Saturday, November 29, 2008

Business (November 2008)

Burma’s vital garment industry is suffering factory closures and layoffs due to a sharp drop in orders as a result of the global financial crisis. “Orders for new consignments have reduced, and we will see a serious impact by the middle of December,” said Myint Soe, the chairman of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association. The fall in orders could lead to workers being dismissed and the closure of some production facilities. About 30 percent of Burma’s garment exports go to Japan, another 30 percent to the EU and the rest to Latin America, Turkey and South Africa. The industry suffered a setback early this year when South Africa’s largest clothing retailer canceled orders, citing the military crackdown on anti-government protests in September 2007. That ban led to the closure of about 35 factories in Burma. About 100 garment factories remain, employing from 80,000 to 100,000 workers, compared to more than 270 factories before 2003, when the US imposed economic sanctions. Burma earned US $282 million from garment exports in the 2007-08 fiscal year.