October 18, 2008

Cotton Traders has informed the Burma Campaign UK that it is to pull out of Burma days after a public boycott campaign was launched.

The Burma Campaign UK today welcomed the news that Cotton Traders are to pull out of Burma. The campaign group launched a public boycott against the company on Wednesday October 15th 2008 after a Burma Campaign UK investigation revealed that Cotton Traders were sourcing clothes from Burma. Cotton Traders notified the campaign on Friday October 17th that it would no longer be sourcing clothes from Burma.

“Cotton Traders have made the right decision and pulled out of Burma. However, they should never have been in the country at all. By sourcing clothes from Burma they have helped to fund a dictatorship that uses rape, torture and murder to oppress its own people” said Johnny Chatterton, Campaigns Officer at the Burma Campaign UK.

Cotton Traders Product Director, Paul Hawkins issued the following statement: “No new styles will be placed in Burma and as such Cotton Traders has ceased to source product from Burma.”

The Burma Campaign UK will also be investigating the following companies as they have refused to disclose whether or not they source from Burma: Animal, Bay Trading By Design Plc,  Ciro Citterio,  Etam, First Sport, Intersport, Jane Norman, Jeffrey Rogers, Jo Bloggs, Liberty, Lillywhites, Mambo.

For more information contact Johnny Chatterton, Campaigns Officer on 020 7324 4710

Note to editors:

The British Government has a decade long policy of discouraging trade with Burma and has called on British companies not to operate there. The USA banned imports of clothing from Burma in 2003.

More than 140 major high street clothing retailers, including M&S, Next, ASDA, H&M, Harrods, Debenhams, House of Fraser and BHS, have policies not to source from Burma.

Clothing exports are an important source of income for Burma’s brutal military dictatorship. Burmese trade unions have called on companies not to source clothing from Burma, as clothing exports help to fund the dictatorship. Burma appeals to manufacturers because of its very cheap labour, ban on trade unions and lack of health and safety laws. Factory wages are as low as 5p an hour. A factory employee working 60 hours a week could earn just £3.

The Burma Campaign UK’s report on the role of the clothing industry in financing the Burmese regime is available here:http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/index.php/burma/about-burma/about-burma/coming-clean-british-clothing-retailers-and-burma

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