MGMA in-office pre-intermediate English course

MGMA is now implementing several staff capacity building programs with the intension to offer in the future more proficient services by MGMA for the development of Myanmar garment sector.
These capacity building programs started in January 2017 with a staff capacity assessment workshop for all MGMA staffs, including the Training Centre MGHRDC, and has been facilitated by Myanmar Development Professional (MDP). An English language proficiency assessment test was organized with the British Council (BC).

MGMA’s in-office pre-intermediate English course was completed on 09th Jun, 2017. The course was supported by AVE, for the capacity development of MGMA’s staffs in communicating with international organizations, NGOs, INGOs. Thanks to support from our partner AVE and tutor Ms. Shivani Suresh, MGMA’s staffs have improved their English a lot and now they are confident to communicate effectively with foreign business partners. MGMA will arrange more English trainings in the near future.

MGMA response to “Myanmar Dilemma” report

The MGMA has issued the following response to the extremely inaccurate, misleading and sensationalized report published recently by SOMO, first covered by The Guardian and now covered by Der Spiegel and other newspapers.

We are deeply disturbed that biased, unscientific and in-transparent “reporting” is allowed to be presented as journalism. In fact, the news coverage is not based on first-hand or even second hand observations, but rather relies on unsubstantiated third-hand accounts.

We invite you to read our full response to The Guardian here:

Response to inaccuracies in Guardian article

MGMA’s 3rd Annual Factory Awards Dinner

The MGMA is pleased to once again organize the largest annual business networking event for the Myanmar garment industry. Factories will be honored for achievements in social compliance and manufacturing excellence.

When is it?

Saturday, November 19th

Who is it for?

Hundreds of investors and managers from garment factories, logistics companies, international brands & fashion retailers and other industry service providers.

How much do tickets cost?

20,000 kyats for all MGMA members
35,000 kyats for non-members
With all tickets, buy 4 and get the 5th free!

Where is it?

Rose Garden Hotel Grand Ballroom
#171 Upper Pansodan Street, Yangon

Tickets on sale now at the MGMA office! Or, contact to RSVP.

Poster for MGMA’s 3rd Annual Factory Awards Dinner

Weighing the Pressure – MGMA and KOGAM Report

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 3.16.39 PM

In March 2016, Action Labor Rights (ALR) released a report entitled

“Under Pressure,” which was based on a survey of approximately 1,200
workers at Korean garment factories in
Myanmar. It argued that there was “significant non-compliance on the
part of many Korean factories, particularly with laws on working hours
and overtime.”

The Korean Garment Manufacturers Association (KOGAM) and the Myanmar
Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) acknowledge that there are
compliance issues in a number of garment factories. However, KOGAM and
MGMA believe that “Under Pressure” is not a comprehensive or accurate
portrayal of Korean garment manufacturers in Myanmar.

One of the major findings of “Under Pressure”, on noncompliance on
working hours and overtime, is based on a legal view that the maximum
total working hours per week for
factories is sixty. However, Myanmar’s legal framework allows for a
maximum of 64 hours. If the information collected for “Under Pressure”
is re-examined in light of this, the  compliance of Korean factories
improves dramatically. Based on worker surveys, up to 98% of workers
reported that in an average week, factories complied with the law
about overtime hours. While even a small percentage of non-compliance
is unacceptable, these figures indicate that non-compliance with
overtime regulations is relatively rare among Korean factories.

The research for “Under Pressure” was completed in early 2015, before
the implementation of the minimum wage, so it gives a somewhat
outdated picture of the Korean manufacturers. Since the implementation
of the minimum wage in September 2015, much has changed in the Myanmar
garment sector. In order to show these improvements, KOGAM and MGMA
conducted a rapid survey of Korean garment factories. At KOGAM
factories, the minimum wage has led to significant increases in
worker’s take home pay. In the Myanmar context, these wages are
competitive with many other sectors. Many factories have also improved
in other areas, such as signing employment contracts with workers.

KOGAM and MGMA acknowledge that “Under Pressure” raises a number of
other important issues, and recognizes the need for continued
improvement and dialogue with workers about these issues. Many issues,
particularly around factory health and safety, can and should be
discussed and resolved at the factory level. For all issues, though,
dialogue should come before confrontational public reports and
statements are made. KOGAM and MGMA believe that the best approach is
to dialogue about issues first. KOGAM and MGMA want constructive
engagement with workers and unions, based on factual information,
regular dialogue, and mutual respect for all parties.

Read the full report here: MGMA – Weighing the Pressure

Upcoming events & seminars

There are several exciting events coming up which have been co-organized by the MGMA. All MGMA members are welcome. Upcoming events include:

• “Increasing product value + saving resources with environmental labels & sustainable approaches” – a seminar hosted by SMART Myanmar featuring Dr. Christina Raab from and Julia Bakutis from H&M. Event details: June 17th, 2pm-5pm at Taw Win Garden Hotel. *free-of-charge* RSVP by contacting:

Environmental labels & sustainable approaches (Myanmar language flyer)

Environmental labels & sustainable approaches (English)

• The “5th Annual Garment & Textile Machinery Exhibition” at Myanmar Event Park from June 24th-June 27th. This event is organized by Yorkers and the MGMA. All members and non-members are welcome to attend. *free-of-charge*

• The 2nd Annual “Monsoon Meet-up business networking evening on June 25th from 5pm-7:30pm. This is the 2nd largest event of the year for business networking across the Myanmar garment industry. Tickets are on sale now in the MGMA office. Last year’s event gathered 150 inviduals from about 80 different companies (factories, retailers, machine suppliers, etc). This event is organized by the MGMA and sponsored by Yorkers. Email or call the MGMA office to reserve your ticket.

Monsoon Meet-up 2016 (flyer)

• Later in the year, on November 19th, the MGMA will be hosting our largest annual networking event: The 3rd Annual MGMA Factory Awards Dinner. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for interested companies and event tickets are on sale in the MGMA office starting from late June. Last year’s awards dinner had approx. 250 guests, including factories and service providers from across the entire Myanmar garment industry.

Companies at last year's "Monsoon Meet-up" business networking event.

Companies at last year’s “Monsoon Meet-up” business networking event.

MGMA hiring Association Director

The Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association is seeking a Director to manage the association’s growing office and activities portfolio. Please find a job description here:

Director, MGMA

The MGMA Executive Committee will be conducting interviews for this position in mid-January, with a target starting date of early-to-middle February.

US lifts trade restrictions on Asia World Port

A new policy move reduces the immediate risk for US brands sourcing in Myanmar, but at the same time increases the confusion and almost Kafkaesque complexity of the remaining US sanctions in Myanmar.

US lifts Myanmar port sanctions for 6 months, signal extension possible

Nevertheless, the European Union, Canada and several others continue to offer clear and favorable trade policies towards Myanmar. The EU’s 0% duty for imports of all garment products from Myanmar has resulted in a more than doubling of garment exports to the EU (comparing Q1 2015 with Q1 2014).