US apparel imports (in square metres) grew 3.4% in December 2016 over December 2015, though falls in the previous six months a 2016 annual fall of 1.1%.
“in Colombia and Guatemala, violence against union leaders” among complaints inadequately investigated, says Government Accountability Office
The US filed on November 3 its submission in its case against Guatemala at the international panel investigating alleged Guatemalan foot-dragging over labour law enforcement.
United States Trade Representative Michael Froman announced on September 18 that the US is resuming enforcement action against Guatemala over its inadequate response to labour abuse claims.
Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA), a US cotton growers’ cooperative “looks forward to refocusing our efforts on our core businesses of cotton marketing, warehousing and software services for our members and customers”, which implies running a Guatemalan jeans factory and a US denim mill were a distraction from servicing its members’ administration needs.
Blaming “falling exports to US” on higher Guatemalan minimum wage and loss of tax concessions. The fall is not immediately apparent in US imports
The Guatemalans have got till April 25 to sort themselves out:
Disturbingly similar, deep rooted, tensions – seldom directly linked to garment industry issues – are at the root of most violence recently disturbing Bangladesh, Cambodia, Haiti, Thailand, Egypt, and Malaysia. There are interesting questions about why similar problems have not hit other major garment manufacturing centres – but at the end of 2013, political violence was probably looking a greater risk for many garment buyers than risks from bad weather, ethical concerns or unpredictable shifts in input prices.
You wouldn’t have thought there’d be many votes in it either way. But interesting that the US Administration is taking Guatemala worker rights more seriously than Japan’s barriers against US-made footwear, or Pakistan’s claim that the War on Terror would be more successfully fought if Pakistani goods had freer access to the US.
In early October, the industry seemed on a cusp.
The latest issue of The Source reports “an explosion” of exaggerated claims of sales decline from factory owners, government ministers and union activists trying to pitch for their pet cause. Too often, these are rebutted by more authoritative information just days or hours later.
Guatemala is debating the future of its garment workers’ minimum wage. But bad reporting is hiding the debate
We were asked it again the other day. “Where’s the next apparel sourcing hotspot?” said a potential new client.
In the small print of a little-publicised US government report may lie the seeds for a whole new set of apparel sourcing problems.