Soft goods sourcer Linmark Group, a unit of Singapore-listed Roly International, and the China Textile Information Center's China Social Compliance unit, agreed to establish a joint venture to audit garment factories for WTO environmental and labor standards compliance, the South China Morning Post reported. The JV will audit up to 3,000 firms, a drop in the bucket given the number of garment makers estimates run as high as 600,000. Linmark, once owned by Canada's Hudson's Bay retail chain, will audit all 900 of the companies it deals with supplying retailers like its former owner. Linmark said China has a supply bottleneck to fix: a dramatic rise in orders coming off the back of garment quotas being lifted, and too few compliant suppliers. Hudson's Bay Company President George Heller warned that if Chinese producers thought the West would continue to buy their goods without compliance, "they're in for a shock." The chain currently spends US$600 million on China goods annually.
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