Gao Dekang: Government support for garment industry

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Gao Dekang, the deputy to the National People's Congress and chairman of Bosideng Group, sits down with to talk about new bills, Chinese manufacturing and the internationalization of Chinese brands on Mar. 6, 2013.

Gao Dekang, a two-termer of the National People's Congress, considers his title an honor and a responsibility at the same time. He sees it as his duty to make the voices of both the public and the central government are heard by the other one. Gao noted that this year's meetings are obviously more pragmatic and frugal in style.

Gao submitted two bills this year, concerning the development of labor-intensive enterprises and the protection of ancient cities.

"Since the reform and opening up [1978], China has witnessed a rapid growth in economic progress and workers' salaries. The country's garment industry, on the one hand, has to increase its employees' salary; on the other hand, it must improve its economic efficiency," he said.

Gao continued to explain, "Original labor costs were relatively low. In recent years, however, although the workers enjoy higher wages, they make less than average progress in their skills and productivity. This heightens the cost of the processing industry. Therefore, some companies can no longer survive or buy better equipment, and the product's profit shrinks as well. Therefore, it is not surprising that more and more enterprise orders flow to countries like Cambodia and Vietnam, which [still] boast low labor costs."

"Because our cost is getting higher and higher, more foreign orders have been transferred to other countries whose labor costs are low, and some domestic orders have also been devolved to the foreign markets," Gao stressed. "Our country endeavors to become a big manufacturing country. And the garment industry causes little harm to the environment. Consequently, it is necessary for our country to introduce the relevant policies to subsidize and support the growth of the garment industry."

The other bill submitted by Gao regarded the protection of ancient city ruins. "Tourist attractions should not be removed and the cultural heritages which are not tourist attractions should not be destroyed. In order to restore traditional endemic cultural authenticity, historical sites should be duly protected and the damaged ones repaired. For those which should be protected and cannot be demolished, the government should appoint the appropriate subsidies. If the heritage relics were to be destroyed in a thoughtless moment, it would be too late for us to regret.

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