India's apparel exports to EU face a duty disadvantage: Smriti Irani

India faces competition from countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka that enjoy preferential or duty-free access to key markets like the European Union, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said on Friday. "Apparel exports from competing countries enjoy zero/preferential access to European Union whereas India faces a duty disadvantage. Besides Bangladesh and Vietnam have a large and productive labour force," Irani said. India's exports of textile and apparel sector (including handicrafts) have increased from USD 39.3 billion (around Rs ) in 2017-18 to USD 40.4 billion in 2018-19," Irani said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

Source: Economic Times

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Textile parks grow at snail's pace; only 22 out of 59 projects completed so far

Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) provides support for creating good textile infrastructure, with the government granting up to 40 per cent of the project cost. The progress of textile parks, under the Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP), has been moving at a snail's pace. The scheme was approved during the 10th Five Year Plan in 2005. While 59 textile parks have been sanctioned under SITP by the Ministry of Textiles, only 22 have been completed. The rest are under various stages of construction, the Minister of Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani informed the Lok Sabha today.

Why are the parks taking this long?

"The slow progress in the implementation of the textile parks under the SITP has been attributed primarily to delay in obtaining land and other statutory clearances from state government and slow fund mobilisation by the textile parks," the minister said. "Regular meetings are held at senior levels in the Ministry of Textile with various stakeholders of the textile parks and state government representatives to resolve any issues faced by them. Regional conferences are also conducted by the Ministry of Textiles on periodic basis," she added. The SITP provides support for creating good textile infrastructure, with the government granting up to 40 per cent of the project cost. The government grants up to 90 per cent of the project cost for first two projects each in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir with ceiling limit of Rs 40 crore for each textile park. Answering another question in the Lok Sabha, the minister said that India's exports of textile and apparel sector (including handicrafts) have increased from $39.3 billion in 2017-18 to $ 40.4 billion in 2018-19. "India faces competition from countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka which enjoy duty free access to key markets. Apparel exports from competing countries enjoy zero/preferential access to EU whereas India faces a duty disadvantage. Besides Bangladesh and Vietnam have a large and productive labour force," she said. Apart from SITP, more recent programmes are aimed at providing a boost to the textiles industry. These include a Rs 6000-crore package that was launched in June 2016 to boost employment and export potential in the apparel and made up segments. An Amended Technology Up-gradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS) was launched in January 2016 with an outlay of Rs 17,822 crore. The scheme, the government stated, has been designed to promote ease of doing business in the country and to mobilise new investment of about Rs 95,000 crore and employment for 35 lakh persons by the year 2022.

Source: Business Today

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GDP growth slows to 4.5% in Q2 FY20, worst in six years

India is now staring at the real possibility of a sub-6 percent annual GDP growth in 2019-20, the first since 2012, amid a stuttering world economy and plunging sentiments at home. India’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 4.5 percent in July-September 2019, the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2012-13, confirming fears of a deepening slowdown in the economy as households aren't spending enough to buoy demand and companies aren't adding capacities or hiring more. India is now staring at the real possibility of a sub-6 percent annual GDP growth in 2019-20, the first since 2012, amid a stuttering world economy and plunging sentiments at home. Gross Value Added (GVA), which is GDP minus taxes and is seen as a more realistic gauge to measure economic activity, grew 4.3 percent in July-September 2019, compared to 4.9 percent in the previous quarter and 6.9 percent in the second quarter of the previous year. The data mirrored the markers about the economy's poor health coming out from car showrooms, retail malls and the rapidity of activity in farms. The slowdown comes on the back of the 5 percent GDP growth recorded in April-June and 7.1 percent in July-September last year. The farm sector grew 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2019-20, reflecting the very late arrival of monsoon rains this year, affecting sowing in the summer kharif crop, India's main harvest. The manufacturing sector, which accounts for about 75 percent of the country's factory output, contracted 1 percent in July-September 2019, broadly echoing that people are putting off purchases on aspirational items such as cars and televisions. According to Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) data, passenger vehicle sales declined 23.7 percent during July-September. Private final consumption expenditure (PFCE), a proxy to measure household spending, grew 5.06 percent (at constant) prices in July-September 2019 compared to 9.8 percent in the same quarter last year. Slowdown was visible across other sectors as well. Construction sector GVA grew 3.3 percent in July-September 2019 compared to 5.7 percent in the previous quarter and 6.8 percent in the second quarter of the previous fiscal year. Similarly, GVA in real estate during the quarter grew 5.8 percent compared to 7 percent in the previous quarter and 6.3 percent in July-September 2018. There has been pressure building up on the government to engineer a quick turnaround through appropriate policy interventions, despite a string of measures in the recent months. On September 20, 2019, in a mini-Budget of sorts, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced major changes in corporate income tax rates, in a fresh set of measures to revive growth in the broader economy. The government has slashed the corporate income tax rate from 30 percent to 22 percent for all companies. Inclusive of cess and surcharges the effective corporate tax rate in India now comes down to corporate tax to 25.17 per cent. Newer companies, which are set up after October 1, 2019, will be subjected to an even lower effective tax rate of 17 percent. On August 23, 2019, Sitharaman announced a slew of measures to fix the economy that appeared to be falling off a cliff. The government rolled back some of the controversial measures introduced in the union budget for 2019-20, including the enhanced surcharge levied on capital gains made by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) investing in India’s equity markets. There were specific measures to stoke demand, including a rejig of its spending programme by front-loading it, addressing supply-side bottlenecks and easing bank credit rules, even as she promised to end “tax terrorism" that has left businesses jittery. Two more sets of measures followed, including an amalgamation of public sector banks and a fund to boost the beleaguered realty sector.

Source: Money Control

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Japan won’t sign RCEP if India doesn’t join

Japan is not considering signing a Chinese-backed regional trade pact without India, the top Japanese negotiator said Friday, ahead of a series of diplomatic exchanges in the coming weeks that include a visit to Delhi by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. India announced this month it was withdrawing from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, citing the deal’s potential impact on the livelihoods of its most vulnerable citizens. China said that the 15 remaining countries decided to move forward first and India was welcome to join RCEP whenever it’s ready. “We aren’t thinking about that at all yet,” Deputy Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Hideki Makihara, said in an interview with Bloomberg. “All we are thinking of is negotiations including India.” Abe has sought to beef up ties with India across a range of fields to balance China’s regional dominance. Japanese and Indian foreign and defense ministers hold their first joint meeting in a so-called ‘two plus two’ format this weekend. Both countries are also part of fourway security talks with Australia and the U.S. called the Quad, a move that Beijing has complained could stoke a new Cold War. “It is meaningful from the economic, political and potentially the national security point of view,” Makihara said of the inclusion of the world’s largest democracy in the pact.  “Japan will continue to try to persuade India to join.” Trade Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama will accompany Abe on next month’s trip to India, Makihara said. The other countries taking part in the RCEP talks are Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand. Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. China has sought to accelerate the RCEP deal as it faces slowing growth from a trade war with the U.S. An agreement would further integrate Asia’s economies with China just as President Donald Trump’s administration urges nations in the region to shun Chinese infrastructure loans and 5G telecommunications technology.

Source: Bloomberg

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India announces $400 million line of credit for infrastructure in Sri Lanka

PM Modi, Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa to work towards strengthening `multi-dimensional partnership’ India has announced a line of credit of $400 million for development projects in Sri Lanka and a $50 million fund to fight terrorism on Friday marking Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s two-day visit to the country. “The $400 million line of credit to Sri Lanka will strengthen the country’s infrastructure development. I am confident that this will help boost Sri Lanka’s economy and the line of credit will also speed up mutually beneficial `project cooperation’ between the two nations,” Modi said in a statement after his bilateral meeting with Rajapaksa. This is Rajapaksa’s first foreign visit after taking over as President of Sri Lanka on November 18 after winning a keenly fought national election. He is seen as being close to China and it is, therefore, strategically very important for India to have close ties with his government. "I want to bring the relationship between India and Sri Lanka to a very high level," Rajapaksa told the media after his ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan in the presence of President Ram Nath Kovind and Modi on Friday. Modi said that it was decided by the two leaders that the countries would work together to strengthen their multi-dimensional partnership and strong steps will be taken in the direction. “In line with my government’s `neighbourhood first’ policy and SAGAR doctrine, we give primacy to our relationship with Sri Lanka. That is why it is natural that we are concerned about each other’s defence and security needs and sensitivities,” he said, adding that India will be a partner in the country’s all-round development. The Prime Minister also said that the two leaders had decided to utilise the $100 million credit line earlier announced for setting up solar projects in the country. Modi expressed confidence that the new government would fulfill aspirations of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.

Fruitful talks, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajapaksa held talks covering the entire expanse of bilateral ties. Speaking after the meeting, PM Modi said, "It is matter of honour that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa decided to visit India after assuming charge of the country." He said that a stable Sri Lanka was interest of India and the entire Indian Ocean Region. Commenting on the talks, Modi said,"We held very fruitful talks. I assured Sri Lankan president of India’s help in overall development of the country." He announced a line of credit of $ 400 million to boost the island nation's development. He also announced $ 50 million to Sri Lanka to deal with security related issues. "We deliberated on dealing with challenge of terrorism," Modi said. Talking about the Tamils in the nation, Modi said that he was confident President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's government would fulfil aspirations of the community. Rajapaksa said that the focus of talks was on security cooperation and economic cooperation.

Range of issues discussed

Earlier, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Rajapaksa during which a range of bilateral and regional issues were discussed. A plethora of issues, including fulfilling the aspirations of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, situation in the Indian Ocean region and steps to boost trade and investment ties, are expected to figure in the talks between Modi and Rajapaksa. Last week, India said it was looking forward to work closely with the new Sri Lankan government and hoped that it would be able to fulfil the aspirations of the Tamil community in that country. Rajapaksa, a former Defence Secretary who is credited with ending the country’s long civil war, was sworn in as the island nation’s new president on November 18, a day after he won the closely fought presidential election in island nation. Three days later, he appointed his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister. Jaishankar had travelled to Colombo last week as a special envoy of Prime Minister Modi to convey his greetings to Rajapaksa.

Source: The Hindu Businessline

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Manufacturing contracts for first time in 2 yrs, pulls down GDP to 6-yr low

This is the second contraction in the sector on a quarterly basis in the past eight years - since the new GDP series started in 2012-13The manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in over two years, showed official data released on Friday. The sector contracted by 1 per cent in the second quarter (July-September period) of this fiscal year, compared to a slow growth of 0.6 per cent in the previous quarter. Growth in the manufacturing sector stood at 6.9 per cent in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year. Manufacturing was the only sector which witnessed a decline in output during this quarter. It was the manufacturing sector which pulled down the gross domestic product (GDP) growth to over six-year low of 4.5 per cent in the second quarter. In the first half of this fiscal year, the output in the manufacturing sector fell by 0.2 per cent, compared to a robust growth of 9.4 per cent during the same period last year. contraction in the sector on a quarterly basis in the past eight years — since the new GDP series started in 2012-13. Some analysts blamed poor consumer demand for the slump. “We saw the weakest performance in the manufacturing sector which is a result of a persistent demand slowdown that has resulted in low capacity utilisation for the last 2-3 years,” said D K Srivastava, chief policy advisor at EY. “Without capacity utilisation, there was no investment demand. As a result of weak demand for consumer products, the manufacturing sector contracted as it has excess capacity but no corresponding demand.” Experts do not see green shoots in the sector going ahead as the output of eight core industries also fell in October. The core sectors contracted by 5.8 per cent in October, compared to a fall of 5.2 per cent in September, according to the data. The GDP manufacturing numbers were in tandem with the index of industrial production data. The output in manufacturing had contracted by a sharp 3.9 per cent in September against 1.6 per cent in August. In fact, of the 23 sub-sectors within manufacturing, 17 had recorded year-on-year contractions in September, up from 15 in the previous month.

Source: Business Standard

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Why India must rethink RCEP stance

Nothing exemplifies the problems with India’s strategic vision on trade as much as the pullout from RCEP does. The dust has begun settling on India’s withdrawal from RCEP. The decision has far-reaching consequences. It also reflects on the kind of strategic vision India has for its external trade. Independent India has hardly had a trade policy. The annual export-import policies were more revenue policies than trade policies, with their focus largely on duty drawback. The only long-term foreign trade policy the country had was in 2014. This was a comprehensive policy, reflecting on strategies for expanding market access of Indian exports. Other than this policy, there has hardly ever been an official articulation of the strategic vision for India’s engagement in external trade. If the decision to disengage from RCEP reflects the strategic vision for Indian trade, one can safely assume that broad-based engagement in free trade agreements (FTAs) is not a part of this vision. The assumption draws strength from India’s decisions, over the past few years, to pull back from several bilateral FTA talks, like those with Australia and Canada. India’s decision to review its existing FTAs with ASEAN, Japan, and Korea, is also in line with the presumption of distancing prominently from efforts to engage in multiple FTAs. It is interesting, though, that India is discussing the possibility of a bilateral trade deal with the US. India has also revived talks with the EU on the bilateral trade and investment agreement (BTIA) that it had discontinued earlier. These engagements, accompanied with the disengagement from RCEP, reveal a contrasting character of India’s trade policy. The dichotomy points to India’s intention of engaging in trade with ‘some’, not all. Looked at more closely, it reflects India’s intention of developing closer trade ties with the West, as opposed to the East. If this is a part of the Indian strategic vision, then, unfortunately, it is very likely to prove counterproductive. Backing out of RCEP and pushing on trade deals with the US and the EU, among other factors, is guided by the notion of relative differences in regional competitiveness. It is a view held by several watchers of Indian trade that the country’s lack of competitiveness vis-à-vis its Eastern neighbours should prevent it from pursuing FTAs with countries of East and Southeast Asia. Such a view, needless to say, has contributed to the decision to withdraw from RCEP. The counterpoint to this logic is brutally simple. It is true that India is uncompetitive in most spheres of broad-based manufacturing, compared with its eastern neighbours. But, it is the markets in the East that its exports need access to. The world’s fastest growing emerging markets are in Asia. A considerable part of the future global demand for various exports would be driven by fast-growing Asian economies like Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and, of course, China. These economies would not just contribute significantly to global production but they would also become much bigger global consumers. In the process, they would figure at both, the upstream and downstream ends of several global production networks, depending on their competitiveness and capacities. RCEP would have given India an opportunity to become a part of this virtuous process. From being a consumer of most items, India could have also become a producer of many, even if, on occasions, by bits and pieces, depending on which value chains it fitted into, and where. By dropping out of RCEP, India has decided to stay out of the organic transformation taking place in global trade, which is churning out of Asia. The other counterpoint on the geography logic is obvious. Many experts feel Indian products would be able to dent American and European markets deeper with relative ease. They fail to note that in these markets, and in most products, India would be competing with those same economies from the East that it is not as competitive as. And, these economies would continue receiving preferential benefits in major Western markets through schemes like GSP and EBA (Everything but Arms). These benefits are likely to wipe out any access gains for Indian exports through FTAs that it might enter into with the US and the EU. Even ‘stalwart’ exports like gems and jewellry, and pharmaceuticals would not be able to push Indian exports to the mighty highs that many feel FTAs with the EU and the US can fetch. Ironically, being in RCEP could have strengthened India’s prospects for FTAs with the US and the EU. It would have plugged India into Asian value chains running backward and forward across the Atlantic and Pacific. This is exactly what several Asian countries, such as Japan, Korea, and Singapore, have done by engaging in simultaneous FTAs with other regional economies on the one hand, and Europe and North America on the other. But, unfortunately, the current strategic vision for India’s trade doesn’t accommodate this virtuous possibility. Nothing exemplifies the problems with India’s strategic vision on trade as much as the pullout from RCEP does. The decision has been justified as a no deal being better than a bad deal. But, perhaps it is now important to realise that a faulty strategic vision is better than no vision. The writer is Senior Research Fellow and Research Lead (trade and economic policy), NUS.

Source: Financial Express

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Investors’ summit to dwell on advances in textile, garment industry

Mahesh Khanna, General Manager, District Industries Centre, Ludhiana, today stated the textile industry had contributed significantly to Punjab’s economic growth. He said Punjab prides itself as one of the largest producers of cotton, blended yarn and mill made fabrics in India and the state is ranked 3rd in installed spinning capacity in India. Accounting for 95 per cent of India’s production, Punjab is the leader in woollen knitwear production. Textile industry accounts for 19 per cent of the total industrial output (Gross Value Added) of Punjab and in terms of exports, the share of textiles in the state’s total exports stands at 21 per cent. To further promote the growth of the textile industry in the state, it is imperative to strengthen the presence of industries in the higher textile value-chain and to keep abreast with the global technological advancements (especially in the Technical Textiles segment). This became the genesis for conducting a dialogue to discuss the opportunities and available support in Punjab in the garmenting and technical textile domains through a dedicated session themed on “Punjab: New Destination for Garmenting & Technical Textiles”. Khanna said the panel discussion would be moderated by Amit Jain (Managing Director, Shingora Textiles Limited), and would witness participation and sharing of views from eminent textile industry veterans, viz, Rajinder Gupta (Chairman, Trident Group), DL Sharma (Managing Director, Vardhman Textiles), Kamal Oswal (Managing Director, Nahar Industrial Enterprises), among others.

Source: Tribune India

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Telangana seeks ₹898 cr from Indian govt for textile park

The Telangana state recently sought about ₹898 crore from the Indian government for creating infrastructure at the upcoming Kakatiya Mega Textile Park (KMTP) in Warangal. State minister for information technology and industries KT Rama Rao submitted a memorandum regarding this to minister for textiles Smriti Irani in New Delhi early this week. The Telangana government has also submitted the required documentation sought during the project approval committee meeting. The government asked for sanction of ₹897.92 crore for infrastructure at the textile park, and also early approval of the project, an official press release issued in Hyderabad said. Rao also requested Irani to finalise the policy for Development of Manufacturing Regions for Textile and Apparel Sector (MRTA) so that projects like KMTP can benefit, the release said. KMTP is in line with the draft policy of MRTA of the ministry of textile aimed at establishing manufacturing facilities for domestic and export-led production in apparel and other textile-related sectors, the release said. The park has already received a foreign direct investment commitment of $145 million from Youngone Corporation, South Korea, and the Telangana government has signed memoranda of understanding for ₹3,020 crore with 14 textile and apparel companies, the release added.

Source: Fibre2fashion

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Cut in corporate tax rate was needed to spur investments, boost growth: CEA Subramanian

Chief Economic Adviser K V Subramanian on Friday said the cut in corporate tax rate was required to boost investments as the virtual cycle that spurs growth in the economy has not been functioning as expected for the last few quarters. For us (India) to achieve the goal of USD 5 trillion economy by 2024-25, and USD 10 trillion by 2030, we need to press the paddle on structural reforms, he said and explained the host of measures that the government has taken in recent times.Economic survey released in July this year laid out strategic steps for India to become a USD 5 trillion economy with special emphasis on investment as the key driver for the economic development with consumption being the force multiplier, he said. Investment is important for enhancing productivity in the economy and it is productivity that eventually then improves wages, creates job, enhances exports and then the combination of all these gives the purchasing power in the hands of the consumers which is what manifests as demand. "The anticipation of demand is what the companies use to make investments and that is how this virtual cycle goes. Over the last few quarters this virtual cycle is not moving as fast as it was when we were growing at 7 per cent plus...," he said at the 'India Economic Forum' Skoch event here. Explaining tax dynamics for corporations, he said corporate tax is first paid by a company and whatever is left as capital gains or dividends, the individuals are then taxed later. One of the important things to recognise is that there is double taxation... Which is why, we at the government went ahead and reduced the corporate tax rates," Subramanian said. The government has undertaken a number of measures to arrest growth slowdown. In September, it announced a cut in the corporate tax rate to 22 per cent from 30 per cent. It also lowered the tax rate for new manufacturing companies to 15 per cent to attract new foreign direct investments. The Chief Economic Adviser also enlisted host of other initiatives taken by the government to boost overall growth cycle including the enaction of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, bringing down the 40-odd laws in labour sector into four broad categories as well as market regulator Sebi's recent guidelines to listed companies to disclose their defaults immediately. He said the disclosure about material and technical defaults by the companies is really important as information is what drives investment and decisions are taken on the basis of that. Substantiating his point, he said the recent Supreme Court judgement on Essar Steel was very important. Subramanian said the current situation has provided the government an opportunity to try and bring in important structural reforms. "I am confident that these important structural reforms that we have undertaken will definitely have an impact on investment and thereby on the other parts of the cycle," the CEA said in his concluding remarks.

Source: Economic Times

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Industrial Relations Code 2019: Balance tilts in favour of industry; makes trade unions jittery

Trade unions have raised several serious objections in the bill: from discretionary power of the executive to raising the threshold for lay-offs to making it virtually impossible to strike legally, restricting outsiders in the unorganised sector and extending fix term employment to the entire industry. The Industrial Relations Code 2019 (IR Code) is the third bill in a series of four being framed to amalgamate and rationalise more than 40 central laws governing labour affairs. It was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. Two other bills - (a) Code on Wages 2019 was introduced and passed by the Parliament in the previous session and (b) Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code 2019, which was introduced in the previous session, is now pending with a standing committee for deliberations. The IR Code seeks to amalgamate, simplify and rationalise provisions of three central enactments relating to industrial relations -Trade Union Act of 1926, Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 and Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act of 1946. While the Code addresses the concerns of industry and has been welcomed, it faces strong opposition from trade unions cutting across the ideological line and disapproval of economists for undermining labour rights and welfare. It is a repeat of the 2017 IR Code, which was withheld following strong protests, except for three significant departures - (a) retains threshold for prior permission for lay-offs and retrenchment at 100 workers or more by withdrawing 300 workers or more than the 2017 Code proposed while allowing it to be revised upwards with executive orders, (b) providing for "sole negotiating unions" with 75% or more presentation of workers and (c) introduction of fix-term employment.

What the 2019 Code provides:

The Statement of objects and reasons says amalgamation of the three earlier enactments mentioned earlier would "facilitate implementation and also remove the multiplicity of definitions and authorities without compromising on the basic concepts of welfare and benefits to workers".

Some of the salient features are listed below:

1. Define "fixed-term employment" to mean engagement of a worker on the basis of a written contract for a fix period with all statutory benefits like social security, wages etc. on par with the regular employee doing similar work, thereby extending it to the entire industry (until now, it is restricted to the textile and garment sector)

2. Define "strike" to include mass casual leave

3. Define "worker" to include persons in supervisory capacity getting Rs 15,000 a month- up from Rs 10,000

4. Retaining the obligation to seek prior permission for industrial establishments with 100 or more workers before lay-off, retrenchment or closure with a proviso that "appropriate government" - central and state governments - would be "empowered" to modify this threshold "by notification"

5. Set up a re-skilling fund for training of retrenched employees to which employers would contribute 15 days of wages or such other days that may be notified by the central government

6. Provide for "sole negotiating union" for negotiations with 75% or more representation of workers in a trade union, in absence of which a "negotiating council" would be constituted for the purpose

7. Provide for an industrial tribunal as adjudicating body to replace court of inquiry, board of conciliation and labour courts and decide appeals against the decision of conciliating officer;

8. Provide that reference (of disputes) by the government would not be required for Industrial Tribunal, except the National Industrial Tribunal, meaning thereby that anyone can approach Industrial Tribunal and

9. Prohibit strikes and lockouts (a) without giving 14 days' notice and going for it "within 60 days" (b) "also during the pendency of conciliation proceedings" before a conciliation officer and continues through the proceedings in tribunal, (c) "during" the pendency of arbitration or settlement or award is in operation etc., besides providing stiff punishment for violations (fine up to Rs 10,000 and a month's imprisonment.)

Disapprobation of the Code

Just like its previous version, this Code too has provoked widespread disapproval of all its key provisions from the trade unions with both the right and left ideological leanings and economists. Here are some of the key ones.

(i) Legal strike virtually banned, diluting rights and bargaining power of workers

CK Sajinarayanan, president of the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) says he "strongly opposes" the attempt to suppress strike and dismisses it as "impractical". He says: "Such a provision was made for the public utility services earlier and did not work as most strikes happened violating it. The 14-day notice becomes meaningless, given the restrictions, and will create a fresh battleground, badly affecting industrial peace".Tapan Sen, general secretary of the Left-leaning Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) says the Code "bans strike altogether", subverting workers' rights to resort to legal strikes. Labour economist Prof KR Shyam Sundar of XLRI's Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, says legal strike has been made virtually impossible because now (a) industrial disputes would come under one resolution process or the other during the timeframe fixed for strike (before a conciliation officer, tribunal or arbitration and award processes) and (b) throwing open the option of approaching the tribunal to anyone to bring it under the resolution process. He points out that redefining strike to include mass casual leave would make even coincidental leaves vulnerable to stiff penalties.

(ii) Dilution of threshold for lay-offs, retrenchment and closure

In view of persistent opposition from trade unions, the 2019 Code marks a departure from the 2017 one which had sought to increase the threshold for seeking prior permission for lay-offs, retrenchment and closure from industrial establishments with 100 workers or more to "not less than 300". The new code goes back to the older threshold (of 100 or more) but allows it to be increased through an executive order. Sen says this is "subversion" of the process as it allows executives to change the threshold at will, rendering the entire legislative processes meaningless. Echoing similar sentiments, Sajinarayanan says this discretionary power (to central and state governments) should go. He says the BMS has been demanding to lower the threshold for long since mechanisation has enabled lesser number of workers to achieve productivity levels comparable with that of a higher number of workers in the past. Prof Sunder explains that the discretionary provision has two serious consequences. It (a) allows differential labour structures in states and (b) more crucially, law-making is taken out of the legislature's domain to that of the executive, "which is very bad in law".

(iii) From permanent to fix term employment Sajinarayanan says the BMS would "oppose it tooth and nail" because it enters into the domain of permanency of workers and extends the provision to the entire industry. He says it would create a new category of workers as permanent jobs would be converted to fix term jobs with social security and wages at par with the former but "no job security or permanency".He further says: "This provision was introduced in the textile and garments industry in 2016. Three years later, this industry has gone down with units shifting to Bangladesh. It has had only a negative impact." Prof Sundar says this change would have two consequences: (a) conversion of future permanent vacancy to fix term ones with tremendous flexibility as it is not regulated except for wages and social security and (b) job permanency would be totally diluted.

(iv) Outsiders restricted in unorganised sector-trade unions

The Code says that the unorganised sector-trade unions would need to have 50% of office bearers who are employees. This is not acceptable to trade unions. Sajinarayanan says: "From Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru onwards, many outsiders have led trade union movements and it is because of them that the trade union movement has retained its quality. We are not in favour of this." In Sen's view this is particularly worrisome because it is meant for the unorganised sector where workers are more vulnerable to vindictive actions in the absence of outsiders' support even for demanding legitimate rights. Prof Sundar says this is "not a good labour policy as it discourages empowerment of unorganised sector workers".

(v) 75% threshold for "sole negotiating union"

This is another departure from the 2017 Code. Sajinarayanan says it is "not needed" and "not practical" because in Indian conditions no trade union can claim representation of 75% of workers or more. In India, he says, the tradition has been for all unions to join hands in negotiations.

Prof Sundar says no trade union in the world would fulfil this condition. This is self-defeating as it undermines collective bargaining and encourages a crowded negotiating council that would follow (if no union qualifies to be "sole negotiating union"). "Such a rather stiff benchmark would not help the purpose for which the law is made", he adds. In the meanwhile, the BMS has rejected the Code completely after a prolonged deliberation in New Delhi on Friday. Sajinarayanan says the BMS is seeking withdrawal of the Code or it be sent to a Parliamentary panel for full debate before being drawn up again.

Source: Business Today

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First handloom and handicrafts mall inaugurated in Imphal

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh on Friday inaugurated the first handloom and handicrafts mall and unveiled a craft’s pillar in Imphal east district. The mall is being run by the Manipur Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation (MHHDC) Ltd. Speaking at the inaugural programme, the chief minister said that handloom and handicraft sector enormously contributes to the overall growth in business sector in the state. He said 50% of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) business in Manipur is owned by women which is against the national average of 30%, as per the report of the MSME Ministry, Government of India. Manipur Legislative Assembly Speaker Yumnam Khemchand Singh and Chairman Sorokhaibam Rajen of MHHDC Ltd. attended the inauguration function at Wangkhei Keithel Ashangbi. On development of handloom sector, the chief minister said that the state government is considering to bring out a policy to replace fabrics used in stitching school uniforms with handloom products of the state. This would increase demand of handloom fabrics thereby generate more income for weavers, the Chief Minister pointed out. Assembly Speaker Khemchand said that most of the handloom products are used by women in Manipur. As such, there is need to bring out a policy by MHHDC Ltd. to encourage use of handloom products by men as well, he observed. On the other hand Chairman Rajen of MHHDC Ltd. said that the present Government has been putting in serious efforts to develop the handloom and handicraft sector. He said that INR 5 crore is included in the State annual budget for MHHDC Ltd. every year apart from providing INR 1 crore as additional fund. Principal Secretary (Textiles, Commerce and Industries) P Vaiphei, Imphal East DC Dr. Rangitabali Waikhom, SP Haobijam Jogeshchandra and MHHDC Ltd. Managing Director Lamlee Kamei were also present at the function.

Source: Eastern Mirror

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View: A three-point guide for India Inc to survive slow growth

Many CEOs should be wringing their hands about the latest figures released by the government on Friday that show GDP grew 4.5% in the second quarter of FY2019, making it the slowest economic growth rate in over six years. This handwringing is also fuelled by rapidly falling consumer demand, which, despite government reforms, could further lower GDP for the third quarter. Leaders are preparing their teams for slowdown, now that Moody’s has slashed India’s growth forecast earlier this month to 5.6% for 2019. Some are already looking to strategies like lowering prices to ride out the tough times that they believe are here. That way of thinking, however, is dead wrong. India still offers better and more exciting scenarios for growth than almost any country. With 1.4 billion people, it’s a marketer’s dream. It has a rapidly growing middle class. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that the number of people in India with annual disposable incomes between Rs 200,000 and Rs 1 million will hit 583 million by 2025. And, according to the 2019 Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse, there are 759,000 adults with wealth above $1million in the country. Great business leaders never waste a crisis like this. If you can’t make money in India right now, it’s because you are not paying attention to signals from the market, and aren’t looking for opportunity in the right places. Here is what business leaders need to do to turn their companies into agile machines that can make the most of current conditions. *Get under the skin of consumers: Many companies in India aren’t studying consumer behaviour in a consistent way. Few have clear market segmentation in place, or an in-depth understanding of the needs & pains of their target consumer. If their sales go flat, they lower prices in a knee-jerk reaction. Companies that want to win need to do ongoing, in-depth analysis of events in the market that affect their businesses to understand cause-and-effect relationships and project future market scenarios accurately. With each change in the market, business leaders need to ask, ‘How does it affect my consumers?’ ‘How will it change their behaviour?’ For how long?’ ‘Where would my consumer go if not here?’ Rather than invest in traditional market research, companies should send 10 of their team members to talk with 10 customers each every month. Do this and your company’s sensitivity to what is happening in the market will go through the roof. You’ll only win if you connect the dots faster than your competitors. *Create a single-minded, focused and differentiated strategy: That means allocating your resources only to what matters, and knowing when to say ‘no’. Many companies in India are very diversified. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, go deep and make sure you are creating value for the customers you already have. Many local companies have a built-in edge over foreign rivals in that they know their customers well. That advantage can be explored more aggressively. By adopting a narrower focus, companies will be able to understand their customers even better and serving them better than rivals. But understanding customers better than anyone else isn’t enough. Companies need to act on this understanding by creating a crystalclear and differentiated value proposition. Brands invariably grow more quickly, if it’s clear to consumers what they do best. *Build ruthless discipline in execution: Many companies in India are still operating very inefficiently by world standards, relying on rigid, hierarchical management structures that slow decision-making. This approach may have worked 20 years ago, when the business world moved more slowly, but today, the market punishes slow-moving, bureaucratic companies severely. The companies that are winning today — and will thrive no matter what the market does — have flatter management structures that let them respond in real time to market conditions. Fortunately, India’s population is well-educated, and many companies already employ team members with strong leadership talent and the capability to get things done. Now is the time for leaders to reorganise their operations so that their teams can keep pace with market conditions. Many leaders don’t like change. They would rather use the country’s falling GDP as an excuse for their company’s slow growth than do things differently than they have always done. Their companies will ultimately fail if the economy continues to slow down. The companies that win in today’s environment will be the ones who see the big opportunities in India that are there for the taking, and seize them before their competitors do. The writer is CEO, Fast Track Ltd

Source: Economic Times

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Indonesia's textiles industry: An Update

Indonesian textiles and clothing exports is growing at a rate marginally faster than that of the country's GDP, but the overall downward trend continues. A Market Intelligence (MI) report from Fibre2Fashion. The export value of Indonesian textiles and clothing products increased to $13.28 billion in CY (calendar year) 2018 from $12.54 billion in CY 2017 with a growth rate of 5.90 per cent, according to textile association Asosiasi Pertekstilan Indonesia (API). The growth rate of the Indonesian textiles and clothing industry was higher than the country's GDP growth rate of 5.17 per cent in 2018. Exports of cotton and cotton products have been showing a consistent downward trend due to the continued fall of the Indonesian rupiah, fierce competition among yarn spinners in both domestic and overseas markets, shutdown of some major retail markets, uncompetitive cotton yarn prices for exports, and weak demand from export destinations. This also affected growth in cotton use in MY (market year which starts on August 1) 2018-19. Consequently, cotton imports have shown a slight increase and reached 772,929 metric tonnes in MY 2018-19.

Growth in Exports of Textiles and Textile Products

There has been a consistent increase in exports of textiles and textile products from Indonesia since CY 2017. During this period, an Indonesian trade delegation visited the US in July 2018 and committed to the predominant use of US cotton. US-China trade tensions too have resulted in more Indonesian garments being exported to the US and more cotton imported from the US. American cotton is still preferred over other varieties as it is of higher quality and more consistent. Now, with the conclusion of the Indonesia-European Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IEU-CEPA) in 2019 textile exports to the European market is expected to increase.

Production of Cotton

Cotton production in Indonesia is not significant due to the preference for non-agricultural produce and production of higher margin crops such as rice and corn. In fact, cotton production has been declining since MY 2013-14. That year, Indonesian cotton production was 5,443 metric tonnes, which plunged to 653 metric tonnes in MY 2018-19-registering a huge drop of 4,790 metric tonnes. This is expected to drop further to 355.05 metric tonnes in MY 2020-21. According to reports, the margins of smaller millers have reduced, who are now unable to increase yarn prices. Therefore, some have temporarily halted production. Moreover, domestic players are competing with imports from Vietnam and Bangladesh. According to the ministry of agriculture, the cotton production reported in MY 2018-19 was 51 per cent in South Sulawesi region, 25 per cent in East Nusa Tenggara and 8 per cent each in East Java and West Nusa Tenggara.

Consumption of Cotton and Fibres

Cotton consumption of Indonesia in MY 2018-19 remained at 772,929 metric tonnes. It is expected to rise to 794,866.79 metric tonnes in MY 2020-21 with a growth rate of 2.84 per cent following expansion by larger mills and increased global production and demand. Out of the total fibre consumption in Indonesia, cotton accounts for 35.85 per cent which is fulfilled by US cotton imports. Manmade fibres make up for an overwhelming 64.05 per cent, while other natural fibres contribute just 0.10 per cent to the total fibre consumption.

Cotton Exports and Imports

Indonesia's cotton exports in MY 2013-14 was 1,089 metric tonnes, which increased till MY 2015-16 and then dropped again in MY 2018-19 to 1,089 metric tonnes. It is expected to remain stable in MY 2020-21 at the same number. On the other hand, cotton imports are very high as compared to the exports and continue to increase. Cotton imports are expected to grow by 3 per cent in MY 2020-21 to 796,080.44 metric tonnes from 772,929.00 metric tonnes in MY 2018-19. Cotton imports are expected to increase in MY 2019-20 at a rate of 1.48 per cent to 784,419.31 metric tonnes.

Trade Partners

The major export destinations for Indonesian textile products are US (32.87 per cent), Japan (10.08 per cent), China (5.7 per cent), and South Korea (4.7 per cent). The domestic demand of textiles in Indonesia, however, continues to drop in the face of competition from low-cost imports. Indonesia is now a major cotton importing country with no growth expectations in exports. The demand for US cotton remains high as domestic players favour American cotton and the Indonesian government has been promoting it in order to boost the country's bilateral trade with the US. Cotton imports are expected to increase in the event of expansion of mill infrastructures with higher production capacities. Meanwhile, cotton imports from the US reached a record $602 million in 2018 which allowed the US to regain its position in becoming the leading supplier of cotton to the country with a market share of 35.3 per cent followed by Brazil (25.2 per cent) and Australia (9.3 per cent).

Source: Fibre2Fashion

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Vietnam: RoK tops list of investors in garment-textile industry

Foreign direct investment inflows into Vietnam’s textile and garment industry mounted to 19.5 billion USD over the last three decades with the Republic of Korea (RoK) being the top investor. Foreign direct investment inflows into Vietnam’s textile and garment industry mounted to 19.5 billion USD over the last three decades with the Republic of Korea (RoK) being the top investor. Korean investors have injected roughly 4.8 billion USD to 464 projects in the sector. It is followed by Taiwan with nearly 3 billion and 132 projects, Hong Kong (2.4 billion USD, 147 projects), China (2.1 billion USD, 197 projects), and British Virgin Islands (1.6 billion USD, 70 projects). Major garment-textile producers from the RoK, Taiwan, Japan and other countries and territories have helped the domestic industry join in global supply chains and expand foreign markets, particularly the US and the EU, said Vu Duc Giang, Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS). FDI firms have played an important part in boosting the sector’s production capacity and exports. Last year, Vietnam’s garment-textile exports grew by 16.1 percent from a year earlier to over 36 billion USD, 65 percent of which came from FDI companies. The signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and Vietnam’s free trade agreements with the EU and Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which promise to cut taxes and further open market access to members, is expected to pave the way for more FDI to land in the industry. FDI should be prioritized in material producing projects to make Vietnam less dependent on imports.

Source: Vietnam Plus

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China small manufacturers’ rising exports to Africa help offset plunging sales to US amid trade war

Growing optimism is spreading among some small Chinese manufacturers in sectors ranging from car parts to textiles, as a spike in exports to countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative is starting to offset a portion of lost demand from the United States due to the trade war. Exporters say they have seen a sharp uptick in demand from nations involved in Beijing’s trademark foreign policy initiative, which aims to link Asia, Europe and Africa with a network of ports, motorways and railways. “Take the textile industry as an example, many export-oriented factories in Zhejiang that I know have doubled or even tripled their orders to the African market this year,” said Steve Xie, a textile exporter from the Chinese manufacturing hub, whose own business has seen a 40 per cent increase in orders. “Every textile factory in Haining and Yiwu city is talking because there have been a particularly large number of African buyers placing orders this year. The increase in orders from Nigeria and Ethiopia is huge.” Every textile factory in Haining and Yiwu city is talking because there have been a particularly large number of African buyers placing orders this year. The increase in orders from Nigeria and Ethiopia is huge Steve XieAfrica in particular has emerged as a fast growing market for Chinese goods, thanks in part to easy access to loans from Chinese banks. While orders from European and American buyers are often of higher value, companies were making up for it with quantity, Xie said. “We were once very worried about the impact of the US trade war on our exports,” the businessman said. “Now, although orders on the whole cannot be said to be completely balanced [with pre-trade war levels], the belt and road market, including the African market, can make up … up to about 70 per cent.” The total value of imports and exports between China and the 61 countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative was 6.65 trillion yuan (US$945 billion) in the first 10 months of this year, up 9.5 per cent, official data from China’s statistics agency showed. The figure accounted for 29 per cent of the value of China’s total foreign trade. China-US trade was worth 2.75 trillion yuan (US$390.9 billion) over the same period, down 10.3 per cent, accounting for about 12 per cent of China’s total trade value. The US and China, the world’s first and second largest economies, have been embroiled in a trade war for the past 17 months, slapping billions of dollars worth of tariffs on each other’s goods and disrupting global supply chains. The effects of the tariff battle, coupled with domestic headwinds, are weighing on the Chinese economy, which is growing at its slowest pace in nearly three decades. Still, many exporters like Jason Ding, who purchases car parts in bulk from factories in Dongguan city and ships them mainly to East Africa, have a new-found optimism because of growing sales to belt and road countries. “Because we are targeting the African market, we luckily avoided the impact of weak domestic demand and the trade war,” said the 36-year-old Ding who started his business in 2017. “In addition, our profits are benefiting from the yuan’s depreciation.” The company now has seven Chinese employees and 30 African employees. Between January and November this year, the company’s sales increased by 30 per cent to about 50 million yuan (US$7.1 million), and Ding conservatively estimates they will rise another 30 per cent next year. Last month, he expanded the size of their warehouse in Guangzhou from 500 to 2,000 square metres (21,528 sq ft). Now everyone is rushing to the belt and road market to cushion the decline in both the domestic and US markets due to the high cost of [US trade] tariffs and sharply weaker domestic consumption powerWang Wei Another car part exporter, Wang Wei, said: “Now everyone is rushing to the belt and road market to cushion the decline in both the domestic and US markets due to the high cost of [US trade] tariffs and sharply weaker domestic consumption power.” In 2014, amid China’s booming car sales market and rapidly rising logistics and transport industry, Wang and her husband invested 300 million yuan (US$42 million) to establish Beststone, a recycled tire factory in Dongguan. Sales totalled 120 million yuan (US$17 million) in 2016 – 99 per cent of which came from the mainland Chinese market. But in 2017 domestic demand began to shrink amid oversupply and sales slipped to 103 million yuan (US$14.6 million), and further again last year, Wang said. Increased sales to belt and road countries saved the firm, she added.  “Since May last year, we rushed to several developing countries to participate in exhibitions and contacted agents,” Wang said. “Our tires were sold in many countries in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. “They do not have the capacity to produce tires and are now very friendly with China. So in just six months, we exported 40,000 tires.” One key to rising sales in belt and road nations was cheap loans being offered by Chinese banks and financial institutes, said Xie, the textile exporter. “Now, as long as they import goods from China, even small and middle-sized African merchants can easily borrow money from Chinese banks, like the China Development Bank,” Xie said. “That means for buyers purchasing Chinese goods, the risk is so low. “They used to buy only one container a month, but now they can buy triple the amount in a month and then go back to Africa to sell with low capital risk.” China’s large-scale infrastructure investment in Africa has also helped business, cutting the cost of shipping to the continent from 80,000 yuan (US$11,300) per container to about 26,000 yuan (US$3,600), Ding said. But despite the growing trade ties, China needs to be alert to financial risks that could hinder trade with belt and road markets in the future, according to Liu Kaiming, head of the Shenzhen-based Institute of Contemporary Observation, which monitors working conditions and performance among hundreds of Chinese contract manufacturers. “We need to understand that trade is sustainable only if these developing countries have healthy economic growth and domestic consumer power.” he said. He added China’s rising debt burden could also bring uncertainty, undermining its ability to support such trade links in the future.

Source : South China post

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Denim shows in Japan, Vietnam & India in 2020

Denimsandjeans has recently announced the show dates of upcoming seasons for 2020. The Japan show, as already announced, will take place on March 4-5, and now the shows in Vietnam and India have been announced. The 5th edition of Vietnam show will be held in Ho Chi Minh City on May 28-29, while the 4th edition of India show will be held on July 8-9. Considering the encouraging feedback of last shows, organisers are expecting both the shows to be bigger and better. Vietnam has been becoming one of the most favourable and important sourcing destinations, especially for the US and EU buyers. Vietnam has signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Europe, which will create much greater interest from buyers in the EU. A large number of garment exporters are expected to join the Denimsandjeans show in 2020 as the show has gained more traction. Amid the trade war between China and the US, Vietnam has gained a lot as many buyers shifted their orders to Vietnam. In addition, many Chinese companies are setting up their units in Vietnam to avoid the trade war impact. The average growth of the apparel export of Vietnam in the last 10 years has been 14.6 per cent and it has become the fastest-growing apparel exporter in the world, according to WTO-UNCTAD estimates. Vietnam has currently about 6,000 garment related companies that employ 2.5 million people. These companies cumulatively exported $31 billion worth of clothing and textiles in 2017. As far as India is concerned, denim has been one of the apparel segments that has seen the maximum growth in the last decade. In the last ten years, the growth has been over 10 per cent per annum, making the country the second-largest consumer of denim after China. Though there has been a correction of late, but innovative products still command a premium in the Indian market. "Previous editions of both the shows were well received and the industry embraced these shows very well as both are focused and niche. The prime attraction of these shows has been the visits of decision-makers from domestic as well as international brands and the presence of almost all who matter in the industry. The knowledge sessions by international experts on important issues also create great interest among the professionals who seek to upgrade their knowledge," according to the organisers of these events. The registration is expected to be opened for the visitors by the end of first week of December.

Source: Fibre2Fashion

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Spinnova and Bergans launch circular textiles concept

Spinnova, the sustainable fibre company, and the sustainable outdoor brand Bergans have launched the Collection of Tomorrow, a fully circular, subscription-based takeback and reuse concept that’s “revolutionary in the apparel industry”. Even though the product development begun very recently, Spinnova and Bergans have already introduced their first prototype, a backpack, and are involving consumers in the R&D as co-owners of the fabric resource. A limited number of consumers can now subscribe to the Collection of Tomorrow and become test users for the backpack. Later in the product lifecycle, Bergans can take the item back, and Spinnova can turn the same fabric into new fibre, of which Bergans makes another, different kind of product for the subscriber. The future goal is to circulate the same resource – Spinnova fibre – many times over, avoiding the creation of virgin materials. Spinnova is currently studying how many times the post-consumer fibre can be reused in its process. The prototype backpack also includes other materials, all of natural origin; cellulose-based fibre lyocell, lamb wool and wood. There are no coating chemicals or plastic and metal accessories in the backpack, so the item can be put back into the cycle without dismantling.

Beginning of the journey

Spinnova and Bergans began their journey last summer, so the Finnish-Norwegian collaboration has really fast-tracked into a small batch of industrially made products, which are also the first industrially made products for Spinnova.  “This was a fast and very successful start.! We are so proud of the Bergans team’s open-minded attitude towards product development and brave co-creating with consumers at such an early stage. This will be a valuable, value-based long-term cooperation for us both,” commented Spinnova’s CEO Janne Poranen. “Innovation and development are all about thinking new and then bringing the ideas to life. It is in our nature to be impatient and eager to try new things. To me it seems that Spinnova is just as adventurous as us. Working with such a partner is liberating and, I think, absolutely imperative, if we are to achieve results,” said Bergans of Norway CEO Jan Tore Jensen.

Commitment to sustainability

Spinnova’s unique process can use FCS-certified wood or cellulosic waste streams, and unlike all other cellulose-based fibres, the method involves no dissolving, harmful chemicals or side streams. As the fibre’s chemical compound is the same as paper’s, the fibre is quickly biodegrading and sheds no microplastics, the company reports. Bergans is an innovative company that has already done pioneering work on sustainability with redesign, recycling, repair and renting services. Spinnova’s sustainable fibre is a great match with Bergans’ sustainable ambition for its material base. After successfully starting its pilot production line this year, Spinnova focuses on product development with brand owners, while making plans for commercial industrial scaling.

Source: Innovation in Textiles

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Agreement to raise cooperation between textile clusters in Europe

European textile gets stronger. EU-Textile2030, the European cluster of advanced textile materials, and Tex4im, the consortium that reviews the sector’s smart specialization strategy in Europe, have signed an agreement with the aim of strengthening cooperation between textile clusters in Europe. With this alliance the goal is to strengthen the capacity for innovation, business models, knowledge and the level of skills that will determine the future of the textile and clothing sector in Europe. In addition, the association also aims to consolidate competencies and alliances in strategic areas, as well as to prioritize the innovation and research agenda carried out by the ETP, the European textile technology platform. At the same time, the members of the EU-Textile2030 project have met in Lyon to present a new European organization of advanced textile materials. Ateval, CS-Pointex and Sachen! Textiles are members of the board of directors of the group. The purpose of this program is to consolidate a European cluster specialized in technical textiles, define a joint internationalization strategy and strengthen the competitiveness of medium and small-sized companies.

Source: The Global Journal

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Heimtextil creates sustainability strategy for Trend Space

Heimtextil together with its international Trend Council, has developed a material manifesto and thus chosen a new sustainable approach for conception of Trend Space. Heimtextil will be taking place in Frankfurt from January 7-10, 2020. Trend Space in hall 3.0, will offer an overview of the latest market developments and the Heimtextil trends for 20/21. The material manifesto will focus on 6 key principles: use of local resources, equipment and services; use of environmentally friendly material alternatives; use of existing stock components; use of rented and loaned materials; manage waste responsibly; design for recyclability. Through intelligent material choice, the Heimtextil team and their Trend Council have created an immersive forum with a minimal footprint. This means finding alternatives to new materials wherever possible, thus avoiding excess waste when the exhibition closes. The intention behind the Material Manifesto will be echoed in other installations within the Trend Space. One of five themes in the season’s offering, Pure Spiritual, will address a renewed bond with nature. In addition, the Trend Space will provide an overview of sustainable material innovations: A new material library, called ‘Future Materials Library’, will show progressive, sustainably produced materials. Here, visitors can explore the nature and production method of innovative materials. The focus will be on recycled fabrics and cultivated – living – textiles. More than 250 companies will be presenting sustainably produced textiles at Heimtextil. The Green Directory, a separate exhibitor index focusing on the theme of sustainability that will be published by Heimtextil for the tenth time in 2020, will list these companies and their product innovations. The number of companies included in the directory has increased considerably and is higher than ever before. In addition, the Green Tours and the Green Village in hall 12.0 will provide answers for all questions relating to green issues. Seal providers and certifiers are among those introducing themselves and offering companies their support in acting more sustainably. The United Nations will also present its Sustainable Development Goals for the first time.

Source : Fibre2fashion

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