Why is TTIP paramount for European companies active in the textiles and clothing sector?
The US is not only a big market of 300 million people who praise European fashion, but it is also a significant purchaser of our advanced technical textiles which are used in a wide range of sectors – automotive, building, aerospace, medical, leisure and sports.
We need equally recognised high level standards at both sides of the Atlantic
Both the EU and the US have developed high level standards to ensure proper consumer information and safety, environmental protection and sustainable production. Then, why not to avoid double certification and redundant procedures?
Less customs costs - more investment & business development for companies
The majority of the EU textile and fashion companies are SMEs and they face difficulties with customs red tape on a daily basis. Customs procedures and bureaucratic burdens impede trade. TTIP will help to simplify administrative procedures which currently prevent our companies from reaching the US market despite huge market opportunities.
Opening business opportunities in public sector for technical textiles is a must
Europe is a recognised leader in production of smart technical textiles due to advanced manufacturing technologies and constant innovation of materials and their application. The production of technical textiles in Europe significantly increased over the past ten years. With TTIP, the US public services will be able to benefit from the innovative products manufactured in Europe.
What business think?
‘As a producer of high tech functional materials for clothes, protective workwear and technical applications, we are used to face demanding standards, conformity assessment procedures and certification requirements. The American manufacturers are meeting similar, if not sometimes stricter, requirements. If the EU and the US could at least agree on a mutual recognition as a basic principle in the TTIP, it would ease so much our way of doing business.’
It is crucial to put the standards and regulations of textile goods at the same level on both sides of the Atlantic. In this case, the European textiles and clothing will have easier access the North American market. Another key point is reduction or removal of tariffs, which now range between 20 and 40% for the European textile products. TTIP will provide investors with the right to use dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government, which will remove another unnecessary barrier to trade, both in products and services.
‘The US is a tremendous market with a huge potential. TTIP is of paramount importance for the textile sector. Unfortunately, we are facing major challenges, like high tariffs, costly customs procedures, complex test methodologies and labels’ directions. For example, what in Europe is called ‘elastan’, in the US is known as ‘spandex’ and all labels have to be changed selling to the US market. Exporting to the US is nearly impossible for small companies and the agreement would open the market to many of them.’
What the EU does?
EU position on textiles and clothing in TTIP, European Commission
TTIP: challenges & opportunities for in textiles and labelling, European Parliament
TTIP: The opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, European Commission
‘TTIP and Beyond’ speech of Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade
VIDEO: The German Textile & Fashion Industry supports TTIP