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Certification update 
 
Last Week, we certified 64 facilities in 14 countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.
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Bangladesh
Bangladeshi RMG workers observe hunger strike demanding arrears and Eid bonus

China
Notice for China 301 tariffs review may bolster apparel exports to U.S.

Ghana
Ghanian apparel industry and women garment workers receive support from USAID

India
RMG exports from India see 16.42 percent growth
Tirupur garment units to go on 6-day strike protesting high cotton prices


Pakistan
Bestseller's Jack & Jones first to use certified Pakistan cotton

Turkey
Turkey trying to regain share in Saudi Arabia's apparel market

United States
New York denim brand showcases how recycled jeans are made
United States imported nearly 25 percent more apparel in 2022 first quarter 


Vietnam
Vietnamese textile and garment sectors sees strong growth
Events
 
WRAP's President and CEO, Avedis Seferian, will be a featured speaker in an upcoming webinar hosted by the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) on the prospective implications of mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence (mHRDD) requirements. 

Click here to learn more and register. 

 

The 2022 Sustainable Apparel Forum
is fast approaching! WRAP is a proud sponsor of this event. Sustainability is a key pillar of social compliance, ensuring longevity for businesses, workers, and
our planet.

Click here to register.

 
WRAP is hosting a couple upcoming training courses. If you are interested in attending, please reach out to our Director, Auditor Training, K.T. Ramakrishnan
 
Lead Auditor Training (in-person)
May 9 — 13, 2022

Vietnam
Lead Auditor Training (in-person)
May 22 — 26, 2022
Bangladesh 
Special content 
 
AAFA's Senior Vice President, Policy, Nate Herman, recently sat down with WRAP's President and CEO, Avedis Seferian, to discuss emerging mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence (mHRDD) requirements in the apparel industry.

Tune in here.

 
AAFA's President and CEO, Steve Lamar, recently sat down with WRAP's President and CEO, Avedis Seferian, to discuss the role of government in the human rights arena, the increased importance of conducting proper due diligence, and what stakeholders can expect from our partnership over the next year.

Tune in here.

 
A joint publication by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and WRAP offers new guidance to understand and eradicate forced labor in the supply chain.

Click here to read.

(Requires an AAFA membership)



 
Learn more about symphonization, WRAP's proposal to reduce audit fatigue and establish a truly harmonious social compliance paradigm.

Click here to learn more.





 
News from the past week 
 
Bangladesh
Bangladeshi RMG workers observe hunger strike demanding arrears and Eid bonus
(The Daily Star, May 3, 2022)
Nearly 700 workers from a garment facility in Narayangang, Bangladesh participated in a hunger strike during a nationwide celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, demanding compensation for their work over the past three months as well as an Eid bonus that was promised by their employer in April. The factory in question, Beka Garments and Textile, is located in the country’s Adamjee Export Processing Zone (EPZ). On Wednesday, April 20, 2022, facility management announced they were positioned to backpay staff all of their missed payments and include the bonuses as a gesture of good will. However, when the workers arrived later that day, the factory had been closed. Since then, they have been protesting in a variety of demonstrations, calling for increased labor protections and accountability, but they have not garnered much support from industry leaders.


China
Notice for China 301 tariffs review may bolster apparel exports to U.S.
(Just Style, May 5, 2022)
The office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has announced that it will notify domestic industries that benefit from tariffs against China of their possible termination. The statement noted the agency will give representatives from these sectors the opportunity to request the continuation of the penalties, which would entail a comprehensive review. Most fashion brands strongly oppose the punitive tariffs, which cover apparel, accessories, and footwear. Removing them would immediately impact the rate of inflation since American companies and consumers are the ones who pay for tariffs, despite the common misconception that they are a tax on foreign suppliers. Additionally, despite this policy, China has remained a leading apparel sourcing base for companies with no practical alternative. Three years into the tariff war, the nation still accounts for nearly 40 percent of U.S. apparel imports in quantity and about one-third in value. Studies also consistently find that American retailers rely on China to fulfil orders requiring a small minimum order quantity, flexibility, and variety in product assortment. If these tariffs are lifted, Chinese manufacturers can likely expect an increase in orders. 

(Article requires paid subscription) 

Ghana
Ghanian apparel industry and women garment workers receive support from USAID
(U.S. Embassy in Ghana, May 5, 2022)
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) West Africa Trade and Investment Hub recently convened representatives from preeminent apparel companies to explore opportunities to accelerate economic growth in Ghana and empower women and women-owned businesses across the industry. The event highlights a major shift underway in the global apparel industry. Buyers are actively diversifying their supply chains and seeking more competitive price points, presenting opportunities for economic growth. The government of Ghana and local industry leaders have signaled their commitment to supporting Ghanaian women, who have proven to be integral to the success of domestic apparel companies like DTRT, Global Mamas, and Ethical Apparel. The event, titled “Empowering Women in Ghana’s Apparel Sector: Challenges & Success Strategies,” featured firsthand accounts of emerging opportunities for the nation to become a major sourcing hub for global garment manufacturing.  There was also a Q&A session on how retailers can better support women and the role of the private sector in advancing gender equity and inclusion.


India
RMG exports from India see 16.42 percent growth
(Fibre2Fashion, May 4, 2022)
India’s exports of readymade garments (RMG) for all textiles in April were worth 1.51 billion USD, a rise of 16.42 percent from 1.29 billion the same time last year. Exports of cotton yarn, fabrics, and handloom products increased 5.05 percent and the country’s merchandise exports rose 24.22 percent in the same time. Merchandise imports were worth 58.26 billion USD — an increase of 26.55 percent. According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the trade deficit in April was 20.07 billion USD. The value of non-petroleum exports, including apparel and footwear, was 30.46 billion USD (a 12.32 percent growth). The value of non-petroleum imports was 38.75 billion USD, a growth of 9.87 percent over similar imports worth 35.27 billion in April of last year.

Tirupur garment units to go on 6-day strike protesting high cotton prices
(Business Standard, May 4, 2022)
The Tirupur Garment Owners Association has announced that local garment facilities, located in what is widely recognized as the “garment capital of South India,” will close from May 16 ⁠- 21, 2022 in protest of the rising price of cotton yarn, which has increased by Rs 40 (or .52 USD) since the import duty on cotton was reduced. The (mostly export-oriented) manufacturers are worried that the hike in cotton yarn prices will adversely affect their business and feel a six-day production hiatus may compel reforms from the government. Their facilities bring in approximately Rs 36,000 core (approximately 4.68 billion USD) each year to the country’s overall economy. Local cotton mills increased the price of yarn by Rs 50 (.65 USD) per kilogram in November 2021 to a flat rate of Rs 350 (4.55 USD) per kg. When the government of India reduced the import duty, industry leaders were expecting costs to decrease. Instead, mills have increased the price of cotton by Rs 40 (.52 USD) per kg, and many factories are now unable to afford it. 


Pakistan
Bestseller's Jack & Jones first to use certified Pakistan cotton
(Just Style, May 3, 2022)
Danish fashion retailer Bestseller claims its Jack & Jones brand is the first to use certified in-conversion cotton from Pakistan in collaboration with its long-standing supplier and partner Artistic Milliners. One year into the Milliner Organic Project, the first crops from the organic farms of Kohlu, Balochistan have been harvested and passed the requirements set by the Control Union Certifications (Rotterdam, Netherlands) as “in-conversion” cotton, meaning the retailer is in the process of becoming organic. Milliner Organic secures farm-to-fashion traceability and works in a direct-to-farm approach that focuses on procuring cotton. The approach is said to benefit the entire community through farmer trainings and improved livelihoods. The project aims to transition from Milliner Cotton Organic to the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) Farm Engagement and Development (FED) program. OCA is a multi-stakeholder organization that is fully dedicated to organic cotton. Artistic Milliners is the first private sector investor in organic cotton cultivation in Pakistan. The project includes 2,000 farmers operating nearly 9,300 acres of land and is expected to transform the Pakistani cotton sector.

Turkey
Turkey trying to regain share in Saudi Arabia's apparel market
(Fibre2Fashion, May 4, 2022)
Turkey is a major supplier of garments and textiles to Saudi Arabia, but trade between the two nations has declined since 2018 due to diplomatic tension and an unofficial boycott of apparel exports by Saudi Arabia. In 2019, Turkish garment manufacturers exported apparel worth 268.61 million USD to Saudi buyers, which decreased by 35 percent to 172.87 million USD in 2020. Then in 2021, those exports dropped another 90 percent to 14.42 million USD. This steep decline underscored the evolving tension between the nation’s competing markets, which was exacerbated by Turkey’s apparel imports from Saudi Arabia declining at a similar rate. Incoming shipments dropped to 1.61 million USD in 2019, then to 1.43 million in 2020. However, the nation is taking steps to signal its intention to build relations with Saudi Arabian manufacturers, and over the past year, apparel imports from Saudi suppliers increased approximately 70 percent to 2.45 million USD. Those efforts were reciprocated, and in just the first quarter of this year, Saudi Arabia’s garment imports from Turkey increased 25 percent. Now, leaders from both countries are voicing commitments to improve relations. 

United States
New York denim brand showcases how recycled jeans are made
(Forbes, May 3, 2022)
DL1961, a denim retailer based in New York, has announced it will show how old clothes and scraps can be turned into a new pair of jeans at the Frieze convention in London. The brand is looking to manufacture environmentally conscious denims. Their facility in Pakistan operates on renewable energy, recycles water, and opts for more eco-friendly dying techniques. DL 1961 is one of the only vertical denim brands in the world, overseeing the entire production process from fiber to finished garment. Instead of releasing sustainable capsules here and there, every single item they produce is 100 percent sustainable. Unlike many brands that work with manufacturers overseas, DL1961 is a family-owned business and functions as an extension of its Pakistani denim plant. This dynamic allows the brand to be flexible and experiment with materials, dyes, and finishes more easily than most international operations would allow. 

United States imported nearly 25 percent more apparel in 2022 first quarter 
(Sourcing Journal, May 5, 2022)
Led by large increases from Bangladesh and Indonesia, U.S. apparel imports rose 24.72 percent in the first quarter of 2022 to 8.35 billion square meter equivalents (SME), compared to the same period last year. Bangladesh is the second largest supplier to American brands and retailers. According to the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA), Bangladeshi exports jumped 50.12 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2021. Apparel imports from the nation’s top sourcing destination, China, were up 25.64 percent. This growth is despite ongoing tariffs and continuing efforts from sourcing executives to diversify their supply chains and minimize their reliance on Chinese manufacturers. The renewed push for nearshoring was underscored by increases in imports from the rest of the Top 10 suppliers. Mexico’s imports to the U.S. were up 11.87 percent, while Honduras and El Salvador saw increases of 9.21 percent and 7.41 percent, respectively. 
(Article requires paid subscription)

Vietnam
Vietnamese textile and garment sectors sees strong growth
(Vietnam+, May 3, 2022)
The Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) has witnessed a revenue increase of 144.2 percent to more than 5.15 trillion VND (or 224.26 million USD) in the first quarter of 2022. During that time, the organization earned a pre-tax profit of 376.7 billion VND (16.4 million USD), a 173.9 percent jump since the same period last year. The nation’s apparel industry saw significant growth. The garment sector saw profits increase 139 percent, while the garment sector’s revenue was recorded at 167 percent, compared to the same period last year. Industry experts attribute this growth to the nation’s COVID-19 policies as well as the stable prices of local cotton and labor costs, issues which are impacting many other sourcing destinations’ production outputs right now. This year, Vinatex plans to speed up digital innovation and improve its operating efficiency. It has completed 63 percent of its annual target for textile production and its garment manufacturing facilities have returned to pre-pandemic capacity. Now international buyers are returning to Vietnamese facilities in the wake of the pandemic with ambitious orders. 

 
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