News Search

Kenya: 2,000 Jobs Lost in Textile Industry

Manufacturers want a leeway for textile firms to peg wages on performance rather than the minimum wage set by the Government.Kenya Association of Manufacturers, the sector's umbrella organisation, said yesterday that the textile industry may collapse unless its labour costs are reduced.Local textile firms are feeling the effects of the quota system scrapped by the World Trade Organisation in January. For the last three months 2,000 people have lost jobs, while at least six textile companies have closed their doors in the country.The removal...

03 June 2005

United States Pleased With COMESA

The United States Assistant Trade Representative for Africa, Florizelle Liser, has said that her country is pleased with COMESA work. "What COMESA is doing is really important. It is one of the most impressive and best run regional organisations," Liser said, while recognizing the COMESA leadership for its focus determination and vision. Liser, who deliberated on preferential market access, said that COMESA countries have over 98% duty free access to the USA market because of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). She however,...

03 June 2005

US Curbs on Chinese Textiles bring little Relief for Africa

US curbs on Chinese textile exports will give only temporary relief to African producers, so Africa must implement economic reforms to help firms make more competitive garments, a U.S. trade official said yesterday.Sub-Saharan African states have seen their textile industries grow sharply in the last five years thanks to a preferential trade deal with the United States, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).AGOA provides the poor countries with duty and quota-free access to the $11 trillion US market.But that advantage is under...

02 June 2005

China Scraps Textile Export Tariffs

China says it will remove export tariffs on 81 categories of textiles that were introduced at the start of 2005 and will also cancel tariff increases on 74 products planned to start Wednesday, according to the Chinese Ministry of Finance.The unexplained announcement is a turnaround from China’s pledge to push up tariffs on 74 products from 1 June onwards.China imposed duties on a range of textile goods on 1 January in an attempt to prevent the US and the EU from introducing protectionist measures to stop a surge in cheap exports after...

31 May 2005

Kenya: President Moves to Protect EPZ Jobs

President Mwai Kibaki last week moved to protect about the jobs in Export Processing Zones (EPZ) as George W. Bush assured textile exporters to the US that all was not lost following the expiry of the Multi-Fibre Agreement in January.Mr Kibaki asked the Ministries of Finance and Trade and Industry to consult with EPZ operators to stem the "real threat" to 40,000 local jobs in Kenya's garment and apparel industry, due to rising exports to Europe and the US from Asia. The rise in Asian exports has begun to erode African cloth makers' share of...

30 May 2005

AGOA Lights a Fire Under Africa's Exports

Exports from the 37 African countries eligible for duty-free exports to the US under that country's African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) jumped 88% to $26,6bn last year over 2003, says the latest Agoa annual report, submitted to the US congress by US President George Bush yesterday.US exports to sub-Saharan Africa rose a quarter to $8,6bn, according to the report released by the US Bureau of International Information Programmes.The figures support the widely held view in the US and Africa that the five-year old Agoa initiative has been...

24 May 2005

African Garment Makers Form Regional Body

Sub Saharan African textile and garment manufacturers will form a regional body to counter the effects of competition from China and the imminent expiry of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). The plan to create an industry body was endorsed by Comesa and the East African Community (EAC) at a cotton and textile executive summit in Nairobi last week.The event was organised by the Regional Agricultural Trade Expansion Support Programme (RATES), a US Agency for International Development (USAid) funded project in collaboration and with...

24 May 2005

China Raises Tariffs On 74 Groups Of Textiles

China said today that it will up tariffs on 74 categories of textile exports in response to protectionist action by the US and EU to curb the increase in Chinese exports.The Chinese Ministry of Finance said that tariffs would be increased on 74 different textiles, beginning on 1 June.Most of the categories – which include trousers, T-shirts and underwear - will be subject to an increase of 1 yuan per unit from 0.2 yuan, with the largest tariff being 4 yuan."The decision was approved by the State Council”, the ministry said in a statement...

20 May 2005

2005 US-Africa Trade Report Released

Today [May 19th], the President submitted to Congress the 2005 Comprehensive Report on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy for Sub-Saharan Africa and Implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Title I of the Trade and Development Act of 2000, states that the President shall submit such reports annually through 2008. The report is on the progress of AGOA implementation and general trade and investment developments between the United States and Africa.Highlights from the 2005 report: ...

20 May 2005

United States: Govt Approves Four More Safeguards On China

Less than a week after announcing the re-imposition of quotas on three categories of Chinese textile products, the US Commerce Department on Wednesday instituted so-called safeguard measures on another four product groups.The latest measures cover men’s and boys’ cotton and manmade fibre shirts (category 340/640), manmade fibre trousers (category 647/648), manmade fibre knit shirts and blouses (category 638/639), and combed cotton yarn (category 301) – worth around $914 million in imports from China.The Committee for the Implementation...

19 May 2005

Ghana: Textile Industry to Be Revamped

In a bid to revamp the textile industry in Ghana, the ministry of Trade and Industry has introduced new guidelines to curb smuggling of cheap and low quality textiles.Among the measures that the minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Alan Kyeremanten announced yesterday at a press conference in Accra was the creation of the Takoradi Port as a new single import corridor for all African Textile Prints (ATP) coming into Ghana. "All imports of African prints in commercial quantities shall be restricted to only Takoradi Port.""What this effectively...

19 May 2005

Nigeria: 100 Textile Factories Closed, 50 in Distress

The textile sub-sector appears to be on the verge of final collapse as the workers have announced that 50 other factories currently in distress may close down operations unless urgent fiscal measures are adopted by government.Already, National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers had said 100 factories had been shut down since the country joined the World Trade Organisation which paved the way for the liberalisation of trade in Nigeria.They noted that only ten out of the 150 factories which existed in 1999 are in stable...

19 May 2005

China Fights Back on Textiles

China slammed the United States and European Union on Wednesday for "unfair" and "protectionist" actions to counter its booming textile exports, while dismissing claims it manipulated its currency to gain an unfair trade advantage.Commerce Minister Bo Xilai blasted developed countries for arguing for global standards on free trade when they enjoyed absolute advantages but then placing restrictions when their interests were threatened.Under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, such "double standards are not allowed," he said.The US and the...

18 May 2005

South Africa: New IDZ Nets Investor for Textile Park

Coega Development Corporation (CDC) has finally signed its first investor for the Port Elizabeth-based harbour project, the company said here on Wednesday.Belgian-owned Sander International Textiles has signed a 20-year lease with Coega. The investment with Coega is worth R200m, said Vuyelwa Qinga-Vika, spokesperson for CDC.Sander International RSA will occupy 10ha of the 40ha allocated for the textile cluster.The CDC had been unsuccessful in their attempts to get investors to commit to the project in the past.Signing with the project's...

18 May 2005

South Africa: Retail Sector Spurns Union's Textiles Buying Code

Leading clothing retailers Foschini, Woolworths, Truworths and Edcon have rejected the Congress of South African Trade Unions' (Cosatu's) demand that they sign a code committing them to procuring 75% of their products locally. Cosatu said last week it was going to organise mass action against retailers after their refusal to sign the code, which it said would ease the pressure on the SA's clothing and textile industry. Last year alone, the industry shed about 16,500 jobs through retrenchments, closures and liquidations, the South African...

17 May 2005

Kenya: Quota Erosion Threatens Kenyan EPZs

A further erosion of the 39,000 textile manufacturing jobs created in Kenya during the four years that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) has been in effect is likely to happen following the expiry last January of the Multi-Fibre Agreement (MFA) that placed quotas on exports from individual countries to the US market.The extent of the losses was to be known last month since most EPZ textile firms confirm orders for the year in April, but the Chinese threat appears to have been overstated, according to Export Processing Zones...

16 May 2005

US Slaps Quotas on Textiles

The United States late on Friday re-imposed quotas to curb a flood of Chinese textile imports, a move likely to sharply escalate trade tensions with the Asian giant.Under pressure to preserve thousands of jobs, the US government's Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) said it was re-imposing a quota on three categories of Chinese textiles."Today's action by CITA demonstrates this administration's commitment to levelling the playing field for US industry by enforcing our trade agreements," Commerce Secretary Carlos...

15 May 2005

Botswana: Stiff Trade Competition Lamented

President Festus Mogae and visiting Lesotho Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili have lamented the difficulty of African goods accessing American and European markets because of stiff competition from other continents like Asia.They were addressing a joint press conference at the end of a three-day state visit by Mosisili, who returned home yesterday afternoon.The two said that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has terminated the quota system and treats all countries as equal contrary to the situation on the ground. They said they have sought...

13 May 2005

Angola: Private Sector needs to learn more about AGOA

The Angolan ambassador to the USA, Josefina Pitra Diakité, said today, here, that the Angolan businessmen should learn more about the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in order to expand their business and benefit from aid. The diplomat who was speaking at the end of a lecture on business, promoted by the Angola-USA Chamber of Commerce, defended the need for the national private sector to know better the opportunities that AGOA offers to the companies to recover the lost time. According to Josefina Diakite, who moderated the theme...

06 May 2005

US Throws Lifeline to Kenyan Textile Industry

America’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) that gives African exporters duty free access to the US market is under threat.Four months after the World Trade Organisation phased out the international agreement that assigned quarters in the global trade in textiles, it is emerging that increased competition has eroded most of the benefits that exporters enjoyed under Agoa.A number of textile-manufacturing companies in the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) have closed shop leaving 6,000 people jobless.Kenyan exporters have particularly...

05 May 2005

AFRICA: Regional Body to Counter Cheap Textile Imports

Sub-Saharan African textile and garment manufacturers are set to develop a regional trade association in response to heavy competition from low-cost Asian producers in a quota-free global market, an industry insider told IRIN.The idea of the new body was agreed at a Regional Cotton and Textile Executive Summit, held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, last week. The conference was organised by the Regional Agricultural Trade Expansion Programme, a US Agency for International Development-funded project."An interim steering committee has been set...

03 May 2005

Kenya: Firms Reeling From Loss of Textile Quota System

Kenyan textile firms are feeling the effects of the quota system which was scrapped by the World Trade Organisation in January, according to a new government report.For the last three months 2,000 people have lost jobs while at least six textile companies have closed their doors in the country.The removal of the quota restrictions under the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) 30-year-old Multi-Fibre Agreement (MFA) mean that poor African producers are no longer protected from stiff competition that the Asian mass producers pose.The Export...

03 May 2005

Lesotho's Clothing Trade Cuts a Dash

The antiglobalisers who blame the rise of world brands for every modern ill, including the increase in labour exploitation, should take a close look at the reality of clothing manufacture in southern Africa. Socially responsible sourcing of clothing by big companies in the west may yet help the region weather the pending wave of Chinese clothing exports into the developed world.Labour conditions have changed significantly for the better in southern Africa's apparel industry, much of it driven by the effort and vigilance of big brands such as...

03 May 2005

Nigeria Yet to Tap Agoa Benefits

Nigeria has not cashed in on favourable export of products to the United States under the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) a US embassy senior economic officer, Lawrence Walker said.In a weekly briefing initiated by the US embassy, Mr. Walker said that Nigeria can be comparably competitive in exporting non-oil products like apparel-clothing and textile products- and agricultural products.Nigeria was issued export clearance of fabric and textile products in July 2004 which is to expire in 2007.Mr. Walker said that with the opportunity,...

02 May 2005

Kenya: Apparel Firms Face Stiff Competition

Operators within the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) are facing financial hardships, thanks to reduced orders from American textile dealers.Since January, the apparel manufacturers have been counting every order from the US as a blessing because of the surge in Chinese exports that is threatening companies in developing countries, after export quotas were lifted at the beginning of this year.Eight EPZ firms have folded since and four others are set to call it a day, according to industry sources.Mr Bandu Udalagoma, the managing director of...

01 May 2005

Kenya: A Murky Future for Textile Workers

The silence in the room was deafening. Thousands of sewing machines lay unused in one of the production units at Upan Wasana, a textile factory located in Ruaraka, on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.The reason for this inactivity: something Kenyans are calling the "Chinese tsunami".Following the conclusion of the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) Multi-Fibre Agreement on Dec. 31, 2004, Upan Wasana has experienced severe difficulty in competing with lower-priced goods produced in China.The agreement was set up in 1974 to give...

01 May 2005

African Textile Industry Looks to EU, US for Help

Faced with factory closures and job cuts, African textile players said on Wednesday that they hoped action to limit China's textile exports would give them time to develop their industry.Both the US and EU are looking into limiting Chinese textile imports, which have surged since the end on January 1 of a global quota system that also helped Africa's textile sector grow rapidly thanks to greater access to key US and EU markets.Many of the factories were set up by Asian companies to take advantage of those trade breaks, but the end of the...

29 April 2005

Clothing Sector: China Warns on Action Against its Textile Exports

China on Friday stressed its opposition to any measures by the United States and Europe to restrict its booming, multi-billion dollar textile exports."Our position is already well known," Zhang Lei, a spokeswoman at the Ministry of Commerce told AFP when asked about US and EU moves Thursday to start proceedings that could limit Chinese textile exports in an effort to protect their domestic industry.Zhang made no further comment but in the past week a series of senior Chinese officials have sharply criticised efforts to limit Chinese textile...

29 April 2005

Growing Chinese Exports Menace Africa Textile Firms

Faced with factory closures and job cuts, African textile players said on Wednesday they hoped action to limit China's textile exports would give them time to develop their industry.Both the United States and European Union are looking into limiting Chinese textile imports that have surged since the end on January 1 of a global quota system that also helped Africa's textile sector grow rapidly thanks to greater access to key US and European Union markets.Many of the factories were set up by Chinese and other Asian companies to take advantage...

29 April 2005

USA: Appeals Court Lifts Ban On Threat-Based Textile Safeguards

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit yesterday lifted an injunction that prevented the US government from ruling on the 12 threat-based China safeguard petitions filed by the US textile industry in 2004.The injunction, which was issued by the US Court of International Trade, has delayed the US government from considering the threat-based cases for four months.With the injunction now lifted, the US government can rule immediately on the threat-based safeguard cases filed on categories where the public comment period has already...

28 April 2005

US Provides Aid Towards COMESA Garment Centre

The US Government has committed Sh2.6 billion to support textile exporters under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). Through the US Agency for International Development (USAid), the US government will build a manufacturing training centre in Kenya to cater for eight African countries within the Comesa region. Speaking in Nairobi yesterday during a one-day seminar, US top officials led by Greg Howe, the USAid Regional Sector Advisor, said the centre would help build competitiveness among players to enable them compete in an...

27 April 2005

End of Export Quotas Spell Doom for African Textiles

Textile production often plays a major role in the initial stages of an industrial development process in low-income countries. The usual attractions of textiles for developing countries are that wage costs are low, skill levels required are not too high and, being a labour-intensive industry, it helps to reduce high levels of unemployment.The outstanding success stories in textiles in Africa are Mauritius and, most recently, Lesotho. Mauritius started early and cashed in on the desire of Hong Kong investors to move elsewhere during the...

25 April 2005

Southern Afica: Textile Firms Fighting for Survival

Southern African textile firms are feeling the effects of the quota system which the World Trade Organisation lifted in January.To fend off the effects, textile managers are lobbying their governments to improve the climate for doing business in the 13-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC).By improving the business climate, they hope that their governments' action would boost the competitiveness of the region's industry on the global textiles market.The removal of the quota restrictions under the World Trade Organisation's...

23 April 2005

Namibia and the Textile Industry: Golden Fleece or Threadbare Hope?

As thousands of textile workers in southern Africa started losing their jobs during January because of the World Trade Organisation liberalising the market, questions began mounting over whether Namibia will face the same fate.Already one factory within Namibia's nascent textile industry has closed down.Speculation is rife that other investors could follow suit as they pursue greener pastures and bigger profits.For Government, the dream of the textile industry becoming a major player in the country's economy lives on.By the same token...

22 April 2005

South Africa: Clothing Sector Looks at Supporting Smaller Enterprises

The beleaguered clothing and textiles sector, which is losing jobs at an alarming rate as it battles to compete against cheap imports, is piloting a locally developed programme designed to make small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) in the sector more sustainable and productive.SMME Potential will be launched later this month at 10 companies within the Clothing, Textiles, Footwear and Leather Sector Education and Training Authority (CTFL Seta).The pilot phase will take place in the especially hard-hit Western Cape before being rolled...

21 April 2005

Uganda: Tri-Star Export Revenue to Reach $11m

Apparels Tri-Star expects to increase its turnover to $11m (sh19.6b) this year, up from last year's $6m (sh10.6b), a top official said on Friday."Maybe this is just a small drop in the ocean, but we feel it is something," Velupillai Kananathan, the managing director, said.He was speaking during a tour of the Bugolobi-based factory by some students of UPDF's Senior Command and Staff College Kimaki.Lt Gen David Tinyefuza led the group.The college's commandant, Maj Gen Ivan Koreta, attended.Tinyefuza said the tour was part of the course...

18 April 2005

Chinese Textile Exports Soar

Beijing - China's textile exports soared 29% in the first three months of the year, fueled by a steep hike in exports to the United States, government statistics showed on Monday.In a statement on its website, the ministry of commerce said US-bound textile exports jumped 258% since the end of the global quota system on January 1.It said exports of cotton trousers, cotton knit shirts and underwear, which are now the subject of a US investigation for possible market disruption, rose 1 574%, 595% and 742% respectively in the January to February...

11 April 2005

Namibia: The Ramatex Saga - An Analysis

Over the past few weeks, Ramatex made headlines again as its subsidiary Rhino Garments reportedly plans to retrench workers due to a lack of orders from its customers in the USA. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry hastily pointed fingers to the International Textile, Garment, and Leather Workers Federation (ITGLWF) and "people who want to destroy the nascent African textile industry." The Permanent Secretary further alleged that there were "local players chasing away our markets" and that the letters sent by the...

08 April 2005

Kenya: Textiles Lift US-Kenyan Trade

Trade between Kenya and the United States surged last year, reaching $750 million, nearly 60 per cent more than the 2003 volume.However, much of the growth was due to Kenya's textile exports to the US, which rose by 41 per cent, thanks to the duty-free terms of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).AGOA-eligible exports were worth $271 million last year, compared with $181 million in 2003.Imports from the US grew even more rapidly, however, by 100 per cent - mostly in the form of Boeing aircraft sales to Kenya Airways. In 2004,...

07 April 2005

Namibia: Ramatex Subsidiary Rhino Garments to Shut

More than 1 600 workers at the Rhino Garments factory in Windhoek will lose their jobs when the factory closes at the end of this month.The Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) announced yesterday that it had been informed of the closure after months of "speculation, denials and allegations" about the future of the Ramatex subsidiary.Rumours that it would shut up shop started circulation as early as January.At a press briefing in Windhoek late yesterday, Nafau Acting Secretary General Kiros Sakarias said the union would negotiate...

05 April 2005

Namibia: Windhoek Maintains Ramatex a 'Blessing in Disguise'

The Windhoek City Council is attempting to smooth over reports that it overspent on its budget to provide the Ramatex Textile Factory with electricity.In an agenda item titled 'Ramatex - Electricity A Success' the City Council said at its monthly meeting on Wednesday that the public needed to know that the electricity installation at Ramatex had been done "well below budget cost and that the installation not only benefited Ramatex but also the city as a whole".A month earlier, the Council approved electricity infrastructure over-expenditure...

01 April 2005

Namibia: Rhino garments Denies Closure

Namibia's Ministry of Trade, Ramatex management and the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) have dismissed media reports that Rhino Garments, a subsidiary of the Ramatex textile company, is closing its doors.Nafau organiser John Paporo told reporters in the capital on Thursday that media reports to that effect were not true.On Wednesday, Rhino Garments had to call in the Police when some of its close to 1 700 workers demonstrated after reading in the paper that the company was closing.Paporo admitted that the company was...

29 March 2005

USA: Court Ruling Delays Threat-Based Textile Safeguard Cases

A court ruling has delayed any final judgment on the US government’s motion to halt the preliminary injunction imposed on threat-based safeguard cases for at least six weeks. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit wants to wait until a merits panel of judges is formed on April 28 to review the underlying appeal to overturn the injunction itself. Oral arguments for that appeal are scheduled for May 5.Furthermore, the merits panel is under no deadline to issue a ruling on the motion to stay once it is assigned the case. The Federal...

24 March 2005

Namibia: Factory Closure to Affect 11,000

About 49 Namibian service providers stand to lose their businesses with the threat of closure of the Rhino Garments textile company in April.This will bring the total number of job losses to around 11 000, warned An-drew Ndishishi, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.Rhino Garments, which is a subsidiary company of Ramatex Namibia, is in the process of wrapping up its business in Namibia, after losing out on USA buyers who are under pressure not to buy Namibian garment products, because of letters sent by union...

24 March 2005

USA: Court Ruling Delays Textile Safeguard Cases

A court ruling has delayed any final judgment on the US government’s motion to halt the preliminary injunction imposed on threat-based safeguard cases for at least six weeks. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit wants to wait until a merits panel of judges is formed on April 28 to review the underlying appeal to overturn the injunction itself. Oral arguments for that appeal are scheduled for May 5.Furthermore, the merits panel is under no deadline to issue a ruling on the motion to stay once it is assigned the case. The Federal...

24 March 2005

Namibia: Ramatex Subsidiary to Close Down

Rhino Garments, a subsidiary of Ramatex Namibia, is closing its doors in April 2005.The company that employs 1 700 workers gave notification and warning of possible closure to the Ministry of Trade and Industry this month. The future of its employees is still not known.It has complained that it no longer has a market for its products and therefore there is no reason to continue operating in Namibia.In a letter to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the company has also asked the ministry to help in the retrenchment of workers as from...

23 March 2005

South Africa: Clothing Crisis Jeopardises Jobs

A crisis had been reached in the clothing industry in Durban where, by June, 8 000 jobs would have been lost in 18 months, representing 40 percent of the industry's employment in the metro area, Len Smart, the executive director of the Natal Clothing Manufacturers' Association (NCMA), said at the weekend. Five thousand jobs have already been lost in the clothing industry in Durban over the past 15 months.Gert van Zyl, the executive director of the Cape Clothing Association (CCA), said the commercial viability of Western Cape clothing...

22 March 2005

Uganda: US Trade Experts Hail Textile Factory

Apparels Tri-Star is on track with the objectives of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), US government trade experts have said.Nannette Christ and Cindy Cohen, from the US's International Trade Commission said this while touring the factory in Bugoloobi yesterday. The duo are on a study tour of AGOA-eligible sub-Saharan African countries."Apparels Tri-Star is a huge high-class factory," Christ said.The duo said the dormitories and the dinning hall of the factory are better than those in Boston where they live.They will visit...

09 March 2005

Chinese Apparel Exports To US Surge 546% In January

According to Chinese Customs data, exports of major apparel products from China into the US market increased by an average of 546 per cent in January 2005 over January 2004.The figures, which show the impact of China’s release from quota control as a result of joining the World Trade Organisation, also highlight the fact that Chinese prices have fallen by as much as 45 per cent. The largest export increases were in cotton knit shirts and trousers, which were up 1,836 per cent and 1,332 per cent respectively.China shipped nearly 27 million...

08 March 2005