Guaranteeing level-playing field

European T&C exports in 2019 amounted to 60 billion euros. Europe is the second largest exporter after China in T&C, and 38% of total T&C turnover is sold on global markets. From these figures, it is clear how essential trade is for the sector to grow and flourish.

It is important therefore to guarantee open extra-EU markets, based on free but fair competition.

EURATEX is in favour of negotiating new FTAs and implement the current ones. Free Trade Agreements (FTA) are indeed vital for EU trade, as they proved to boost European products.

EURATEX calls for an EU trade policy that ensures level playing field for all European companies. EU trade policy should focus on bilateral relations with important and stable partners (United States, Turkey, Switzerland and the EUROMED region) but also guarantee multilateral efforts within the WTO. Moreover, trade policy can be more effective if aligned with the industrial strategy and it should include rules on e-commerce and digitalisation.

EU companies should know in advance the conditions to access extra-EU markets and they should not encounter unexpected trade and investment barriers. The “Access2Market” instrument, to which T&C companies contributed by reporting existing trade barriers, is an essential tool in this regard.

EURATEX calls the European Union to strengthen the WTO and to work with countries that respect international rules based trade. The T&C sector needs a system that responds to today’s challenges, which require global solutions.

The WTO must also ensure that technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures are non-discriminatory via the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement.

The absence of a level playing field and fair reciprocity between EU and third country competitors on the EU internal market is a concern for EURATEX. The root cause of this lies greatly on the distortive effects of subsidies which are provided by non-EU governments. EURATEX asks the EU to put in place an instrument that level the playing field, without falling into protectionism or discouraging foreign investment.

For EURATEX, modernized rules of origin should always be linked with companies’ reality. The EU should promote the modernised rules of origin as defined in the 2011 PEM Convention as a basis for other FTA negotiations.

EURATEX believes that the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) regulation should be simple to apply, effective, predictable and with clear indicators on which countries can benefit and in which conditions. So, it will be able to respond positively to the interests of both GSP beneficiary countries and European textile and clothing industries.