MARKET WATCH 14 JAN, 2020

NATIONAL

INTERNATIONAL

Government may address inverted duty structure in Budget

To boost manufacturing as part of the 'Make In India' campaign, the government is expected to address the issue of inverted duty structure, especially in sectors such as chemicals and electronics, in the forthcoming Budget, sources said. Inverted duty structure refers to taxation of inputs at higher rates than finished products that results in build-up of credits and cascading costs. Industry has been demanding that government should remove the anomalies with regard to taxation of raw material and other inputs, the sources said. The commerce and industry ministry has proposed to the finance ministry to address the inverted duty structure on several products such as consoles, panels, certain steel products, calcined alumina, ethyl acetate, and viscose staple fibre, they added. Inverted duty structure impacts the domestic industry adversely as manufacturers have to pay a higher price for raw material in terms of duty, while the finished product lands at lower duty and cost. Further, concessions given by India under free trade agreements to its partner countries has also resulted in inverted duty structure that makes Indian manufactured goods (those dependent on imported raw materials) uncompetitive in domestic market. India has implemented FTAs with many countries including Japan, South Korea and Singapore, and is in discussion with several other nations. The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) growth during April-November period of the current fiscal came in at 0.6 per cent, down from 5 per cent in the same period of 2018-19.

Source: Economic Times

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Budget may make faking input tax non-bailable crime for buyers too

The government is likely to make fraudulent claims for input tax credit a nonbailable offence in the hands of recipients of goods and services in the February 1 budget by tightening the GST law, as it seeks to plug leakages. CXOs, directors or employees directly responsible for making such claims can also be penalised as per the proposed changes aimed at tackling evasion. “Changes are being proposed to the law to plug issues related to fraud input tax credit,” said a government official. The threshold of Rs 5 crore will apply for the offence being treated as bailable; beyond that it will be non-bailable. The provision already applies to suppliers of goods and services.

GST Council has Okayed Changes

The provision is now proposed to be expanded to include recipients found guilty of colluding in such fraud, said the person. The proposed amendments to Sections 122 and 132 of the GST Act have been endorsed by the law committee and the GST Council, the apex decision-making body for the tax. Current provisions don’t have specific measures to deal with such tax evasion. “A value-added tax like GST should have explicit penalties to deal with cases where active collusion results in input tax credit frauds,” said MS Mani, partner, Deloitte India. “Such cases by a small community of taxpayers lead to increasing compliance and procedural requirements on all taxpayers.” Another official said the government has come to the view that beneficiaries of such fraudulent claims, usually made through dummy companies, should be penalised commensurately. The authorities have registered several cases in which input tax credit has been claimed without supporting invoices or receipt of goods or services. A clear provision in the law will provide a framework for dealing with such cases, the second official said. An official said the names of daily wage earners such as rickshaw pullers and others are being used to open multiple firms that issue invoices without supply of goods or services to pass on input tax credit. Those who orchestrate such frauds also arrange for actual suppliers of goods or services to whom these invoices will be sold on payment of an agreed amount of money. These suppliers then utilise this credit to either discharge their GST liability or claim refunds of duty paid on export of overvalued goods, the official said. The GST Council has also endorsed changes to Section 49 of the GST Act empowering officials to block credit in the case of fraud. This will also be introduced in the budget. Experts said the changes will need to be elaborated upon to avoid confusion. “While there is a need to have legislative recourse to prevent such instances, it’s important that government issues detailed guidelines as to how and when these provisions have to be Another official said the government has come to the view that beneficiaries of such fraudulent claims, usually made through dummy companies, should be penalised commensurately. The authorities have registered several cases in which input tax credit has been claimed without supporting invoices or receipt of goods or services. A clear provision in the law will provide a framework for dealing with such cases, the second official said. An official said the names of daily wage earners such as rickshaw pullers and others are being used to open multiple firms that issue invoices without supply of goods or services to pass on input tax credit. Those who orchestrate such frauds also arrange for actual suppliers of goods or services to whom these invoices will be sold on payment of an agreed amount of money. These suppliers then utilise this credit to either discharge their GST liability or claim refunds of duty paid on export of overvalued goods, the official said. The GST Council has also endorsed changes to Section 49 of the GST Act empowering officials to block credit in the case of fraud. This will also be introduced in the budget. Experts said the changes will need to be elaborated upon to avoid confusion. “While there is a need to have legislative recourse to prevent such instances, it’s important that government issues detailed guidelines as to how and when these provisions have to be invoked so that possibility of misuse can be minimised,” said Pratik Jain, indirect tax leader, PwC.

Source: Economic Times

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Govt invites proposals to study Japan''s textile, apparel industry

The government has invited proposals from consulting firms to undertake a study on Japan''s textile and apparel industry to boost domestic exports and enhance mutual collaboration. The selected firm will assess areas of partnerships that can be explored between India and Japan. It will also analyse various trade agreements signed by Japan, including the comprehensive economic partnership pact (CEPA) with India, tariff preferences received from major trading partners, its most traded products globally -- including in bilateral trade with India, tariff and non-tariff measures faced by Indian exporters, among others. The proposed study will include aspects such as size and structure of industry, major units, role of Japanese importing conglomerates, trends in production (apparel & textiles), size of the domestic market, domestic consumption patterns, contribution of the sector to the Japanese economy, size of domestic textile machinery manufacturing, areas of partnerships that can be explored with India in the machinery segment etc, the Textiles Ministry said in the Request for Proposal.

Source: The Outlook India

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Data analytics to curb fake input tax credit claims

The Department of Revenue has asked the GST data analysis wing to scrutinise all past and pending refund claims country wide for inverted duty structure, after 931 cases of fraudulent claims were identified using data analytics. Revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey is reviewing the matter of fraud input tax credit (ITC) claims on a weekly basis, a government official said, adding that the department will verify and scrutinise taxpayers that have purchased goods from tax evading non-filers. The direction has been issued to curtail ITC frauds at a time when the government wants to reach tax collection targets of Rs 4.45 lakh crore for the period between December 2019 and March 2020. The move assumes significance since refunds of over Rs 28,000 crore have been filed by over 27,000 taxpayers so far, on account of inverted duty structure in 2019-20. “Data analytics will be used to look at all refunds since 2017 with the aim to weed out unscrupulous refund claimants or fly-by-night/shell business entities and their modus operandi for availing fake ITC,” the official said. Data analytics has been used to zero in on fraudulent GST refund claims on many occasions across the country, examples of which were discussed during the second national conference on GST last week, and allowed authorities to identify a few exporters with ‘star’ status—untraceable at their registered addresses—that were fraudulently availing IGST refund through fake invoicing. The official said GST authorities have booked 6,641cases involving 7,164 entities till November 2019 and have recovered around Rs 1,057 crore. Most cases are from the Kolkata zone followed by Delhi, Jaipur and Panchkula (Haryana). Data analytics was used to unearth a fraud encashment of ITC credits in Delhi where a network of over 500 entities was created comprising fake billers, intermediary dealers, distributors and bogus manufacturers of hawai chappals. The bogus ‘manufacturers’ created in Uttarakhand were making supplies to other fictitious entities and retailers in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Source: Economic Times

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Goa gets standing committee for MSMEs to monitor, reform sector

In a bid to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the state, the Goa government has constituted a state-level standing committee on MSMEs that will not only monitor all initiatives, but also recommend reforms for the sector. MSMEs in Goa said issues concerning Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunds, access to finance, and delayed release of payments by government bodies continue to dog the sector, which contributes 28.8% to the national GDP. The state-level standing committee will be chaired by chief secretary Parimal Rai with secretaries of finance, labour, factories and boilers, transport, law, revenue, agriculture and industries departments making up the members. Chairman of National Council of MSME, Assocham, Manguirish Pai Raikar, who recently met Union minister of commerce Piyush Goyal, discussed some of these issues with the Centre and requested the Centre to resolve the problems faced by the sector. “A common grievance of MSME sector is delayed payment for goods or services delivered from clients, which includes government departments and public sector undertakings. The GST refunds have also been delayed for over six months and this leads to a liquidity crunch for MSMEs,” Raikar said. He further said that banks also hesitate to disburse loans to both existing and new MSMEs and thus the lack of finance prevents MSMEs from expanding operations and could also result in loan defaults. State government officials said that the standing committee will try and address some of these issues by discussing it with the Reserve Bank of India, whose deputy general manager will serve on the state-level standing committee. Raikar said that government officials, who create road blocks and harass entrepreneurs, need to change their attitudes. “It is not only the ease of doing business that is important, but there is a dire need of improving the system to have ease of running the business,” Raikar told TOI. Raikar has also raised these issues with the Union minister and high-level officials of the central government, including finance, industry, commerce, textiles, railways, corporate affairs, labour and others.

Source: Times of India

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India's textile and apparel exports to reach $300 bn by FY25: Invest India

The textiles and apparel industry contributes 2.3 per cent to India's GDP and accounts for 13 per cent of industrial production, and 12 per cent of the country's export earnings. India's textile and apparel exports are expected to touch $300 billion by 2024-25, resulting in a tripling of the country's market share globally from 5 per cent to 15 per cent, according Invest India, the national investment promotion and facilitation agency. The domestic textile and apparel industry including handicrafts stood at $140 billion in 2018, of which $100 billion was domestically consumed while the remaining portion worth $40 billion was exported to the world market. The textile and garments industry in India is expected to reach $223 billion by 2021. The textiles and apparel industry contributes 2.3 per cent to India's GDP and accounts for 13 per cent of industrial production, and 12 per cent of the country's export earnings. It is the second-largest employer in the country providing employment to 45 million people at present, and this number is expected to rise to 55 million people by the end of 2020. FDI in the textiles and apparel industry stood at $3.1 billion during 2018-19. India is the largest producer of cotton and jute in the world, and the second largest producer of polyester, silk and fibre. Invest India, set up in 2009, is a non-profit venture under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

Source: Money Control

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Rupee extends gains by 8 paise to 70.86 against US dollar

The rupee rose 8 paise to settle at 70.86 against the US dollar on Monday as investor sentiment strengthened amid positive global cues and gains in domestic equity market. This is the fifth straight session of gains for the domestic currency, during which it has appreciated by 106 paise. At the interbank foreign exchange market, the local unit opened on a strong note at 70.82, and shuttled between a high of 70.75 and a low of 70.93 during the day. It finally closed at 70.86, higher by 8 paise over its previous close. The rupee had settled at 70.94 against the US dollar on Friday. "Rupee continued to trend higher against the US dollar following extended gains in domestic equities and on back of de-escalation of geopolitical tension between US and Iran," said Gaurang Somaiyaa, Forex & Bullion Analyst, Motilal Oswal Financial Services. Somaiyaa further noted that on the domestic front, market participants will be keeping an eye on the inflation number and an uptick could keep gains capped for the currency.

Source: Money Control

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SIMA urges Union textile minister to intervene in cotton trading policies of CCI

The Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) has urged the Union textile minister Smriti Zubin Irani to intervene in the cotton trading policies of Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) and direct CCI to avoid holding the cotton and sell the cotton at market price on a regular basis to arrest price escalation. Mr Ashwin Chandran, chairman, SIMA has stated that as US-China trade war is likely to end and also China had depleted its cotton reserves significantly during the last few years, China has geared up to import huge volume of cotton from USA and India. Chandran has said that as per the market information, over 20 lakh bales of cotton have already been exported from the current cotton crop and export might reach the level of 60 lakh bales as against 50 lakh bales estimated by CAB. If the same trend continues, it may result in panic situation in the Indian cotton market. SIMA chief has urged the Union textile minister to instruct CCI to sell the cotton at market price so that the spinning mills could procure the cotton at a competitive price. He added that mills are not able to source cotton from CCI as the price quoted by CCI is exorbitantly high when compared to the market price quoting Rs.46,000/- as the base price as against the market price of Rs.40,000/- per candy of 355 kgs. Mr Ashwin has pointed out that industry friendly cotton trading policy by CCI would not only facilitate to mitigate the current challenges, but also would enable the industry to grab the market opportunities in the aftermath of US-China holding talks to end the trade war shortly. The predominantly cotton based Indian textile industry often faces crisis due to volatility in cotton prices. Apart from the multinational cotton traders, who cover cotton in large volume during peak season, hoard the cotton and speculate the prices, the cotton trading policy of Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) also often aggravates the market. Soon after assuming charge, the Union textile minister has revamped the CCI cotton trading policy and brought uniformity in the benefits extended by CCI irrespective of volume to protect the interests of MSME spinning units. However, the CCI continues the practice of holding the cotton in large volume and quoting higher price than the actual market price that affects the competitiveness of the actual user industry. The Minimum Support Price (MSP) was steeply increased by 26% to 28%, CCI had to exercise MSP operation during the current season. The Government allotted Rs.2017 crores in the Union Budget 2019-20 to exercise MSP operation. As the kapas price per quintal varies between Rs.4700/- and Rs.5250/- per quintal depending upon the quality and MSP is fixed at Rs.5550/- per quintal, CCI is covering around 50% of the cotton that arrives the market under MSP operation. Though CCI started the procurement during November, it has started the offer only during the last week after accumulating over 35 lakh bales of cotton and quoting very high price than the actual market price.

Source: Economic Times

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Global Textile Raw Material Price 14-01-2020

Item

Price

Unit

Fluctuation

Date

PSF

1026.25

USD/Ton

-0.70%

1/14/2020

VSF

1377.03

USD/Ton

0.21%

1/14/2020

ASF

2029.30

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

Polyester    POY

1040.74

USD/Ton

-0.55%

1/14/2020

Nylon    FDY

2232.23

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

40D    Spandex

4160.07

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

Nylon    POY

2464.15

USD/Ton

0.59%

1/14/2020

Acrylic    Top 3D

5435.63

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

Polyester    FDY

1297.30

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

Nylon    DTY

2051.04

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

Viscose    Long Filament

2217.74

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

Polyester    DTY

1195.84

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

30S    Spun Rayon Yarn

2022.05

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

32S    Polyester Yarn

1652.43

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

45S    T/C Yarn

2435.16

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

40S    Rayon Yarn

1797.38

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

T/R    Yarn 65/35 32S

2232.23

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

45S    Polyester Yarn

2188.75

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

T/C    Yarn 65/35 32S

1956.83

USD/Ton

0%

1/14/2020

10S    Denim Fabric

1.28

USD/Meter

0%

1/14/2020

32S    Twill Fabric

0.70

USD/Meter

0%

1/14/2020

40S    Combed Poplin

0.98

USD/Meter

0%

1/14/2020

30S    Rayon Fabric

0.54

USD/Meter

0%

1/14/2020

45S    T/C Fabric

0.68

USD/Meter

0%

1/14/2020

Source: Global Textiles

Note: The above prices are Chinese Price (1 CNY = 0.14495 USD dtd. 14/01/2020). The prices given above are as quoted from Global Textiles.com.  SRTEPC is not responsible for the correctness of the same.

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Pakistan: A deeper look into textile industry’s proposals

It is very common for the textile industry to make its proposals for the consideration of government authorities almost on a regular basis. In a recent meeting with the Prime Minister in Islamabad, a delegation of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) reportedly told the Prime Minister that the production cycle of their industry requires 185 days to complete and the FBR collects sales tax on value-added items at each stage but the refunds are only available after exports. In this way, the FBR is overstating its revenues by Rs 22 billion per month which are actually refundable. Rs 108 billion was collected by the FBR during the first five months of FY20, out of which only Rs 15 billion was refunded, putting the industry in extreme distress. Continuation of energy package should be guaranteed for another five years, under which the export industry is being extended power tariff of 7.5 cents per unit and gas tariff at 6.5 per MMBTU. A decrease in cotton production and imprudent government policies have taken a heavy toll on cotton production which has decreased from 13.86 million bales to around 8.5 million bales this year. The textile industry will have to import in the ongoing financial year five million bales to meet the requirements. Pakistani textile industry has also been facing financial constraints over the last decade which has led to a fall in exports, decreased industrial production and low investment in the sector. Over the last one year, interest rates have been increased from 5.75 percent to 13.25 percent. It is also suggested that public-private collaboration is required to acquire advanced seed R&D technology for quality seed development and effective control on weeds and insects. A closer look at the textile industry's proposals would reveal that there is hardly anything new in their pleas and their representatives continue to push their case on the same old lines, concentrating on seeking the attention of the government authorities on the withdrawal of zero-rating status of export-oriented sectors, high energy and interest costs and cotton shortages in the country. It may be mentioned here that some of the suggestions are worth consideration to be implemented while others may not be implementable under the current situation of the economy. Coming to individual proposals, APTMA is quite right in complaining about the inordinate delays in the settlement of refund claims which continue to be delayed to show a better picture of the government finances but adversely affects the liquidity position of various enterprises. The figures stated by APTMA about the liquidity withheld by the FBR appear to be quite high but even if they are small, it is the government's duty to refund the claims in time. It must be remembered that owing to this fact, textile industry is unable to create employment and meet export orders to the desired extent. As such, the government needs to consider either the restoration of the textile industry's zero-rating status or to disburse refunds immediately. It is also correct that cotton production has witnessed a huge drop in the country, necessitating import of about 5 million bales at a huge cost to the foreign exchange reserves held by the SBP. Cotton production within the country needs to be enhanced to about 14 million bales to meet the domestic requirements of the textile industry and earn huge foreign exchange. All steps including an increase in acreage under cotton crop, quality seed development and removal of weeds and eliminating of insects need to be adopted in this connection. So far as extending the energy package for another five years is concerned, the approval of such a policy package is difficult at this stage as it would either involve a huge amount of subsidy from the budget or a further increase in energy costs for other consumers. Both these options would increase the amount of subsidy in the budget or burden the domestic consumers further. Given the present political climate and the problems of the common man, such a proposal is, therefore, not justifiable. Also, APTMA continues to harp on the theme of lowering the interest rates which is not possible due to high inflation rate in the country at the moment and the EFF agreement with the Fund which stipulates a stringent monetary policy to stabilise the economy. Anyhow, we are surprised to see that APTMA and other lobbies continue to request the government to decrease the interest rates when this subject falls exclusively within the domain of the SBP which is autonomous in making monetary and credit decisions. The problem with this approach is that multilateral institutions would be constrained to think that monetary policy decisions are still framed in Islamabad rather than in Karachi despite the grant of autonomous status to the central bank. Finally, it is strange to see that APTMA is not appreciative of the relief given to the export sector in the form of massive devaluation of the rupee and other concessions.

Source: Business Recorder

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US-China deal: In phase-1, Beijing to buy products worth $200 bn over 2 yrs

Describing it as a "historic transaction", Mnuchin said further talks would be held for the remaining phases. China’s purchase of $200 billion worth of additional American products over a period of two years is part of the phase one trade deal with Beijing, the US has said, as the world's two top economic powers look forward to end their bitter two-year tariff war this week. US President Donald Trump has announced last week that the US will sign the first phase of a pending trade deal with China “probably” on January 15. “We're signing, as you know, a very big deal among many other things with China...probably on January 15," Trump told reporters at a White House event. China’s commerce ministry on Thursday last confirmed that Vice Premier Liu will be in the US capital from Monday to Wednesday to sign the “Phase One” trade deal with the US. The phase one deal signals a de-escalation in a trade war pitting the two most powerful economic giants against each other for nearly two years. The phase one of the trade deal with China includes the country buying $200 billion worth of additional American products, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday. In an interview to ABC News, he said, "It is USD 200 billion of additional products across the board over the next two years, and, specifically, in agriculture, USD 40 billion to USD 50 billion." "This is a big opportunity for our farmers. I think some people have questioned whether they can produce it. The president said they are going to go out and buy more land and produce plenty of agriculture (products)," he said in response to a question. Describing it as a "historic transaction", Mnuchin said further talks would be held for the remaining phases. "As we have said, there will be a phase two. But this is the first time we have had a comprehensive agreement with China on technology issues, agricultural issues, financial services, purchases, and has a real enforcement mechanism. So this is a big win for the president," he asserted. Mnuchin said the first phase of the trade deal includes real enforcement provision. "If they don't comply with the agreement, the president retains the authority to put on tariffs, both existing tariffs and additional tariffs," he said, The language of the trade deal, he said, will be released this week.

Source: Business Standard

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Mandalay to boost traditional textile and weaving industry

The government is set to boost the region textile and weaving industry with the drafting of a strategy aimed at modernizing the sector, an official of a local textile association said. Daw Myint Myint Than, vice chair of the Mandalay Textile and Weaving Manufacturers Association, said two meetings have been held with the Ministry of Commerce, Mandalay Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry and local textile and weaving manufacturers association. Another meeting is scheduled in next month or in March to flesh out the strategy with the aim of coming out with a law and necessary policies for local textile and weaving businesses, she added. “At present, local silk and cotton wear manufacturing is facing difficulties due to competitive market and importation of textiles imported from abroad,” Daw Myint Myint Than said. “Imported textiles are made with printed patterns and copied designs and the price is cheap,” she added. “We can’t stop them so we need a protection. We have told officials that our local designs need to be protected by copyright law.” Daw Myint Myint Than said aside from cheap imported textiles flooding the market, local weavers and textile manufacturers also face difficulties in accessing loans with low interest rates, shortage of raw materials and lack of modern production technology. U Min Swe, secretary of Textile and Loom Association (Mandalay), said his group is supporting the move to come up with a comprehensive strategy to develop the industry. “We’ll submit it to the parliament so we can establish a policy through a strategic plan,” he said. We will start the processes this year. Textile and Loom Association (Mandalay) has around 700 members. We’ll do our best on behalf of all the members.”

Source: Myanmar Times

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Chinese startup brings AI to the apparel industry

Chinese startup HeartDub has developed technology to provide virtual fabric samples to clothing manufacturers. The company says the technology, which uses artificial intelligence-based software, cuts product development costs and streamlines the production process. HeartDub was founded in 2018. Its key technology gathers data on textile materials and digitizes the production process, using the software to create virtual fabrics that mimic the properties of the real thing. The startup aims to digitize logistics in the apparel industry and provide online solutions for the development and selection of textile materials, and production of clothing samples. HeartDub's platform comprises a materials database, design images and simulated images of clothes worn by virtual models. The database contains information on various fabrics, patterns and colors. Designs are created by combining them, and the digital clothes put on a virtual model programmed to make various body movements to show how they would look in real life. Li Ruohao, the company's chief technology officer, explains that virtual fabric-making starts with analyzing the structure of actual fabrics and inputting the data into the software, called a "physics-engine," to simulate a fabric's physical properties. HeartDub's laboratory already has extensive data on frequently used fabrics. The characteristics of these virtual fabrics correspond to those in the real world. allowing their texture, weight and movements to be accurately simulated. The startup's main clients are fabric makers and fashion brands. Manufacturers upload newly developed textiles to the platform. Fashion labels then select the texture, pattern, and design online. After examining how the clothing looks on virtual models, they decide whether to purchase the fabric. The digital presentation platform helps sharply lower the cost of developing and designing fabrics. The conventional method involves manufacturers creating fabrics, making samples and displaying them at trade shows, or sending them to apparel companies. The buyer then looks at the samples and decides whether to purchase the fabric. Then the fashion company makes samples of the finished clothing, presents them to buyers and waits for orders. Only after orders come in, can manufacturers determine which fabrics to buy and how much. According to Lu Jianping of Tianyi Textile, a Chinese fabric maker, textile manufacturers introduce 50 to 100 new products a year and create 500-meter-long samples for each. This means they spend roughly 5 million yuan ($730,000) annually on product development. But only around 20% of these products generate purchase orders. Also, only about 20% of sample clothes make it to retailers. HeartDub's Li said the company's digital platform allows fabric makers to complete the steps up to preorder presentation at no cost, thereby cutting their overall development cost by about half. Fashion brands also need to make fewer samples clothing because they can see how they will look, thanks to the virtual models. Production costs can be cut by 70% and sample delivery time is shortened by 90%, Li said. HeartDub mostly offers basic designs at present. The company plans to team up with fashion-design software developers to make its platform compatible with any type of design. Once it has enough data, it hopes to ask fashion houses to provide designs that will let consumers use virtual models to buy clothes directly from them. HeartDub also hopes to involve consumers in the process of fabric development to reflect their feedback, which would make the process more efficient and further reduce the cost of making samples. Virtual fashion shows will provide an opportunity for businesses to showcase new products, helping transform the apparel industry into a digital one with the potential for sustainable growth. Li also disclosed plans by HeartDub to launch its own brand in the future. The company provides services mostly to business clients and offers either flat-rate annual fees or piecework rates, depending on volume. It is currently in talks with fabric makers with annual sales of around 1 billion yuan. HeartDub's technology team was launched in Seattle in 2013 by graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They previously worked in fields ranging from software operating systems, to semiconductors, to clinical medicine. The team believes its technology can be applied to videos, games and entertainment, in addition to apparel. HeartDub said it is working to secure financing with a pre-series A round.

Source: NIKKEI Asian Review

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Lenzing to reduce carbon dioxide footprint by half by 2030

Lenzing is committed to reduce its carbon dioxide footprint by half by 2030 and has a vision to become a carbon dioxide-neutral group of companies by 2050, according to Erwin Kuebel, president of Lenzing Fibres Inc. (LFI). He said this when two top US government officials dealing with textiles recently visited the company’s facility in Axis, Alabama. National Council of Textile Organisations (NCTO) member LFI hosted Bill Jackson, assistant US trade representative for textiles at the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office, and Lloyd Wood, deputy assistant secretary for textiles, consumers goods and materials at the US commerce department for a plant tour and broad discussion on the company’s commitment to US investment and the administration’s key trade and investment priorities, according to an NCTO press release. The main focus of the discussion focussed on maintaining the competitiveness of the US textile industry through policies designed to encourage on-shoring, boost exports and support ‘Made in USA’ provisions, particularly the critical Berry Amendment. Jackson also briefed on the pending US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Source: Fibre2Fashion

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