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April 20, 2020

Strategic plan needed for European textile and clothing sector

The European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex) has urged the European Commission to come up with measures to help the sector get through the Covid-19 pandemic, after a survey suggested one in four companies is considering closing down.

By Beth Wright

The European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex) has urged the European Commission to come up with measures to help the sector get through the Covid-19 pandemic, after a survey suggested one in four companies is considering closing down.

In a videoconference last week, Euratex president Alberto Paccanelli explained to commissioner Thierry Breton that a recent survey among European textile and clothing companies showed 60% expect sales to drop by half, while 30% expect a reduction of even 80%. Around 70% of companies have serious financial constraints, and 80% of the sample has a (temporarily) reduced workforce.

In addition, Euratex says production companies report problems in their supply chains, retailers face the problem of a “lost summer season,” and one out of four companies is considering closing down.

“I asked the commissioner to come up with some measures, in the short and longer-term, to relaunch the economy and maintain this close cooperation with representatives of the industry,” Paccanelli said.

Short-term measures required to safeguard the industry include accessing liquidity, re-opening shops as quickly as feasible (to create demand), guaranteeing a smooth functioning of the internal market and avoiding any disruption in export markets.

Euratex said the Commission should also refrain from “adding any regulatory burden in these difficult times.”

In the longer run, meanwhile, a strategic plan is required to support the relaunch of the industry and enhance global competitiveness. “Critical supply chains should be brought back to Europe, and we need to ensure a level playing field on the global market and, especially, on imported goods. Innovation, digitalisation and green economy remain a target for the industry, but they need to be reviewed in light of a relaunch programme for the sector.”

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