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July 25, 2022

The week in review: Myanmar garment sector fragile amid coup

The Myanmar garment sector remains vulnerable and at risk amid the increasingly dangerous and challenging environment the country finds itself in.

By Michelle Russell

The ongoing political situation in Myanmar dominated headlines last week – the country remains an increasingly dangerous environment – and for garment workers in particular, as a result of the military coup, workers’ rights are increasingly affected as the space for trade unions to operate has reduced.

Unions have called for the European Union (EU) to suspend the Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement with Myanmar, given the garment industry remains “a vital source of foreign exchange” for the regime. Yet a spokesperson for the Commission told Just Style that any such action would, in fact, impact “hundreds of thousands” of garment workers, harming the wrong people and hardly affecting military interests.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is continuing to face its fair share of problems. Despite its impressive resilience, and the election of a new Prime Minister last week, longer-term risks to industry health caused by the crisis remain.

Delays in fulfilling orders have resulted in companies offering discounted prices to customers. Uncertainty could lead many consumers to seek alternate sources of supply, while high energy prices have left many small-scale organisations struggling for survival. Yet, in the short term, if Sri Lanka wants to continue to impress, it may require focusing on its strength – underwear. An important sector for the country where others struggle to compete when it comes to quality.

Myanmar EBA arrangement removal would hit 100,000s of garment workers
The European Commission tells Just Style withdrawal of Myanmar’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferences would only add to the economic difficulties its people have faced since the military coup.

Myanmar unions call for suspension of EBA agreement
Unions are urging the European Union to immediately suspend its trade agreement with Myanmar.

What is the long-term outlook for Sri Lanka’s apparel sector?
As Sri Lanka’s ex-prime minister is elected president, Just Style investigates how the country’s political and economic crisis is impacting the apparel sector right now as well as what it could mean in the long-term.

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As the European apparel and textile industry devises its alignment with the looming EU Strategy for Textiles, Just Style speaks with Euratex director general Dirk Vantyghem on the challenges facing the industry and how to overcome them.

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