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Industry Talk

Call for greater EU-US cooperation

Authorities should use their full influence to establish a level playing field for the industry across the globe, EURATEX says.

16th June 2021

Knitting Industry
 |  Brussels

Knitted Outerwear

On the occasion of the EU-US Summit in Brussels on June 15th, Euratex, representing the European textiles and clothing industries, issued a statement welcoming the event and expressing hopes that political leaders will launch a new era of closer cooperation across the Atlantic.

Both the Covid19 pandemic and recent geopolitical tensions call for global solutions, Euratex states, and the EU and the US should take a leadership role in developing that new global framework.

EU-US trade in textiles and apparel dropped by nearly 20% in 2020 to just under €6 billion, while imports from other countries, in particular China, have increased spectacularly – by 45% into the EU.

At the same time, global supply chains came under pressure,and access to certain raw materials for the industry became difficult and costly.

Against this background, Euratex stresses that it is not calling for protectionism, but a better functioning of global supply chains, with common rules which are applied by all.

The EU and US authorities should use their full influence to establish a level playing field for the industry across the globe, promoting environmental and social standards. Sustainable and circular textiles should become the norm, contributing to both a greener planet and creating high quality jobs. 

At bilateral level, the EU and US should resume their work on mutual recognition of standards and certification procedures, saving considerable costs for companies while maintaining the highest safety standards. Custom procedures can be simplified on both sides, and joint research, such as into smart textiles, should be promoted.

Euratex also welcomes the recent progress in provisionally eliminating additional duties on several American and European products due to the Airbus-Boeing trade dispute.

It is a very positive sign that Euratex would like to highlight in a particularly difficult context for the textile and clothing industry at European, American and even global levels. Euratex is calling on both US and EU institutions to eliminate such duties permanently and build on a common positive agenda.

“Both the EU and US are developing a new business model for their industries,” said Euratex director general Dirk Vantyghem. “We should make sure these models complement and reinforce each other. If not, we risk losing global leadership, not just in terms of market share but also in terms of values and standards.” 

The European textile and clothing industry is composed of 160,000 companies, mostly SMEs, employing 1.5 million workers generating a turnover of nearly €180 billion. Its exports are worth around €61 billion, and it has a complex and long supply chain, with great interconnection between American and European companies. EU textile and clothing exports to the United States in 2019 reached €6.5 billion and it is the number one non-European export destination.

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