaim the market.

Source : 24 News

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Vietnan textile production fails to meet garment requirements

Vietnam textile industry is still facing many problems in textile production, as fabric determines the cost and quality of finished garment products hence textiles still cannot meet garment requirements, said Vu Huy Dong, general director of Damsan JSC. Vietnam has to import 65-70 percent of fabric every year, it exports two-thirds of yarn output. This means that Vietnam has yarn in excess but not enough fabric. In 2016, Vietnam’s fabric imports increased by 3.2 percent compared with 2015, though garment export value decreased by $23.84 billion, of which fabric export turnover accounted for 43.9 percent, down by 0.1 percent. According to Nguyen Son, deputy chair of the Vietnam Cotton and Spinning Association (VCOSA), one of the reasons behind this is the market management scheme. The State has policies to help the development of supporting industries, but there is no specific policy designed for the spinning and cotton industry. He said that state-owned enterprises and foreign-invested enterprises only undertake favorable links in the textile & garment supply chain, while private businesses take difficult work. However, private businesses are facing difficulties when developing their projects. Most provinces/cities have rejected their projects to open dyeing factories. As a result, a vicious circle exists in the textile & garment industry: Vietnam makes yarn, exports cotton, then imports fabric and exports garment products. Vitas, affirming that textile and garment companies are facing difficulties, have made many proposals to the government. It has asked to amend Decree 60 on the conditions for granting licenses to import printing machines. Under the current regulation, businesses owners must have junior college or higher-level degrees. If not, they have to attend MIC’s training courses majoring in printing to be able to import printers. The association has also asked to remove the decision on raising the import tariff on polyester from zero to 2 percent, stating that most Vietnamese enterprises have to import the product. In addition, it had asked Hai Phong City to reconsider port fees to help enterprises cut production costs.

Source: YarnsandFibers

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Canada attacks US tariffs by taking case to World Trade Organization

Canada has filed a sweeping trade case against the United States at theWorld Trade Organization (WTO), lobbing a diplomatic grenade at the Trump administration’s “America First” approach amid an increasingly embattled trade relationship between the longstanding North American allies.The trade case could exacerbate tensions between the two nations, which have frayed in recent months as the countries wrestle with trade disputes and attempts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Canada’s case challenges the US use of tariffs to punish unfair trade practices and protect its markets, saying those actions violateWTO rules.The case could expand into a multinational trade dispute given that Canada, a champion of global agreements, filed it in a way that allows other countries to join. The 37-page document outlines numerous problematic trade actions that it says the US has taken against China, South Korea, Japan and Germany. The case, which was filed on December 20 and made public on Wednesday, centres on the punitive tariffs that the US imposes when it finds other countries guilty of subsidising their products or of selling them abroad at unfairly low prices, a practice known as dumping. The US has lost cases in theWorld Trade Organization over this system, which differs substantially from that of many countries. Robert E Lighthizer, the US trade representative, called Canada’s action “a broad and ill-advised attack” on the American trade system. “US trade remedies ensure that trade is fair by counteracting dumping or subsidies that are injuring US workers, farmers and manufacturers,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. “Canada’s claims are unfounded and could only lower US confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade.” Canada has borne the brunt of several US trade actions, including a decades-long dispute over lumber and recent cases against Bombardier airplanes and Canadian newsprint.“There are now billions of dollars of Canadian exports to the US that are potentially subject to these restrictions,” said Chad P Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “That’s what this dispute is all about.” The case could take years to work its way through the World Trade Organization, Bown said, but could eventually help Canada combat the types of trade actions the US is increasingly bringing. It could also help Canada protect itself if the US withdraws from Nafta or significantly alters key parts of the trade pact that provide an important channel for Canada to appeal trade disputes between the countries. Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, said the WTO filing was linked to a long-running dispute over Canadian lumber exports.

Source: Business Standard

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Kenya : State sets up new roadmap to boost cotton production

In the last instalment of our four-part series, BusinessWriter NICHOLAS WAITATHU looks at new strategies to revive cotton growing in 24 counties. The government is fast-tracking far-reaching measures to revive cotton crop in 24 counties. Under a comprehensive plan, the government aims to increase current production and quality, improve processing efficiency and promote marketing and expansion of trade. Strengthening sustainable research and development of new cotton varieties, promoting strong partnerships with institutions and developing and enforcing a regulatory framework including quality standards are other strategies to be pursued. The strategies are contained in a Cotton Comprehensive Plan the government has developed to resuscitate the sub-sector in the next five years. Fibre crops directorate interim head Anthony Muriithi says government’s plan is mobilise all the sub-sector stakeholders with a view to achieving an integrated value chain. Muriithi explained that the strategies will help in restoring glorious moments the sub-sector enjoyed in 1970s and 1980s. “In the medium term our aim is to increase production area to 100,000 hectares from the current 29,000 mainly in the arid and semi-arid areas under rain fed conditions,” he said. Muriithi said that while it would be preferable to increase cotton production under irrigation, this may not be feasible due to competition from high value crops, adding: “Cotton will therefore be introduced in irrigation schemes as a cycle crop.” In addition, intercropping will be promoted using non-climbing legumes. “We are hopeful the initiatives being pushed by the government will help in restoring glorious moments of 1970s and 1980s,” he said. Esther Kaloe, a small-scale farmer in Kitui County, however, said cotton growers are grappling with high cost of chemicals, pests, lack of improved seeds, low finances, scarce water and manipulation by middlemen and thus not able to expand cotton farming. “The government needs to subsidise supply of chemicals and sink more boreholes and construct water dams to enable farmers irrigate more land,” she . Kaloe has already intercropped her cotton with green grams, cowpeas and beans to supplement cotton proceeds and enhance food security. Cotton was introduced in Kenya by the British East Africa Corporation (BEAC) Ltd which was established in 1906 with the aim of spreading the work of British Cotton Growing Association. The association was designed by the colonial government to encourage cotton growing in the British Empire and to establish cotton ginning factories and plantations. Equally, Indians who were constructing the Kenya-Uganda railway metre gauge railway line also introduced the crop in areas along the railway line. The cotton sub-sector is enjoying renewed interest from development partners who are keen to invest in Kenya’s textile industry a move trade analysts said will assist Kenya to expand her share in the international market, for example, USA, Brazil, India, Turkey and China, among others. Government to ensure high production has been achieved plans to strengthen farmer organisations and cluster them into seven clusters -Upper Eastern, Lower Eastern, BuraHola, Coast (Lamu, Kilifi and Kwale), Taita Taveta, Rift Valley and Lake Region (Western and Nyanza). “The clusters which will be formed by strong county co-operatives will be the points of input acquisition, marketing and value addition and thus help in taming cost of production,” Muriithi added. Each cluster will own cotton stores, modern ginnery, model farms and appropriate machinery and equipment. While farmers in each cluster will be able to enjoy benefits of economies of scale, increased use of recommended inputs and ease of application of a targeted support programme including best agronomic practices. For farmers to achieve high production to meet the local demand, Muriithi said the national government and county governments will commercialise high-yielding cotton varieties and establish a certified seed system.

Source: Mediamax

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USA : Hopes high for seed cotton in disaster bill

“If that happens, then cotton will be back in as a Title I covered commodity without farm bill action,” says Dr. Joe Outlaw, co-director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist at College Station. Cotton growers hold out hope for seed cotton to be moved into Title I farm program through disaster bill. Hopes are high that seed cotton, unginned upland cotton that includes both lint and seed, will be moved into Title I farm program protection through a disaster bill recently passed the House and awaiting Senate action. “If that happens, then cotton will be back in as a Title I covered commodity without farm bill action,” says Dr. Joe Outlaw, co-director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist at College Station. “In my mind, that would be the best situation we could get — this would be the easiest approach. What I keep telling people is you just need to have the coverage, have the line in the budget, and then you can argue for tweaks here and there.” Is this the ideal plan? Outlaw says, “No. My answer has always been, get cotton back in before the farm bill and you’ve solved most of the problems because when they go back they will not have to find money for it in that process. Right now, this is a no-cost bill to the government,” says Outlaw, who spoke at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences at San Antonio, January 4, 2018. “Is it the perfect plan? Not exactly. But it is going to get your nose under the tent — it will get you back in and you can fix it later in the bill.” If the disaster bill passes, it will go into effect in 2018 with the reference price of 36 cents a pound. “Before you know how everything is calculated, you don’t know if this is a good reference price or a bad reference price,” says Outlaw. “The fact of the matter is that it’s been worked on a lot, and it’s a good reference price for the people in this room [at Beltwide].” Payment yield would be 2.4 times the payment yield for cotton established in the 2008 farm bill, he says. “You have to establish yield somehow, and they’re going to use the old counter-cyclical payment yield. If this goes through, farmers will have one opportunity to update payment yield just like every other covered commodity in the 2014 bill.” Payment acres would have to be established within 90 days by the farm owner by allocating all generic base acres on the farm. “In the case where no covered commodity, including seed cotton, was planted at any time from 2009-2016, the owner will allocate generic base acres on the farm to the unassigned crop base for which no payments may be made under Section 1116 or 1117 of the 2014 farm bill,” says Outlaw. Joe Outlaw, Texas AgriLife Extension economist, left, Jim Sugarek, Beeville, Texas, and Shawn Wade, Plains Cotton Growers, talk farm bill following Outlaw’s presentation at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio. Under this new bill, producers would also be allowed a one-time opportunity to select either agriculture risk coverage (ARC) or price loss coverage (PLC) for seed cotton. As in the Agriculture Act of 2014, growers who fail to select one or the other will automatically be enrolled in PLC, explains Outlaw. Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX), is another crop insurance product that will be available again for those who are not enrolled in either PLC or ARC in a crop year. In the past, Outlaw has not recommended STAX, but, “If these prices hold true like they’re talking about, it’s worth looking at a lot harder. You wouldn’t necessarily jump to the other programs,” says Outlaw. “But because the projected insurance prices are going up, STAX would be more attractive in the future. So keep that in the back of your mind.” STAX provides coverage for up to 20 percent of the expected area revenue in increments of 5, 10, 15 or 20 percent. Loss payments begin when area revenue falls below 90 percent of its expected level – although a lower loss trigger may be selected. Loss payments reach their maximum when area revenue falls to 70 percent of its expected level – unless your companion policy has a coverage level above 70 percent in which case payments end sooner. Like other area plans of insurance, the amount of coverage may also be increased or decreased by selection of a protection factor so that growers may better tailor their coverage to their risks, according to a USDA Risk Management Task Fact Sheet.

 In the process

For quite some time, the House and Senate have held numerous hearings in Washington, D.C. and regional listening sessions about the upcoming farm bill, allowing each commodity group to say what they want or need in the next farm bill, says Outlaw. “The problem I think Congress is going to have is that the groups were invited to testify as to what they want, so they asked for everything. They weren’t forced to prioritize, leaving Congress to try to figure out how to get the needs and wants met. “The people in Washington don’t really want to set out to tell people they can’t have some new change that they think will be better for their commodity or industry,” says Outlaw. “So, they’re kind of waiting on that process to see how much money there is. There’s always this amount that’s given that says, ‘here’s this baseline that you can spend’ and they’re trying to figure out what changes can be made, which ones would cost a lot, which ones would cost a little and what they can do for all of the interest groups that come in and ask for things. So, we’re in that process. “We’ve got two strong chairmen and I think they’re going to do their level best to get this thing done,” says Outlaw of House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway and Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts. As a whole, under farm bill spending, categories such as crop insurance, conservation and Commodity Title, the U.S. spends $20 billion. “If you put that relative to our national budget, fiscal year 2018, the sum total of $20 billion a year is one-half of one percent of that budget,” Outlaw points out. “So we talk about this money like it’s billions of dollars. It is a lot of money, but relative to what we spend on other things, it’s nothing. I’d like to have it, but it’s nothing. It’s only one-half of one percent.”

Source: Southwest Farm Press

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Italian Textile Machinery A Major Player At Techtextil Russia

MILAN, Italy — January 11, 2018 — ACIMIT, the Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers, and the Italian Trade Agency for the promotion and internationalization of Italian businesses abroad, will be organizing an exhibition space at the upcoming edition of Techtextil Russia, the specialized trade fair dedicated to technical textiles and nonwovens, slated to be held in Moscow from 20 to 23 March 2018. A total of 22 companies will be on hand at Italy’s exhibition space, including the following ACIMIT associated members: Beta, Bombi, Bonino, Cibitex, Cognetex, Durst, Fabotex, Fadis, Ferraro, Guarneri, Mcs, Cosmatex, Pugi, Ratti, Reggiani, Salmoiraghi, Sariel, Santex Rimar Group, Smit, Sicam, Tessil Gomma. The trade fair event arrives at a time of GROWTH for Russia’s textile sector. Indeed, the Russian authorities have initiated pilot projects specifically targeting the modernization of existing technology in the textile sector, and increasing the supply of local products on the Russian market. The production of technical textiles, in particular, is deemed by competent Government authorities to constitute a driver in reviving the fate of Russia’s textile industry. As ACIMIT president Alessandro Zucchi explains, “This restructuring phase provides an opportunity to further strengthen existing relations between Russian textile manufacturers and Italian technology suppliers, which are already in good stead thanks to the promotional initiatives launched by ACIMIT and the ICE-Agency over the past few years.” “The result of this interaction between Italy’s textile machinery manufacturers and Russian producers,” adds Zucchi, “is the Russian market’s constant presence among primary destinations for Italian exports of textile machinery.” In 2016, Italy exported 22 million euros worth of textile machinery to Russia, whereas figures updated to the first seven months of 2017 show a 51% increase compared to the same period for 2016, for a corresponding value of 11 million euros.

Source: Textile World

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