The Editor's Page:

By Max W. Sung

Protectionism hunters: This year marks the 46th year of publication of Textile Asia since its debut in 1970. It has also been six years since Textile Asia's founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief, Kayser Sung, passed away. The magazine has continued to publish without interruption, upholding the legacy of Mr Sung.

Kayser Sung came to textile journalism primed from his previous experiences as reporter and feature writer for Reuters, then as managing editor and publisher of the Far Eastern Economic Review. At that time, truthful and objective reporting in Asia was fraught with hurdles. Collecting actual data then was a costly process which not many publishers could undertake, and governments were reluctant to permit critical examination of the state of economic affairs in their countries while politics led some national leaders to disguise or disregard economic realities. In 1964, Mr Sung received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for journalism and literature jointly with Dick Wilson, then editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review. The Magsaysay Award was in recognition of their accuracy, impartiality and continuing search for facts and insights in recording Asia's quest for economic advance. The citation also said: "In their editing of the Review, they have demonstrated that journalism can play a constructive role in fostering healthy growth." Mr Sung once said, "Journalism was my choice of profession because I had strong views on the necessity for an informed public, and consequently for accurate information and for free and, as far as possible, unprejudiced comment."

Mr Sung had researched and written extensively about the rise of the Asian textile industry. In the early 1960s, he edited the Hong Kong Textile Annual and the Asian Textile Annual and Survey. His expertise was sought by the United Nations in 1965 when he was asked to join a four-member textile experts group in a research project on the Asian textile industry for the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE). A collection of his writings on the textile industry has been published in a 2,022-page chronicle, Asia in the Textile World 1950s to 2000. From the prestigious Textile Institute in Manchester, he received the Medal of the Council of the Textile Institute (1983), Companionship of the Institute (1999), and the Honorary Fellowship Award of the Institute (2010), the highest award, for innovative contribution to the advancement of the global textile and clothing industry.

Mr Sung also had a long association with the Hong Kong Economic Association (HKEA) of which he was vice-president from 1966 to 2000, and afterward a member of its executive committee. In 2012, the HKEA introduced its annual Best Paper Award, chosen from articles published in its serial publication, the Pacific Economic Review. The first award was dedicated to the memory of Kayser Sung. Most fittingly, the award went to Michael Dooley (University of California, Santa Cruz), David Folkerts-Landau (Deutsche Bank) and Peter Garber (Deutsche Bank) for their paper "Bretton Woods II Still Defines the International Monetary System" (PEW 14:297-311 (2009). The paper explores how the international monetary system still operates in the way described by the Bretton Woods II framework; failure to identify the causes of the current crisis risks a rise in protectionism that could intensify and prolong the decline in economic activity around the world.

Throughout his career, Mr Sung had been a vocal opponent of textile protectionism, particularly since 1960 when he was commissioned by the Hong Kong Cotton Merchants' Association to compile the history of Hong Kong's textile and clothing industry concerning the course of its textile trade negotiations with Lancashire. After protracted negotiations, the British Cotton Board succeeded in wringing out an agreement from Hong Kong, which set a precedent for India and Pakistan. The Americans sought similar arrangements with Hong Kong and other big textile exporting territories, leading to the Short Term Arrangement regarding Trade in Cotton Textiles and, subsequently, the Long-Term Arrangement. The Multifibre Arrangement (MFA) was introduced in 1974, imposing quotas for developing countries' export to developed countries. Mr Sung was instrumental in collecting and disseminating information that clarified the issues concerning quota restrictions.

He once wrote: "My primary concern was with the obvious derogation from the principles of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the cornerstone of the world's post-WWII prosperity. I also desired fair play for the exporters, which, except for Japan, were all economically backward. Their exports, it was evident, would enable them to buy the developed world's machinery and technology, the less they were allowed to export, the less that developed countries could hope to sell their specialties. Conversely, free trade in textiles would promote the prosperity of all concerned. I, therefore, called constantly for an end to the MFA and reintegration of world textile trade into the GATT system."

GATT was a multilateral agreement among 153 countries for reducing tariffs and other trade barriers and eliminating preferences on a reciprocal and mutually advantageous basis. Within his lifetime, Mr Sung was able to witness the implementation of GATT into the WTO Agreement on Textile and Clothing, and finally, the abolition of quota restrictions on textile and clothing trade beginning on January 1, 2005.

With the elimination of quota restrictions, protectionism in the post-2005 era has taken on more creative forms. Export subsidies and countervailing duties, dumping and anti-dumping tariffs, industry subsidies both direct and indirect, are common, and can be approved by the WTO depending on circumstances. Mr Sung would have a grand time looking at these non-quota protectionist measures and figuring out fair solutions for all parties concerned.











Special Reports

  • Cotton market could remain down with unsteady prices: Cotton prices that had declined from 72.35 US cents a pound in July 2015 to 68.74 cents in September, and then climbed slowly up to 70.39 cents by December, have taken a roller-coaster descent to finish at 60.84 cents by the end of January 2016. This downward slip should have bothered growers and influenced their planting decision. But that was not the case in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly in Australia. The price plunge does not seem to have bothered growers there. Nonetheless, the market is likely to remain downcast in most of 2016. Whether or not this trend will help improve cotton consumption is uncertain.

Asia Spotlight

  • 2014 marked slower growth for textile sector exports: Textile and garment exports keeping upward momentum since 2010, except a minor dip in 2012, saw the growth rate slowing down from 9% in 2013 to 4% in 2014. At the same time, the Asian share of the trade expanded to 60% from 58%.

Products and Technology

  • Hyosung launches creora Fit2 technology for denim: At the November edition of Denim Première Vision in Barcelona, Spain, Hyosung, the largest global spandex producer with the creora brand launched the creora Fit2 technology for extraordinary comfort and fit in denim. High fashion from tuxedo to biker jacket: The American fashion retailer, Express, has unveiled its first high-end capsule collection called the Express 'Edition'.

  • A new traveler for ring spinning: Bräcker, a supplier of rings and travellers for ring spinning systems, has developed a new traveller for what it describes as "challenging spinning conditions."

  • Erdem Collection for Eco-Age: The brand consultancy, Eco-Age, that Livia Firth created to help businesses grow by creating, implementing and communicating bespoke sustainability solutions, has brought out a new collection made of the Bacx fabric that was developed by the Italian company Centro Seta.

  • Giving garments an added festive touch: Karl Mayer has developed a machine that can produce lace which could add an eye-catching festive touch to garments.

  • A software suite for making perfect airbags: Lectra, the integrated technology solutions provider to industries using soft materials - fabrics, leather, technical textiles and composite materials - has unveiled a new laser-cutter and software suite called FocusQuantum that can help suppliers in delivering airbags to carmakers on time and at the right price.

  • Cotton fibre cleaning made easy: Uster Technologies has introduced an innovation called Uster Jossi Vision Shield 2, which can remove all impurities from cotton with the minimum loss of valuable good fibre. Indigo Rope Dyeing machine: India-based Jupiter Comtex that produces and exports warping, sizing and indigo denim yarn and fabric dyeing technologies has developed a new Indigo Rope Dyeing machine, which is technologically different from others.

  • Rotorcraft equipment for compact spinning: The rotorcraft of Switzerland, a leading provider of innovative and high-quality spinning components has introduced an upgraded version of RoCoS HDC (high-density compound) compactors.

  • A cost-efficient version of Athena3: The Greek machine manufacturer Sclavos has launched an advanced version of the dyeing machine Athena3. This latest in the Athena series called Athena3A is equipped to monitoring all utility consumptions, offering a very useful tool for production costing.

  • Cleaning system for large candle filters: The German company, Schwing Fluid Technik, has introduced a new version of its Vacuclean system. This Model 0917 of the Vacuclean offers an automated and safe thermal cleaning process especially designed for large candle filter sets.

  • New card for all kinds of application: Germany's Dilo Group, which is in the field of complete staple fibre nonwoven production lines, has introduced a new card series called VectorQuadroCard (VQC) with variable "intermediate transfer" working width 3.2m.

  • DyStar introduces an intuitive tool: DyStar has introduced an internet-based tool for product selection and process optimisation in the dyeing process. The tool, called Eliot, combines different expert systems and information databases into one comprehensive function for DyStar's customers.

  • Ideal solution for winding machines: Loepfe Brothers has launched an online data management system that can monitor and analyse the quality data from Loepfe yarn clearers. Called MillMaster Top, it provides online data from connected yarn clearers in real-time and it can visualise and analyse quality data from up to 7,200 spindles.

  • Low cost, eco-friendly dyeing option: The Italian chemical company ERCA has introduced an eco-friendly dyeing process called ReactEVO, a simple and efficient process based on a radically new post-treatment concept in dyeing with reactive dyestuffs. Its consumption of energy and water, as well as the treatment time, are significantly low.

  • Innovative denim finishing process: The German company WEKO Weitmann & Konrad, which serves a variety of industries including printing and textile finishing, has developed a denim finishing process that offers WEKO-Triple-C-Effect': contact- free, chemical savings, and cost reduction.

  • Reinforcement for roofing felt: A new generation of reinforcements for roofing felt has come on the market. Called Rotaflam Neo, it is developed by Chomarat, the French manufacturer of different types of textiles, plastic and glass fibres, in collaboration with Germany's Norafin that manufactures fleece liners for fire protective clothing and technical textiles.

  • Sensor-fabrics for smart clothing: Canada's BodiTrak, which has deployed its unique sensor fabric in multiple markets, has now entered the smart clothing industry.

| Home | Subscription | Mission Statement| Advertisements | Next Page |
website and search engine optimization firm