MARKET WATCH 14 FEB, 2020

NATIONAL

INTERNATIONAL

Textile Secretary urges industry to focus on MMF sector

Textile and clothing industry should tap opportunities in the man-made fibre (MMF) sector, Ravi Capoor, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, said here on Wednesday. The Secretary was on a two-day visit to Coimbatore. On Thursday he visited Texvalley in Erode. Addressing the textile and clothing industry representatives, in a meeting organised by Confederation of Indian Textile Industry on Wednesday, Mr. Capoor said India is pushed to the fifth position in global textile trade though earlier it was in the second position. The textile industry should grab opportunities in the polyester sector and the garment cluster of Tiruppur should take steps to brand the garments and products produced there. Representatives of as many as 48 textile associations in south India and the textile export promotion councils interacted with the Secretary at the meeting. T. Rajkumar, chairman of CITI, said in a press release that the government is expected to announce schemes to develop textile parks for technical textiles and textile machinery manufacturing to promote import substitution products. The government is also exploring the possibilities of setting up research and development centres for each segment of the textile industry. On Thursday, the Secretary visited the Centres of Excellence for Industrial Textiles and Medical Textiles at PSG Institute of Technology and Applied Research and South India Textile Research Association respectively. He also held meetings here with members of Indian Texpreneurs Federation (ITF) and South India Spinners’ Association. At the meeting with ITF, he urged the participants to focus on emerging sectors in the textile value chain. The members of South India Spinners’ Association sought efforts to improve the quality and yield of Indian cotton . The Cotton Corporation of India should sell the cotton it procured at Minimum Support Price at the market price, they said.

Source: The Hindu

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Indian technical textile industry to witness exponential growth: Irani

The National Mission on Technical Textiles (NMTT) announced during the budget is going to be a re-energizer for the Indian Textile Industry and particularly the Man-Made Fibre (MMF) sector stated Mrs. Smriti Zubin Irani Minister of Textiles here. Addressing the Export Award Function organized by Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council (SRTEPC) she informed that the Rs.1480 crore mission is the first mission for technical textiles that has been announced by the government to make a concerted effort to ensure that research independent of government is undertaken and will completely focus on the technical textile segment. This also help the Man-Made industry grow by Rs. 30 000 crore Mrs. Irani added. One of the outcomes of this mission Textile Minister said will be that Made-in-India technical textile products will meet the needs of the growing Indian economy. The Prime Minister has announced the national Jal-Jeevan Mission i.e. the making of ponds lakes and water bodies in our country and has allocated a budget of 3.6 lakh crores for the same. Given the amount of services that can be given under technical textiles by the MMF industry for this particular project it is a new opportunity which needs to be seized and benefitted from’ opined Mrs. Irani The negative trade balance in technical textile Textile Minister said has been reduced by 50 percent and imports have been reduced by 20 percent in high value components which means that we are ready to be a be a resurgent player in the global technical textile arena. She further added that there are many international players around the globe who are not aware of our potential to export and they only primarily focus on India as a consumer market. SRTEPC has been invited to a meeting in Textile Ministry to ensure that we reach out to top 10 markets that the industry deems fit so that the MMF industry leaders along with Technical Textile leaders will undertake a mission to promote and reach out to foreign investors and the Ministry will call on all embassies which are functional in India to make them aware of the opportunities and solutions that the Indian Textile Industry has to offer for their home country he informed. On a different note Mrs. Irani said that the Ministry of Textiles in conjunction with SRTEPC have been following up the pertinent issue of the inverted duty structure faced by the MMF industry with the Ministry of Finance. The issue was also raised by the Finance minister during her budget speech and she has assured the parliament that she will take up the issue with the help of the GST council Textile Minister said.

Source: Tecoya Trend

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New national textile policy will address all issues, says secy Ravi Capoor

The Central government would address all issues in its new National Textile Policy which is likely to be announced in a couple of months, Union Textile Secretary Ravi Capoor has said. This was announced on Wednesday during an interactive session with captains of the textile industry in the region. Capoor said the policy would ensure basic raw materials availability at international price and encourage scale-up of operation by developing 10 mega textile parks with over 1,000 acres of land closer to the ports, among others. The new policy would address power cost, credit cost and its availability and expedite conclusion of the free trade agreements with EU, the UK and other countries to boost exports, a press release from the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI), which organised the session, quoted Capoor as saying. He exhorted the textile industry, especially in Tamil Nadu, to diversify into polyester segment to boost exports. The global textiles market of cotton and man-made fibre is in the ratio of 30:70 while it was the reverse in India. Of the total textile exports, cotton textiles accounted 80 per cent due to the price advantage of the home- grown cotton, while it is only 20 per cent in the man-made fibre segments due to the expensive raw material. Capoor asked Tirupur Knitwear Cluster to brand its garments and products under sustainable programme that might fetch a larger margin globally and the government would extend necessary support to promote the brand. CITI chairman T Rajkumar said the government has identified the textile industry as the thrust area and in real terms Make in India facilities without any imports right from fibre to finished goods, ensures inclusive growth by providing jobs.

Source: Business Standard

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12 sunshine sectors to be in now govt says will focus on these to boost exports

"We are now focusing our energies on about 12 or 13 sectors, where we believe India has a competitive edge, to be able to export more," Goyal said. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said they are focusing on 12-13 sectors such as textiles where India has a competitive edge to boost exports. He said that exports grow when there is both comparative and competitive edge on different sectors. “We are now focusing our energies on about 12 or 13 sectors, where we believe India has a competitive edge, to be able to export more,” Goyal said. Citing an example of man-made textiles, he said the government is putting attention as over the years, India has always focused on cotton textiles, whereas the world has moved on to man-made textiles. “We have now brought our attention to see how we can have an orderly growth of man-made textiles industry,” he said. Goyal said he has told the textiles sector people that it has the potential to increase exports to USD 100 billion in the next 10 years from the current level of about USD 37 billion. “So, we are working in a very focused manner,” he said, adding services sector exports are recording healthy growth rates. India’s exports dropped by 1.8 per cent to USD 27.36 billion in December 2019, the fifth straight month of contraction, on account of a significant fall in shipments of plastic, gems and jewellery, leather products and chemicals. During April-December 2019-20, exports were down 1.96 per cent at USD 239.29 billion while imports contracted by 8.9 per cent to USD 357.39 billion. When asked why India is entering into the phase of protectionism, the commerce minister said protection is necessary where the country has domestic capacity. He said that such practices also become evident when there is an unfair competition or high domestic cost of production. “Also we are conscious that some countries give subsidies both open and opaque, due to which import sometimes become very attractive and therefore certain degree of protection is required for our domestic industry,” he said here at the Times Now Summit. The government has raised import duties on several products in the Budget and has also imposed import restrictions.

Source: Financial Express

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Diversify to Polyester Textile Products – Advises Secretary (Textiles)

New Delhi, Thursday, 13th February 2020: Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI), the National apex body for the textiles & clothing industry across the Nation, organized an interactive meeting with Shri Ravi Capoor, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India with the office-bearers of 48 textile Associations in South India representing the entire textile value chain, on 12th February 2020, in Hotel Le-Meridien, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The office-bearers / representatives of other National apex bodies such as AEPC, TEXPROCIL, PDEXCIL, SRTEPC, AMFII also participated in the above interactive meeting. Mr. Nihar Ranjan Dash, Joint Secretary (SAMARTH) also participated in the interactive meeting. The Indian textile & clothing industry has been facing severe challenges in the aftermath of demonetization, GST implementation, global economic slowdown, US-China trade war and recently, the Coronavirus outbreak in China. Though, there has been a steady growth in the domestic market, the exports have got stagnated, rather there is 4% negative growth during the last four years. China has not only cut down its production of textile products but has also started outsourcing thus created a huge space in the international market. This opportunity has been fully exploited by small countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam, etc., and has pushed back India into the 5th position in the global textile trade from the 2nd position that it had been retaining for several years. The global textile market of cotton and man-made fibre is in the ratio of 30:70 while it is reverse in India. In the total Indian textile exports, cotton textiles accounts for 80% due to the price advantage of the home-grown cotton, while it is only 20% in the manmade fibre segment due to expensive raw material price. The indigenous man-made fibres especially polyester fibre, the future engine of growth have been expensive due to the anti-dumping duty levied on basic raw materials especially Purified Terephthalic Acid  (PTA). In the recent Union Budget announcement, the Government took a bold step and abolished anti-dumping duty on PTA thus, creating a level playing field for the MMF Sector. PTA accounts for 70% of the raw material to produce the polyester fibre. Anti-dumping duty on PTA varies from US$ 27 to US$160 per metric tonne. Mr. T. Rajkumar, Chairman, CITI stated that around 200 industrialists representing the entire textile value chain from Southern India and the members of the National Committee for Textiles & Clothing (NCTC) attended the above interactive meeting. Mr. Rajkumar thanked the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Hon’ble Union Minister for Textiles and the Secretary (Textiles) for the bold decision of removing anti-dumping duty levied on PTA. He said that this initiative has enabled the indigenous fibre and filament manufacturers to reduce the price considerably. Mr. Rajkumar also stated that the country has been suffering with surplus production capacities across the value chain created during the last four years with huge investments that could be utilized for polyester textile manufacturers. The Secretary (Textiles) in his address strongly advised the textile industry of Tamil Nadu to grab the opportunities by diversifying into polyester segment to boost exports. He appreciated the sustainable initiatives taken by the Tirupur and Coimbatore by implementing zero liquid discharge to protect the environment, predominantly using non-conventional energy to avoid carbon foot print, apart from complying with various labour and other social statutes. He advised Tirupur Knitwear Cluster to brand its garments and products under sustainable programme that might fetch them larger margin globally and the Government would extend all necessary support to promote the brand. The Secretary (Textiles) also indicated that the Government would address all the structural issues in its new National Textile Policy that might be announced in a couple of months by making the basic raw materials available at international price, encourage scale of operation by developing 10 mega textile parks with over 1000 acres of land closer to the ports, giving plug and play facilities including the necessary safeguard measures in the labour laws. The Secretary (Textiles) also indicated addressing the power cost, credit cost and its availability. The government would also make efforts to expedite conclusion of FTAs with EU, UK and Bangladesh along with other countries to boost the exports. Mr. T. Rajkumar stated that the Government has identified the textile industry as the thrust area and in real terms encourages “Make in India” initiative as without any imports right from fibre to finished goods, ensures inclusive growth by providing jobs to all skill levels especially the rural masses and women folks. Mr. Rajkumar observed that the Government would also announce a Scheme to set up dedicated textile parks for technical textiles, textile machinery manufacturing with the state-of-the-art technology spares, accessories, parts to promote import substitution thereby reducing the capital cost substantially as India is currently depending on imported technology barring spinning sector. He has said that the Government is also exploring the possibilities of setting up R & D centres with the State-of-the-art facilities for each segment of the textile industry. On behalf of national apex bodies, Padmashree Dr. A. Sakthivel, Mr. Prem Malik, Mr. M. Senthil Kumar, Mr. Rakesh Mehra and Mr. Ajay Sardana participated in the Interactive Meeting. Mr. D.L. Sharma, Deputy Chairman, CITI, proposed the Vote of Thanks.

Source: Press Release

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Tiruppur knitwear cluster urged to diversify to polyester

Indian textiles secretary Ravi Capoor recently urged the textile industry in Tamil Nadu to diversify into the polyester segment to boost exports. He was addressing a meeting with the office bearers of 48 textile associations of South India organised by the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) in Coimbatore. He also advised the Tiruppur knitwear cluster to brand its products in a sustainable manner to fetch more margin globally. Appreciating the sustainable initiatives taken at Tiruppur and Coimbatore by implementing zero liquid discharge to protect the environment—predominantly using non-conventional energy to avoid carbon food print—and compliance of various labour and social statutes, Capoor assured all necessary government support to promote the brands from the Tirupur cluster. The government would address all structural issues in its new National Textile Policy that might be announced in a couple of months by making the basic raw materials available at global prices, encouraging scale of operation by developing 10 mega textile parks closer to ports, giving plug and play facilities, including the necessary safeguard measures in the labour laws, a CITI press release quoted him as saying.

Source: Fibre2Fashion

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Australian Trade Minister to visit India this month to push trade, investment ties

Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham will be in India later this month to discuss bilateral trade and investment issues, including the long-pending free trade agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations which India had exited late last year. “The Australian Minister is scheduled to be in New Delhi on February 24-25 and hold talks with his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal on trade and investment issues,” an official familiar with the Minister's schedule told BusinessLine. Australia-India trade has grown steeply over the last decade but it is heavily skewed in Australia’s favour. In 2018-19, India’s imports from the island-nation were valued at $13.3 billion while Australia’s imports from here were only at $3.52 billion resulting in a trade deficit of almost $10 billion. Birmingham, in his meeting with Goyal, is likely to urge India to re-enter the RCEP negotiations. New Delhi had opted out of the talks in November last as a large number of its concerns, many related to China, were not adequately addressed by other member-countries. The 16-member proposed bloc includes the 10-member ASEAN, China, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan and South Korea. New Delhi’s major concerns with the RCEP included the high levels of market access being sought by other members and inadequate protection against cheap imports from China due to lax Rules of Origin norms. Following India’s exit, several members, including Australia, Japan and New Zealand, have urged it to get back to the negotiating table. “There have been video-conferences between trade officials from Australia and India on the future of the RCEP talks. During the Australian Minister’s visit, the matter is likely to be discussed in detail,” a Commerce Ministry official said. India, which is not ready to get back into RCEP negotiations till its concerns are met, wants to explore the possibility of entering into RCEP-like pacts with individual members such as Australia, Japan and South Korea. “While the possibility of a pact with Australia on the lines of the RCEP has been talked about tentatively in the video-conference, important details such as the level of ambition and the sectors to be included need to be discussed. After the visit of Birmingham, things may get clearer,” the official said. India and Australia had started negotiating a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) in May 2011, but the talks were suspended in 2015 because of disagreement over issues such as the market access in agriculture and dairy products demanded by Australia. “Agriculture and dairy products still remain sensitive issues for India and it is doubtful whether it can offer much in the sectors. A future trade deal between India and Australia will depend on how much both sides can compromise,” the official said. Meanwhile, no fresh date has been fixed yet for the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's visit to the country. He had to postpone his scheduled visit to India in January because of the bush fire crisis in his country.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

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E-comm welcome to work within India's laws: Piyush Goyal

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said while the government welcomes e-commerce companies to work within the framework and laws of the land, promises of a certain number of people benefiting from such companies can’t be at the expense of suffering of many others. “We welcome e-commerce to work within the framework and the laws of the land,” Goyal said at the Times Now Summit here. The minister said that e-commerce platforms are supposed to work as an agnostic platforms, giving buyers and sellers an opportunity to transact there. “The platform cannot push buyers towards a certain seller,” he added. Goyal said the ministry is focusing on 12-13 sectors such as textiles where India has a competitive edge to boost exports. He said that exports grow when there is both comparative and competitive edge on different sectors. Citing an example of man-made textiles, he said the government is putting attention as over the years, India has always focused on cotton textiles, whereas the world has moved on to man-made textiles. “We have now brought our attention to see how we can have an orderly growth of man-made textiles industry,” he said. Goyal said he has told the textiles sector people that it has the potential to increase exports to $100 billion in the next 10 years from the current level of about $37 billion. On being asked why is India being protectionist, the commerce minister said that protection is necessary where the country has domestic capacity. He said that such practices also become evident when there is an unfair competition or high domestic cost of production. “Also we are conscious that some countries give subsidies both open and opaque, due to which import sometimes become very attractive and therefore certain degree of protection is required for our domestic industry,” he said.

Source: Economic Times

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Corona outbreak in China hits low cost garment market in rural Bengal

Corona Virus outbreak in China has started casting its dark shadow over sectors beyond the boundary of health domain. Low cost non branded garment trade in Bengal rural level is a major victim. “As an immediate impact, retail level price has started shooting up with rapidly depleting inventory here. Even worse is uncertain long term impact in the supply side in China. We are highly worried as the trade has almost completely become dependent on them,” said Bijoy Saha, a wholesaler in Siliguri dealing with Chinese kid’s ware, caps, belts etc. Saha is one of around 25 main wholesalers in this small town in Darjeeling foothills in West Bengal. The second trade hub in state for these low cost items after Kolkata. According to market insiders, to cater to near 1.5 crore rural people from 5 industrially backward districts around Siliguri, these wholesalers annually import items worth around Rs 250 crore. “Rest of Bengal is served by over 2000 wholesalers from Kolkata with much higher average import volume,” said Bimal Mandal, a trader in Siliguri market. Without any concrete database, size of the trade in Bengal is estimated as of over 30,000 crore per annum. Experts consider this as a great support to huge chunk of Bengal populace with lower than state’s average per capita income of around Rs 35,000. “Usually we fly to Guangzhou in south China. Make our choice from endless alternatives and stock there. Finalize deal for two to six months and come back. The stock keeps on coming as we pay phase wise. Highly buyer friendly policy helps us to roll seamlessly with just 15 days paid inventory. But cancellation or alteration of order is difficult in these highly cost optimized deals,” said Saha. . “Now, despite near zero stock in hand we are in limbo on paying for next consignments. But as demand for post winter items have started rising fast, Indian product suppliers have increased their price by 20%,” Clear enough, the deep scar of Corona outbreak is going to remain here for long even after the crisis is over there.

Source: Economic Times

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Global Textile Raw Material Price 14-02-2020

Item

Price

Unit

Fluctuation

Date

PSF

945.45

USD/Ton

-2.94%

2/14/2020

VSF

1360.88

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

ASF

2012.66

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

Polyester    POY

1027.10

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

Nylon    FDY

2220.38

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

40D    Spandex

4111.28

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

Nylon    POY

1264.18

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

Acrylic    Top 3D

2055.64

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

Polyester    FDY

2263.35

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

Nylon    DTY

1149.58

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

Viscose    Long Filament

2456.74

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

Polyester    DTY

5371.88

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

30S    Spun Rayon Yarn

1998.34

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

32S    Polyester Yarn

1625.89

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

45S    T/C Yarn

2406.60

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

40S    Rayon Yarn

2163.08

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

T/R    Yarn 65/35 32S

1933.88

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

45S    Polyester Yarn

1776.30

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

T/C    Yarn 65/35 32S

2206.05

USD/Ton

0%

2/14/2020

10S    Denim Fabric

1.27

USD/Meter

0%

2/14/2020

32S    Twill Fabric

0.69

USD/Meter

0%

2/14/2020

40S    Combed Poplin

0.97

USD/Meter

0%

2/14/2020

30S    Rayon Fabric

0.53

USD/Meter

0%

2/14/2020

45S    T/C Fabric

0.67

USD/Meter

0%

2/14/2020

Source: Global Textiles

Note: The above prices are Chinese Price (1 CNY = 0.14325 USD dtd. 14/02/2020). 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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Trade with China and mega projects won't be affected

Bilateral trade with China and implementation of mega projects will not face any major hurdles if Bangladesh responds rationally to the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming said on Wednesday. "We hope people from all walks of life in Bangladesh will not panic but calmly and rationally evaluate the risk," he said. People in China are now getting back to work after celebrating the Chinese New Year, he said, adding that the epidemic is mostly concentrated in Wuhan, which is not a significant centre for trade. Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronovirus, is the capital of Chinese Hubei province. "Most of the raw materials used in Bangladesh's textile and garments industries, spare parts and medical equipment are imported from different provinces of China, not from Wuhan," said Mr Jiming. The ambassador made the remarks at 'Meet the Press' jointly organised by the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka and the Bangladesh China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCCI) at the National Press Club in the city. Responding to a query regarding Bangladesh business community's concerns about whether they should switch to other destinations from China for the supply chain, the ambassador said moving to other sources would be a wrong decision. "The answer from me is definitely 'No'. This is a going to be a stupid decision if you really do so," he said, adding that Chinese people are now getting back to work. He, however, said the decline in bilateral trade in the recent times was mainly due to countrywide Chinese New Year holidays. Regarding the mega projects' implementation in Bangladesh, he said key Chinese people involved in the activities have already come back to Bangladesh. Urging Bangladesh to act rationally, he said: "We are a bit worried about some restriction measures the government might impose on imported equipment and so on." The goods don't carry virus, but people may, the ambassador said, adding that all measures related to restrictions should be based on evidence and science, not on panic. If Bangladesh doesn't act rationally, it may face serious problems with the mega projects, he said. "I think Bangladeshi government is wise and rational in decision-making," he added. He also said the Chinese government is tackling the epidemic with great capacity, full confidence, determination and high commitment. Chinese embassy's Commercial Counselor Liu Zhenhua, BCCCI president Gazi Golam Murtoza and its Secretary General Shahjahan Mridha attended the event. In his speech, Gazi Golam Murtoza expressed the hope that China would soon recover from the economic slowdown caused by the epidemic, as the nation had earlier faced similar problem in 2003. "China successfully recovered from SARS epidemic in 2003, when a major blow to the East Asian nation's economy was feared," he said. Mr Murtoza said the recent times saw a decline in bilateral trade, as Bangladeshi businesses brought in their imports prior to the beginning of the Chinese holiday. "Still, there is no reason for supply shortage in local market due to the virus," he said. Time will say what happens in future if the epidemic prolongs, the BCCCI leader added.

Source: Financial Express Bangladesh

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Israeli firm claims nanotech textile may beat coronavirus

Israeli anti-bacterial fabric firm Sonovia Ltd has claimed to have developed a technology to create virus-resistant textiles and masks to help fight coronavirus. The start-up uses nanotechnology to infuse textiles with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial chemicals. This technology has been sent to labs in China for testing, according to Israeli media reports. The nanotechnology process, developed at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, is reportedly effective in sealing the penetration of bacteria and fungus. An ultrasonic-assisted impregnation process infuses metal oxide nanoparticles onto textiles. These particles are a specialised chemical compound that converts the textiles into a highly powerful barrier against fungi, bacteria and viruses. In a press release, Sonovia’s co-founder Shay Herscovich said several fabrics have been sent to a medical lab in Chengdu, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing had officially received it. However, it will take some days to colonise the coronavirus on the fabric and analyse if the technology effectively works. The technology can be used on masks, gowns, hospital bedding, protective clothing and other apparel to protect against infection. The nanotechnology-enhanced textile is reportedly so powerful that it can maintain its anti-pathogen activity at up to 100 washes when washed at 75° Celsius and 65 washes when washed at 92° Celsius.

Source: Fibre2Fashion

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Environmentally friendly textile material is easy and cheap to manufacture

When doctoral student Mostafa Jabbari began his research project, the aim was to improve the properties of the material used for textile bioreactors. But he changed tracks and developed a whole new textile material with better properties than was the original goal. The material is lighter, stronger, more heat and weather resistant, cheaper to manufacture, uses fewer chemicals, and is 100% recyclable.

Mixed materials that cannot be recycled

"In the first part of my project, I modified an existing material to improve its insulating properties to withstand temperature changes. But there were two problems: One was that the adhesion between the two constituents, that is, the material that forms a sealing layer, did not have sufficient adhesion properties and the coating didn't stay adhered. The other problem was the recyclability, meaning that it was a blended material, one material for the fabric itself and another for the coating, which makes it extremely difficult to recycle, if not impossible," he says. The second part of the project was, therefore, to use the same material in both the textile and the coating. Polyamide would prove to be perfect for the purposes of the project. The result was a whole new kind of textile material that surpasses existing materials on several points and can be recycled again and again. He calls the new material APCT, which stands for all-polyamide composite coated textile, unlike textiles with, for example, PVC coating. The most common method of making a textile material dense is to apply a sealing layer and have it adhere using heat or chemicals, which requires a lot of energy and water. Mostafa Jabbari's solution was to incorporate textile and coating into each other in a process that is neither dependent on heat nor large quantities of water.

The solution—a new solvent

"I dissolved polyamide with a solvent consisting of formic acid and applied it as a thin film onto the polyamide textile. The solution causes the polymer strands to creep into the fabric. When the solvent evaporates, entirely without heat or other chemicals, the polyamide strands in the solution and the textile are entangled in each other and the result is a completely new textile material that is impermeable." However, the solvent he used in the beginning proved to have some challenging properties, such as that it smells bad, is expensive, and is flammable. Therefore, he developed a new concept for the solvent, as well. "The challenge was to produce a mixture with as little formic acid as possible, but with the right properties to be able to dissolve the polyamide. We did several experiments in which we replaced almost half of the amount of formic acid with urea and calcium chloride, two harmless substances. The result was a clearly more environmentally friendly solvent. However, the process needs to be refined to work industrially," he explains.

New method for matching chemicals

Obtaining the optimal mixture can be done by testing it, but with several chemical substances involved, either pure luck or countless experiments are required to match different substances and proportions to the desired mixtures. Therefore, a computerized method was also introduced to get a reasonable match and thus minimize the need for the number of experiments. This is a method that researchers in other fields may also use when developing or needing to replace or design a solvent mixture profile. Although the starting point for the Mostafa Jabbaris doctoral project has been to develop a suitable material specifically for textile reactors, with the right properties in terms of insulation, permeability, and flexibility, he sees many other possible applications. "The new textile could, for example, be used for tents, different types of structural buildings with inflatable elements, or for anything that needs to be lightweight and keep impermeable." The properties gained are that the new textile material weighs 20 percent less than if it had a PVC coating, it is cheaper to produce, no heat or energy is required, no additional chemicals are needed besides the solvent itself, and the new textile material can be recycled because It consists of a single component.

Source: Phys.org

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Vietnam-EU Trade: EVFTA Ratified by EU Lawmakers

The European Parliament (EP) on February 12 ratified the European Union Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA). The next step before the agreements can come into force is the ratification of the agreement by the National Assembly of Vietnam which is expected in May 2020. The EVFTA was signed on June 30 in Hanoi paving the way for increased trade with the EU and Vietnam. The EVFTA is an ambitious pact providing almost 99 percent of elimination of custom duties between the EU and Vietnam. As per the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the FTA is expected to help increase Vietnam’s GDP by 4.6 percent and its exports to the EU by 42.7 percent by 2025. While the European Commission has forecast the EU’s GDP to increase by US$29.5 billion by 2035. 65 percent of duties on EU exports to Vietnam will be eliminated while the remaining will be gradually phased out over a period of 10 years. 71 percent of duties will be eliminated on Vietnam exports to the EU, with the remaining being eliminated over a period of seven years. The EVFTA is considered a new generation bilateral agreement – it contains important provisions for intellectual property (IP) rights, investment liberalization, and sustainable development. This includes a commitment to implement the International Labor Organization (ILO) standards and the UN Convention on Climate Change. Talks between the EU and Vietnam began in June 2012 and ended in December 2015, however, the ratification process was delayed due to specific details on tariffs as well as the EU-Singapore FTA which came into effect recently. Vietnam and the EU are long-standing trading partners. At the end of 2018, EU investors had invested more than US$23.9 billion in 2,133 projects in Vietnam. In 2018, European investors added almost US$1.1 billion in Vietnam. EU investors are active in 18 economic sectors and in 52 out of the 63 provinces in Vietnam. Investment has been the most prominent in manufacturing, electricity and real estate. The bulk of the EU investment has been concentrated in areas with good infrastructure, such as Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Dong Nai. 24 EU member states are invested in Vietnam, with the Netherlands taking the top spot followed by France and the UK. At the regional level, Vietnam is now the EU’s second most important trading partner among all ASEAN members – surpassing regional rivals Indonesia and Thailand, in recent years. The growing trade between the EU and Vietnam also helps to solidify ASEAN’s position as the EU’s third-largest trading partner.

Industries primed for continued expansion

The EVFTA, at its core, aims to liberalize both tariff and non-tariff barriers for key imports on both sides over a period of 10 years. For Vietnam, the tariff elimination will benefit key export industries, including the manufacturing of smartphones and electronic products, textiles, footwear and agricultural products, such as coffee. These industries are also very labor-intensive. Increasing Vietnam’s export volume to the EU, the FTA will facilitate the expansion of these industries, both in terms of capital and increasing employment.

Textiles

Both Vietnam and the EU have articulated a timeframe by which they have committed to liberalizing all tariffs. Key among these commitments is a seven-year timeline for Vietnam’s textile and footwear products. Exports of the sector reached around US$9 billion in 2018. As a large proportion of Vietnam’s exports to the EU are consumer goods such as clothing, textile, and footwear, the FTA could significantly increase their trade volume.

Electronics

As Vietnam continues to grow, it will shift its manufacturing sector towards more technologically advanced products, such as smartphones and other electronics. The EVFTA will provide more export revenue from clothing and footwear products, but may not impact the expansion of these industries. Although Vietnam is yet to have an extensive developed electronic manufacturing industry at present, the FTA provides Vietnam with an unprecedented chance to take a lead in electronic products, and hence expansion of this budding industry could be a smart move for local businesses.

Pharmaceuticals

Vietnam’s pharmaceutical market remains attractive to EU investors. With the FTA in effect, approximately half of EU pharmaceutical imports will be duty-free immediately with the rest exempted from duty after seven years. Foreign pharmaceutical companies will be allowed to establish a company to import pharmaceuticals that have been authorized to be sold in the Vietnamese market. Such entities can sell pharmaceuticals imported by them to Vietnamese distributors or wholesalers. The entities can also build their own warehouses. While Vietnam’s pharmaceutical market has significantly developed, it still only meets 52 percent of market demand contributed mostly by generic drugs. The new FTA will bring fair and equal access to the market enabling EU investors to further expand their business and thus allowing foreign investors to meet the strong growth of the pharmaceutical sector

Key highlights of the EVFTA

Remanufactured goods

Previously, remanufactured goods were considered ‘used’ by Vietnam and typically not allowed for import. However, the text of the agreement allows remanufactured goods to be imported and will open up trade for high-value products such as medical devices and car parts to serve the after-sales market. Vietnam can still continue to restrict specific used goods under the most favored nation (MFN) conditions.

Repaired goods

The temporary import and export of repaired goods will be duty-free. This will ensure fair and competition conditions particularly for specialized maintenance services such as aircraft.

Made in EU

Vietnam will accept ‘Made in EU’ products for non-agricultural items for the first time reflecting the integration of the EU market. With the exception of pharmaceuticals which are subject to national approvals, this will allow manufacturers to use the EU’s broader internal market.

Fees and formalities

Consular transactions are no longer needed under the FTA while consular authentication will not be required three years the FTA is in effect.

Upcoming challenges

Recent changes in the EU, in particular Brexit, could impact the outcome and importance of the EVFTA. Considering that the UK is one of the biggest markets for Vietnam’s exports, and also one of Vietnam’s biggest investors, trade and investment from the UK is likely to remain in limbo as long the markets are processing the post Brexit fallout. However, Vietnam sees opportunities if Brexit comes into play. The impact of Brexit on EU trade and investment is, however, another story. While the turmoil of Brexit amplifies an existential crisis that has been manifesting in Europe for some time, there are strong reasons to believe that Vietnam will continue to reap the benefits of European trade in the years to come. Much of this boils down to the EU’s increasingly stringent standards and quality controls applied to goods coming into the EU. Unlike many of its ASEAN neighbors, Vietnam has been successful in concluding a trade agreement with the EU. Included within this agreement are numerous provisions that help to converge Vietnamese standards with those of the EU. The importance of the Vietnamese market will only grow as elements of the EVFTA are implemented and corresponding non-tariff barriers are removed.

Source: Vietnam Briefing

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