April 18, 2007
By PRINCE MOENG
Cape Town – Retailers Pepkor, Woolworths and Foschini had been granted permission to exceed government quotas on Chinese clothing imports, the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu) said yesterday at Fashion Imbizo.
Ebrahim Patel, Sactwu’s general secretary, said the agreements involved union support for applications for extra quotas in return for clear commitments to source clothing and textiles locally for five years, with provision to promote competitiveness in manufacturing.
\”These agreements have allowed us to leverage a two-year quota agreement into a voluntary, five-year local supplier commitment by retailers. The China quota agreement is of short-term duration. We need to use the space to restructure the industry to be globally competitive.\”
Kobus Pienaar, the company secretary at Pepkor, said the firm’s concern after the introduction of quotas was about the capacity of local manufacturers to supply baby wear. Pepkor then engaged with Sactwu and the department of trade and industry (dti) for additional quotas on these goods. \”Sactwu agreed to support an application by Pepkor for additional quota.\”
Tanya Cohen, the head of stakeholder engagement at Woolworths, said the agreement was reached in partnership with the dti, the International Trade Administration Commission of SA and Sactwu. The dti was prepared to support quota relief, provided the retailer demonstrated that it would make a contribution to investment and growth in the local industry, she said.