US/EU Free Trade:
draws up a list of its expectations Euratex
As the conversations concerning free trade between the United States and the European Union enter their 7th round of negotiations, the European Apparel and Textile Organisation Euratex has published a document listing transatlantic constraints currently hindering the sector.
"On both sides of the Atlantic, textile/apparel products are sensitive products, subject to strict security standards which need to be complied with before being put on the market," explains Euratex. "It is the industry's intention to maintain this high level of standards, all while eliminating the unnecessary burdens that hinder this activity."
Among the hindrances raised, Euratex points out that new materials may see themselves designating different official names by Brussels and Washington, making the mandatory labelling of fibres a somewhat delicate matter. Euratex also wishes to leave the choice of where the original label is placed to the discretion of the brands, whereas the United States has strict regulations regarding its positioning.
Moreover, safety symbols have not been standardised in Europe, forcing European professionals to demand a universal information standard. The European wool professionals also wish to see their American counterparts adopt the international "Super S" labelling system rather than their national measuring system.
In terms of safety, Euratex supports the coming together of the tests carried out on children's items, which are already very similar on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition, European silk professionals hope that their material is exempted by the United States from flammability tests, as other textile materials already are.
Naturally, the question of customs pops up. Europeans point out the complexity of the American procedures, a complexity that leads to the use of service providers, which does not totally dismiss the risks of fines, penalties and lateness, boosting export costs by 20%. Euratex is thus appealing for the elimination of the procedure's "oppressiveness" and additional costs.
Finally, Euratex is worried about the free resale of customs information to the United States, making it possible to find out about the competitors in terms of prices, suppliers and quantities. Bringing up a feeling of "industrial spying" among some Europeans, Euratex wishes to see the question addressed by diplomats, to eliminate this "unfair practice".
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