11th March 2015
China gets excited about free trade agreements
China will accelerate talks over free trade areas, said its Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng on March 8. The country will "will accelerate talks over free trade areas with Japan and...
5th March 2015
US plans for TPP seem to slip further
The US President’s Trade Agenda released on March 4 says “in 2015, [the US] will conclude negotiations with TPP countries.” But the day before, Orrin Hatch, the Republican chairing the Senate Finance Committee, told...
28th February 2015
US government “concerned” over Honduras labour law enforcement
The US Department of Labor (DoL) raised serious concerns on February 27 about the effective enforcement of labour laws in Honduras under the CAFTA-DR labour chapter. This adds to a number of labour rights...
26th February 2015
US now permits Cuban apparel imports – at a price
The US State Department announced on February 13 that import into the US of most Cuban products - including textiles and apparel - is now permitted, with immediate effect. The...
12th February 2015
US and Guatemala exchange arguments over labour rights claims
US submissions in its long-standing labour rights dispute with Guatemala came to light in February Both sides now having sent in written submissions to the arbitral panel adjudicating on US...
12th February 2015
US launches WTO complaint against China’s “Demonstration Bases” export subsidies
In a move probably aimed above all at US politicians, the US government announced on February 11 the first steps in a formal WTO case against Chinese export subsidies for...
17th November 2014
Grandiose trade deals: the puzzling case of the ignored Apparel Periphery
China's November 11 call for a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) seems to add yet another grandiose trade plan doomed for oblivion to a puzzling set of projects which...
11th November 2014
Are we seeing the industry’s first social accountability tipping point?
In the decade or so I've been sharing my views in my monthly FlanaRant, one paradox has particularly puzzled me: Big apparel buyers have consistently laid down tight specifications for...
10th October 2014
Pro-trade lobbyists cause most trade barriers.
Ill-conceived "pro-trade" lobbyists are probably responsible for more trade barriers than the most ardent protectionists. That's what I argue in the latest FlanaRant. And no sooner did the editor at...
16th July 2014
Small factory in Rwanda becomes “next sourcing hotspot” in 24 hours
The Rwandan government announced on July 13 a deal with a Chinese business to set up a 200-employee garment factory in its Kigali Special Economic Zone. Within 24 hours, the...
27th June 2014
Have Bangladesh’s garment makers gone mad?
That’s the only rational explanation for the extraordinary demand by Atiqul Islam, President of the Bangladesh Garment Makers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to prosecute union leaders for subversion. Or if...
26th June 2014
US calls BGMEA quest for “exemplary punishment” of union leaders “unacceptable and outrageous”
In a statement later criticised by the US government as "unacceptable and outrageous", the leader of Bangladesh's main garment making trade association called on June 23 for "exemplary punishment" of...