MARKET WATCH 18 JUNE, 2020

NATIONAL

INTERNATIONAL

Govt likely to fast-track import restrictions on 371 Chinese goods

 From toys and plastic goods to sports items, and furniture - goods worth $127 billion - could be placed under restrictions. The commerce ministry is fast-tracking measures to cut down on Chinese imports and the findings will be presented to the Prime Minister's Office soon. According to official sources, the government has been gearing up to place tighter restrictions on the import of 371 items — ranging from toys and plastic goods to sports items, and furniture — which worth $127 billion. “A large chunk of these originate in China and for those goods, we will pursue import substitution,” a senior official said. Electronics, drugs, apparels, and consumer durables from China are ...

Source: Business Standard

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India elected unopposed to non-permanent seat in UN Security Council

 India was elected to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member from the Asia-Pacific category for a two-year term on Wednesday (June 17) night. India was elected to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member from the Asia-Pacific category for a two-year term on Wednesday (June 17) night. India was elected unopposed as one of the non-permanent member of the UNSC after winning 184 votes in the 193-member General Assembly. The minimum requirement to get elected was 128 votes. India has served seven times earlier as non-permanent member of the UNSC in 1950- 1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992 and 2011-2012. “We have received overwhelming support and we deeply humbled by the tremendous confidence that the member states of the United Nations have reposed in India,” T S Tirumurti, the Indian permanent representative to the UN said in a video-recorded message. “India will become a member of the United Nations Security Council at a critical juncture and we are confident than in the Covid- and the post-Covid world India will continue to provide leadership and a new orientation for a reformed multilateral system,” he added. India was elected unopposed as it was the only candidate in the Asia-Pacific Group (APG). India has returned to the UNSC after a decade starting January 2021. The last time India served at the UNSC was between 2011 and 2012. India's election to the UNSC was endorsed in June 2019 by the APG after Afghanistan gave up its seat for India. The election was held at the UN headquarters in New York which opened for the first time since March 15 due to coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. www.citiindia.com 5 CITI-NEWS LETTER Along with India, Ireland, Mexico and Norway also won the UNSC elections held on Wednesday. The UNSC has 15 members, including five permanent members - the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China. The 10 other members are non-permanent and half of them are elected every year, each for a two-year term, starting January 1.

Source:   Zee News

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Not easy to discount China on trade: Experts

The RSS ailiate body Swadeshi Jagaran Manch and all India traders’ body have raised the pitch for levying additional taris on China and boycotting imports from the country but experts say discounting the northern neighbour on the trade front is not possible until India becomes fully self Currently, the country depends heavily on China for a host of imports. According to the government data, China is one of the leading trade partners of India. The top imports from China include electrical machinery, nuclear reactors, organic chemicals, fertilisers, auto component, iron and steel and chemical products. In 2018-19, at least 60% of India’s total import of electrical machinery and equipment came from China, nearly 70% of machinery and nuclear reactors arrived from the neighbouring country, plastic imports were a whopping 82% from China, fertilisers and organic chemicals too were above 60%. China accounts for over 17% of India’s total imports and over 8% of its exports. India China trade was over $92 billion in 2019 but it was heavily tilted in China’s favour. “A sudden curb on Chinese imports will do more harm to the country. We need to first escalate our manufacturing capacity,” said engineering export promotion council. As far as finished goods are concerned, India’s imports range from mobile phones to air conditioners and auto components from China. Besides, nearly three-fourths of electronic components arrive in the Indian market from China. Textiles, leather goods and consumer durables are some of the other imports for which India heavily depends on the neighbouring country. China also accounts for 25% of India’s automotive part imports. Generic dugs are most impacted. The reliance on Chinese imports are as high as 70%, according to a KPMG study, which showed how China impacted India during Covid19.

Source: Deccan Herald

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COVID-19 impact | Reviving MSME manufacturing post- lockdown  

The need of the hour is clarity in policy communication by making it simple for the MSMEs, without leaving any room for subjectivity. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy. Taking steps to protect our industries and commerce is an immediate and critical need of the hour. To this end, the government recently announced its intention to spend almost 10 percent of India's gross domestic product (GDP) in the fiscal year 2020 on economic relief measures towards reviving economic growth. A sector that is reeling under the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), which contributes to around 35 percent of India's manufacturing output. The MSME sector, which is also the second-largest employment generator in the country after agriculture, needs special attention from the government. The stimulus package announced is a mix of fiscal support, monetary support, ease of conducting business processes, as well as some fundamental reforms. The need of the hour is clarity in policy communication by making it simple for the end beneficiaries, the MSMEs, without leaving any room for subjectivity, which needs to be urgently taken up by the central and state governments. For instance, the Finance Ministry’s notification in May, amending the General Finance Rules (GFR) 2017, disallows global tenders to encourage MSMEs to take part in tenders below INR 200 crores, but has bestowed power to respective departments in ‘exceptional case’ scenarios to consider global tender enquiry (GTE). Policies cannot be left to individual inference when a critical step in economic progress like quality sourcing is being sought from domestic players, especially the MSME sector which is gearing to be a major supply chain player for domestic and global markets. To make this a reality, certain measures with respect to limiting imports may be a necessary step, at least for the foreseeable future. China, for example, is one of our top three trading partners and the trade deficit with the country has increased manifold over the last few years. To stem this, the Government of India proposed amendments in the Customs Act which gives it the power to ban import and export of certain items, “under exceptional circumstances”. These measures are intended to make our supply chains more self-reliant and less dependent on imports, but it is also important to remember the unparalleled scale and capability of manufacturing-driven countries like China; it will take significant policy interventions and drastic structural changes to match their scale, expertise and skills, to be globally competitive. This is a feat that India is not new to; the challenge has previously been overcome successfully by the likes of the textile industry in India, which is the second largest exporter of textiles in the world. As a country, we must collectively find ways to extrapolate the success stories of the textile industry to other import-heavy industries, while also learning from its failures to kick-start growth in the new normal. Here are some of the essential steps needed to get the manufacturing MSMEs back on track. Financial incentives - RBI needs to immediately issue guidelines for higher provisioning revisions to banks, in the absence of which liquidity injection into the system is getting delayed - Instant availability of subsidies, with simplified processes for getting them without hindrance - Speedy cashflow issue resolution through GST refunds and short-term collateral free, low-interest loans to both large corporates and MSMEs - 95% + of MSMEs are not in the formal finance fold currently; an urgent review of alternate lending mechanisms and credit scoring criteria needs to be undertaken - Incentivising export-heavy manufacturing industries like textile & apparel with new capacity addition subsidisation Stable power supply Impact of the power sector on the manufacturing sector and consequently India’s growth can’t be underplayed. Capacity underutilisation in the manufacturing sector is also a function of the quality of power. Poor quality power, that keeps fluctuating, resulting in continuous tripping, resetting thousands of machines, loss of productivity and finally, poor asset quality for banks and investors, is a risk that needs to be mitigated Protection of labour The exodus of migrant workers from cities and towns has become a worrying scenario for small manufacturing units, as workers are key to their survival. Steps need to be taken urgently to counter the reverse migration trend Special transport for workers to facilitate their return to work - Unlocking government funds parked in Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) as medical insurance cover and using part of them to impart training in occupation health and safety for MSME manufacturers - Providing assurance to laborers that if they fall ill, their hospitalisation costs would be covered or subsidised, through Ayushman Bharat hospital insurance cards, if needed. This will go a long way in restoring confidence among them about returning to work Waivers for raw material - The extended lockdown has severely impacted the import of raw materials (sports goods, silk, rubber, etc.). Transport of these select imported materials should be allowed if they are stuck at ports or airports - Waiver of rents levied on MSMEs for raw material stuck at ports and container deports Digitisation of MSMEs COVID-19 came as a bolt from the blue for the MSME sector and more so for businesses that were digitally under-prepared. Technology is the new backbone of MSMEs who want to succeed in the post-COVID world. Digitisation is no longer optional; it has become a critical need in a scenario where physical interactions will continue to be extremely limited and remote access to everything will be the order of the day Trade fairs, for example, will not be possible for a long time, so holistic e-marketplaces will become an important way for MSME manufacturers to reach out to potential customers, suppliers and lenders to grow their ecosystem and business An accelerated pace of digitisation and progressive policies to support marketplaces promoting MSMEs in the domestic market as well as globally will be a crucial element in fast-tracking the revival of manufacturing MSMEs, going forward.

Source:   Money Control

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COVID-19: Now textile fairs going virtual

This new initiative, he adds, will certainly help the exporters to gear up for new challenges posed by the pandemic and encourage them to kick-start the business activities. A total of 250 members (exporters of Home Furnishing, floor covering and textiles) are participating at the ongoing Indian Handicrafts & Gifts Delhi Fair (IHGF) Textiles Virtual fair. Conceptualised by Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH), the virtual platform aims to combat the lack of sales because physical fairs around the globe got cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The product categories displayed at IHGF fair include home furnishing, floor covering and textile. These are important segments of the handicrafts sector that mainly have a market in USA and Europe. The exports of these items account for 25 per cent in the total export of handicrafts from the country, which was around Rs 6,200 crores in 2019-20, informed RK Verma, Executive Director of EPCH. Ravi K Passi, Chairman of EPCH, said the exporting community for handicrafts have gained a lot of confidence from the first virtual fair on Indian Fashion Jewellery & Accessories Show (IFJAS), as serious business enquiries worth `150 crores were generated during the show. “We hope that IHGF Textiles Virtual fair will boost the morale of the participants during this pandemic, and provide a way forward for member exporters to participate in large numbers in 49th edition of the IHGF-Delhi Spring ’20 virtual to be held from July 13-18,” said Passi. This new initiative, he adds, will certainly help the exporters to gear up for new challenges posed by the pandemic and encourage them to kick-start the business activities.

Source: The New Indian Express

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India to remain most resilient in South Asia, continue to attract FDI even in Covid-19 crisis: UNCTAD

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has said that India’s economy could prove the most resilient in South Asia and its large market will continue to attract market-seeking investments to the country even as it expects a dramatic fall in global foreign direct investment (FDI). However, inflows may shrink sharply. As per UNCTAD, India jumped to ninth spot in 2019 on the list of global top FDI recipients from the twelfth spot in 2018. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, global FDI flows are forecast to nosedive by upto 40% in 2020, from their 2019 value of $1.54 trillion, bringing FDI below $1 trillion for the first time since 2005. FDI is projected to decrease by a further 5-10% in 2021 and a recovery is likely in 2022 amid a highly uncertain outlook. “A rebound in 2022, with FDI reverting to the pre-pandemic underlying trend, is possible, but only at the upper bound of expectations. The outlook is highly uncertain,” UNCTAD said in its World Investment Report 2020 released Tuesday. FDI inflows into India rose 13% on year in FY20 to a record $49.97 billion compared to $44.36 billion in 2018-19. In 2019, FDI flows to the region declined by 5%, to $474 billion, despite gains in South East Asia, China and India, according to the Geneva-based organisation. “FDI to India has been on a long-term growth trend. Positive, albeit lower, economic growth in the postpandemic period and India’s large market will continue to attract market-seeking investments to the country,” it said. India’s most sought-after industries, which include professional services and the digital economy, could see a faster rebound as global venture capital firms and technology companies continue to show interest in India’s market through acquisitions. Investors concluded deals worth over $650 million in the first quarter of 2020, mostly in the digital sector, it said, adding that twelve large deals in energy were also concluded. Singapore remained the largest source of intraregional investment and a major investor in India. The largest five recipients were China, Hong Kong (China), Singapore, India and Indonesia in developing Asia. Outflows from South Asia grew 6%, driven by investment from India. Yet they remained small, representing only 1% of global outflows. Companies in India are the subregion’s largest investors, with more than 90% of outflows in 2019. “Investments from India are expected to decline in 2020, with the largest MNEs revising their earnings down by 25% in early 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic,” UNCTAD said. Health investment Highlighting that in order to address the adverse impact of the pandemic, several economies have recently adopted policy measures to boost investment in those industries that are crucial to containing the spread of the virus, it said India, Italy and the US have adopted measures to encourage manufacturers to expand or shift production lines to medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) to increase the quantity available.

Source:   Economic Times

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Supreme Court: Consider interest waiver during moratorium

Earlier, the RBI had also informed the SC that any "forced" interest waiver on loan moratorium will risk financial viability and hurt banks by as much as Rs 2 lakh crore (1% of GDP). Pulling up the government over the issue of interest waiver on loan moratorium during the corona lockdown, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said the issue cannot be left between borrowers and lenders and it is for the finance ministry and RBI to review the matter and consider instructing banks to give some relief to borrowers. “If the Centre announced a moratorium, it must ensure the benefits are given to customers purposefully. The Central government can’t raise its hands in helplessness. It can’t say now that it is between banks and customers,” a Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. Mehta, representing both the RBI and finance ministry, said that there is a contract between the banks and the borrowers, before interfering in that the government has to keep in mind that banks are also under obligation to pay compound interest rates to their depositors. Earlier, the RBI had also informed the SC that any “forced” interest waiver on loan moratorium will risk financial viability and hurt banks by as much as Rs 2 lakh crore (1% of GDP). The top court had last week asked the finance ministry and the RBI to meet and decide on a waiver of interest on deferred loan repayments during the moratorium period. The Central bank had on May 22 extended moratorium on term loans till August 31 amid the nationwide lockdown due to Covid-19. In March, it had allowed a three-month moratorium on payment of all term loans due between March 1 and May 31. Senior counsel Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for Indian Bank Association and State Bank of India, respectively, argued that the banks will have to consider payment deferrals on a case-to-case and sector-to-sector basis. Both SBI and IBA had opposed grant of interest waiver, saying it was not “advisable” as it would cast a huge burden on the banks, will erode flow of funds to industry and businesses and depositors will also lose faith in the banking sector. Besides, the interest waiver would have wider ramifications not only for the entire banking industry, but also for the economy.  Rohatgi said the 90% of the borrowers have not availed the loan moratorium scheme and it is also because the scheme was not envisaged as a free gift to anyone. “There cannot be an across-the-board direction to banks,” he said, adding that most of the depositors of banks are people like pensioners, whose interests have to be considered before asking banks to take hits. Salve termed it as “premature” for the courts to entertain a petition like this, when the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over. He said the banks will have to look at granting sector wise reliefs or relief on a case-to-case basis, but a blanket order is not acceptable. “We are still in the tunnel… let’s wait till we get out of the tunnel,” Salve said, while suggesting that the case be heard after a few months when a clearer picture emerges. Salve said the agriculture sector might need special loan restructuring, or it could be any other sector, so courts should wait a few months before adjudicating on the issue. The bench posted the matter for further hearing in the first week of August. The court was hearing a petition challenging a part of the March circular with regard to recovery of interest accrued on the outstanding portion of the term loans during the moratorium period amid coronavirus pandemic.

Source: Financial Express

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At PM meet, Nitish offers 1,000 acres for industries

CM Nitish Kumar on Wednesday offered to make available 1,000 acres of land in Bihar, if the Centre takes an initiative to help the state in setting up new industries in certain preferred sectors. While presenting the state’s viewpoint on the steps taken to prevent Covid-19 during the video-conferencing with PM Narendra Modi, the CM said Bihar has tremendous scope in setting up new industries in sectors such as food processing, garments making, textiles, leather goods, medical and electrical equipment. “Also, there is a need for taking some initiatives in Bihar under Make-in-India, and for that the Centre can think over giving certain relaxations in the GST and income tax,” the CM told the PM. Nitish further urged the Centre to give its approval for creation of an additional 6 (six) crore man-days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to provide employment opportunities to the migrant workers who have returned to Bihar after the lockdown and now want to stay and work in their home state. He also urged the PM to increase the upper limit of employment guarantee to 200 days in a year from the existing 100 days per year under the MGNREGS. The CM said a survey conducted in Bihar has revealed that 32.88 lakh people are homeless in the state. He urged the Centre to give its sanction for providing housing facilities to all these people under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana –Grameen on a priority basis. CM also urged the PM to provide additional funds to Bihar under the PMAY-G for constructing houses for these homeless people. At the beginning of the video-conferencing, all participants kept a silence of two minutes to pay tributes and respect to all those Jawans of the Indian Army who laid their lives in Galvan valley on the India-China border. “The country is united under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi. We will unitedly give a reply to all such forces which will make any attempt to create problems with our country,” Nitish said in his address.

Source:   Times of India

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MCA notifies seven month relaxation for filings relating to creation or modification of charges

In a major relief to companies that raised funds via the debt route, the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) has notified a seven month relaxation for filings relating to creation or modification of charges on these instruments as per the Companies Act, according to a circular on Wednesday. For regulatory filings of charges on property or assets or any undertakings, created on March 1, 2020, the MCA introduced the ‘Scheme for relaxation of time for filing forms related to creation or modification of charges under the Companies Act, 2013’, to condone delays in such filings, applicable till September 30. The ministry’s decision was based on representations it received to relax the timeline to provide a window for compliance with the filing of charges on account of the pandemic and as the benefit of waiver of the additional fees was not extended to charge related filings under the Companies Fresh Start Scheme. Companies that have raised funds from banks through loans or from investors through debentures have to create a charge on their assets such as property or any undertakings within or outside India to secure these instruments. “Creation of charge is crucial to such debts but, registering such charges with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) by complying with deadlines falling during the haphazard period of lockdown posed a great challenge,” said Sandeep Jhunjhunwala, partner at Nangia Andersen LLP. As per section 77 of the Companies Act, the charge must be registered with the RoC within 30 days from its creation or modification. This period can be extended up to 120 days, which would attract late fees. Under the new scheme, for charges created or modified between March 1 and September 30 this year, including those done earlier but whose filing deadline fell within this period, these seven months would not be counted towards the time limit for filing them. The scheme is also applicable for the timeline under section 78 which relates to the chargeholder filing the charges with the RoC in case the company fails to do it. In terms of filing fees, the ministry notification said that for filings made within the mentioned period, fees as on February 29, 2020, will be payable per form. And for filings made beyond this period, fees as on October 1 this year will be payable. “This move pegs the interest of countrywide investor community while also protecting the companies from a punishable fine of up to Rs 10 lakhs and imprisonment of up to 6 months for its officers in default, on account of filing non-compliances for registering charges,” Jhunjhunwala said. The scheme will not apply for charges that have already been filed before March 1 and for those charges for which the timeline for filing exceeds the mentioned period despite the exclusion.

Source:   Economic Times

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Taming The Dragon: Boycotting China may not be easy

Of course, with structural reforms and appropriate policy interventions in areas ranging from pharmaceuticals to mobile and auto parts, the domestic industry can build capacity, but that will be a longer term proposition.   Taking economic retaliation against China for its aggression along the border is easier said than done. A surge in domestic sentiments against Beijing for the fatal border skirmish has led to fervent calls for a boycott of the Chinese goods but given the overreliance of Indian consumers and large sections of industry on the hostile neighbour, these might just ring hollow. Any policy change to tame the dragon by discouraging the consumption of its usually cheap products is fraught with the risk of raising costs for consumers, at least in the short term. For instance, after the pandemic broke out, the prices of many active pharmaceutical ingredients have increased anywhere between 6% and 167% (the highest is for Nimesulide) since January, as Chinese supplies got hit. To be sure, despite the conflict that has claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers, the government hasn’t yet formally denounced Chinese goods and only private bodies, like the Confederation of All India Traders, have called for boycotting such products. China makes up for about 45% of India’s electronics imports, one-third of its machinery and almost two-fifths of organic chemical purchases. As much as 90% of certain mobile phone components, 65-70% of active pharmaceutical ingredients (for making finished drugs) and over a fourth of its automotive parts and fertilisers are imported from China, according to a CII note prepared in February to assess the Covid-19 impact. China, as such, remains the largest import destination for India and Beijing’s goods trade surplus with New Delhi was as much as $47 billion in the first 11 months of FY20. Also, industry executives say China makes up for about 72% of the Rs 2-lakh-crore domestic mobile phone market and Chinese brands like Xiaomi dominate here. Even Chinese or some Indian firms assembling such products in India import components from China. In the telecom equipment market, the share of the Chinese is about 25%. Since there are several Amercian and European vendors also in this segment, boycotting Chinese vendors is possible but telecom operators could see an up to 15% increase in their procurement prices. Also, the Indian operators will lose the attractive financing provided by Chinese vendors. The Chinese account for about 45% of the Indian smart TV market and such products are 30-50% cheaper than the items sold by their rivals. Of course, with structural reforms and appropriate policy interventions in areas ranging from pharmaceuticals to mobile and auto parts, the domestic industry can build capacity, but that will be a longer term proposition. Vinnie Mehta, director-general of Automotive Component Manufacturers’ Association, said: “The imports from China cannot be replaced so soon, but the value chain can be created in India, given our skills, quality and capabilities. So, the Indian auto parts industry can bring down the dependence on China, which accounts for about a fourth of India’s annual auto parts imports of $18 billion. Indian exports to China in this segment, however, are only about $300 million annually.” B Thiagarajan, MD of air-conditioning major Blue Star, told FE that China is the biggest component supplier. “Now, the Atmanirbhar initiative is taken by the government to enable even component makers to become self-reliant. But all these will take time.” “The government is chalking out strategies to promote indigenous production with new policy interventions and reduce import dependence,” said R Uday Bhaskar, director general at Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil). Srivats Ram, MD of Wheels India that makes steel wheels for passenger and commercial vehicles, said the global supply chain, in which China plays a dominant role, is getting realigned. “Companies have been looking at de-risking the global sourcing. Existing customers may look at realigning their procurement to derisk their business. And this could throw up opportunities for Indian companies.” However, for heavily import dependent solar industry, cutting off ties with China would lead to considerable challenges. “Even now, bidders take into account the lower cost of imported solar modules from China to quote tariffs. To reduce India’s import dependence, more manufacturing-linked solar tenders (like the one recently awarded to Adani and Azure) need to be awarded. But even that will take time to operationalise and need significant capital investment,” Amit Kumar, partner, clean energy, at PWC, pointed out. “When it comes to global supply chain in the domain of electronics manufacturing, China is the one inseparable link. There is some component or process of virtually all products which every electronic manufacturing country in the world is dependent on China. If India decides to stop imports from China, the production will be impacted,” George Paul, CEO, Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology, said. “It is no secret that a substantive part of India’s supply chain has its roots in China. Efforts are underway to enhance self-dependence. Meanwhile, we remain confident that the Indian and Chinese leadership will find a lasting resolution out of the current border impasse. We remain hopeful of peace without compromising India’s strategic priorities,” said Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman of the India Cellular and Electronics Association. Kamal Nandi, business head & executive vice president of Godrej Appliances, said: “For the next 2-3 months, there is enough stock of components and parts for consumer electronics and though there will be disruption in long term, it can be mitigated with alternatives available. The impact on prices is not known because the industry has to see what cost impact would be there while importing from other countries.”   However, a section of domestic engineering industry is not perturbed even by the prospect of reduced imports of inputs from China. S Unnikrishnan, MD & CEO at Thermax, said: “There will be temporary blip in any case but none of us are in dire need of materials from China. There is capacity and capability available in the country. There may be some items on which we are dependent because of lower prices, but that also we can progressively manage internally.”

Source:   Financial Express

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Vardhman Textiles launches anti-viral fabrics

India-based integrated textile manufacturer Vardhman Textiles Limited has launched a new range of fabrics with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. The 'Travel Shield' range of fabrics is water and stain repellent, breathable and easy to care. The fabrics will help in mitigating the risk of COVID-19 when these are used for making garments. "These fabrics will definitely make you travel safer, comfortable and stylish. Further strengthening Vardhman’s commitment towards sustainability, these fabrics are washable and reusable unlike nonwovens. Icing on the cake is that these Travel Shield range of fabrics are made from non-metal based chemistry," said Vardhman's headMarketing Mukesh Bansal. The new range of fabrics comes in multiple variants – 100 per cent polyester, 100 per cent viscose and a blend of cotton and polyester to provide the customers a better performing, soft and easy-care product. For the new range, Vardhman has partnered with the pioneers of health care finishes, HealthGuard, an Australia based company for developing several healthcare finishes like anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-dust etc. Health Guard AMIC is 99.94 per cent effective against killing coronavirus (H1N1, ISO1814 tested), SARS and influenza virus. It remains active on treated fabric even after 20 home laundering.

Source: Fibre2Fashion

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Small businesses exporting outside EU employ over 13 mn

The number of EU exporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has risen steadily in recent years, and in several sectors they are more competitive in digitally intensive products than large EU companies. EU SME exports are also a major driver for export-led job creation: over 13 million jobs in Europe depend on EU SME exports, according to a study.   In 2017, out of 700,000 EU companies who sell products and services outside the EU, some 615,000 were small and medium businesses, says an economic analysis published by the European Commission. The study considers enterprises with less than 250 employees as SMEs. These SMEs exported goods worth €476 billion in 2017, which represented 28 per cent of the total value of extra-EU exports. In many economic sectors, EU SMEs account for more than 50 per cent of the total value of EU exports (textiles, furniture, printing and media, agricultural products, wood products), the analysis said. SME exports are also greener. They have lower greenhouse gas emissions than an average firm, with 70 per cent of SME exports belonging to the low to medium-low greenhouse gas emission, the paper titled 'The role of SMEs in extra-EU exports: Key performance indicators' added. "Compared to their contributions to national economies, EU SMEs remain underrepresented in global trade in terms of export value. Ensuring that EU SMEs continue to remain strongly engaged in exporting activities in the post-COVID-19 recovery is highly important. EU SMEs could become more international via outward foreign direct investment as part of the post-COVID-19 recovery strategy," the report suggested.

Source: Fibre2Fashion

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UK starts talks with Australia, New Zealand on FTAs

Australia and New Zealand will soon start negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Kingdom. Australian minister for trade, tourism and investment Simon Birmingham recently said his country was “ready to help the UK find new beginnings post-Brexit and in doing so, open up new doors for our farmers, businesses and investors”. The United Kingdom is Australia’s seventh largest trading partner and New Zealand’s sixth largest trading partner, with UK-New Zealand trade totalling almost $NZ 6 billion last year. “We’ve been preparing for this deal since the UK decided to leave the EU [European Union] and welcome their agreement to commence negotiations,” Birmingham said in a statement. He said both sides wanted “an ambitious and comprehensive agreement that builds on our already significant people-to-people links and creates new opportunities for exporters, generating more jobs in our nations”. New Zealand’s trade minister, David Parker, echoed Birmingham’s sentiments, according to global newswires. “As the UK embarks on its next steps post-Brexit, New Zealand is pleased to be among the first countries to negotiate a trade agreement with one of our oldest friends,” Parker said. Parker said talks would focus on removal of trade tariffs, new approaches to non-tariff barriers, streamlined customs, regulatory cooperation, development of digital trade and trade provisions in support of sustainable development, including climate change. The first round of negotiations between Australia and the UK is due to begin on 29 June, but due to COVID-19 restrictions will be held remotely.

Source: Fibre2Fashion

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SAFE antibacterial and antiviral sewing threads

Manifattura Italiana Cucirini SPA (MIC), an Italian company specialized in the development of innovative yarns with low environmental impact, for the fashion, leather, footwear and furniture sectors, has developed a special sewing thread for personal protective equipment (PPE), particularly masks, to contribute to the COVID-19 emergency. The company says it has invited other companies in Italy and abroad to express their needs for this type of thread and in some cases, it decided to donate it for free. “Thanks to this experience and to the know how in the field, in order to fulfil the demand of security and safety in the apparel industry, MIC Spa has developed a new treatment called SAFE that makes the sewing thread especially suitable for all sectors demanding protection, hygiene and odour controlling properties, including production of medical supplies like masks, gowns, and PPE, technical textiles and sportswear,” the company said in a press communication. SAFE is said to be guaranteed to resist over 20 washes, following the garment’s washing instructions utilizing a PH neutral detergent for delicate garments. According to MIC: “SAFE treatment is compatible with all fibres – synthetic, artificial and natural – and it can be combined perfectly with other MIC treatments (i.e. water repellent PFC-free), without altering the characteristics and solidity of the treated sewing threads.” *This treatment is performed with SANITIZER® (certified by Bluesign® and derma approved by Allergy UK), a disinfecting product that thanks to its properties can reduce the antibacterial and viral load up to 99%. MIC treated sewing threads are tested and approved according to international standards ASTM G21 (antifungal) and JIS L 1902 (antibacterial). Threads antiviral properties are tested in independent laboratories, therefore the final product in which SAFE treated yarn has been used must necessarily be certified and authorized according to current regulations in order to be placed on the market as a medical service. The Cumerlato family adventure in textiles began in 1911 in the Vicenza area with a wadding factory and then continued in 1976 with the creation of the Manifattura Italiana Cucirini for the production of thread for the clothing industry. With a growing international presence, particularly in Europe and North Africa, the group subsequently specialized in the leather, footwear and furniture industry, expanding its range and offering items with special characteristics for sectors whose uniqueness require specific solutions. Quality and sustainability are an integral part of MIC's mission, which boasts Oeko-Tex 100 certifications and comply with the REACH specifications, cutting-edge production and logistics with low environmental impact.

Source: Innovation in Textiles

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National Council of Textile Organizations Announces Officers for 2020

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles from fiber through finished sewn products, held its officer elections for fiscal year 2020. In addition to the appointment of a new chairman and vice chairman, NCTO elected chairs for each of its four councils. NCTO is comprised of four councils to ensure a broad representation of the industry supply chain. Each council has an allotted number of members who are elected to the association’s board of directors, in addition to the executive committee. Elected as NCTO chairman and vice chairman for 2020 are David Roberts, CEO of Cap Yarns and David Poston, president of Palmetto Synthetics, respectively.   Elected to the NCTO board of directors during the various council meetings are the following: Fiber Council-Lowell Bivens of PHP Fibers; John Freeman of Nan Ya Plastics America; Chuck Hall of William Barnet & Son; Rich Lemerise of The LYCRA Company; Alejandro Sanchez of DAK Americas; and Chip Stein of Stein Fibers Yarn Council-Jim Booterbaugh of National Spinning Co.; Tom Caudle of Unifi; Charles Heilig of Parkdale Mills; Peter Iliopoulos of Gildan; Marty Moran of Buhler Quality Yarns Corporation; and Allen Smith of American & Efird Fabric and Home Furnishings Council-Norman Chapman of Inman Mills; Kathie Leonard of Auburn Manufacturing; Chad McAllister of Milliken & Company; Leib Oehmig of Glen Raven, Inc.; Dirk Pieper of Sage Automotive Interiors; and Mike Shelton of Valdese Weavers Industry Support Council-Cyril Guerin of Picanol; Ian Mills of Fi-Tech; and Gary Romanstine of Marzoli. Elected by their respective councils to serve on the executive committee are, Lowell Bivens of PHP Fibers; John Freeman of Nan Ya; Tom Caudle of Unifi; Peter Iliopoulos of Gildan; Norman Chapman of Inman Mills; Leib Oehmig of Glen Raven Inc.; and Ian Mills of Fi-Tech Elected to chair the councils are, Fiber Council: David Poston of Palmetto Synthetics Yarn Council: Marty Moran of Buhler Quality Yarns Corporation Fabric and Home Furnishings Council: Leib Oehmig of Glen Raven, Inc. Industry Support Council: Ian Mills of Fi-Tech;

Source: Floor Daily

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