the EU textile strategy

Euratex has just published its Spring Report, which offers a detailed overview of the trade figures for the European textile and clothing industry in 2021.

|24.05.2022| The figures are encouraging compared to the dramatic year 2020, heavily conditioned by the pandemic. The 2022 report reflects that EU exports of textile and clothing items increased by +10.6%; while imports fell -7.5%.

As a result, the EU’s trade deficit improved, although it remains significantly negative (-48 billion euros). In addition, import prices fell slightly in clothing and fell in textiles. This situation followed a sharp drop in Chinese import prices for face masks and protective medical supplies.

The boost in exports was mainly due to the good performance of the Swiss, Chinese and US markets. On the other hand, EU textile and clothing sales to the UK fell sharply (-23%), due to new Brexit requirements, customs delays and trucker shortages. Imports from the main supplier of the EU, China, plummeted -28%; a percentage that corresponds to 13,000 million euros. Similarly, imports of textiles and clothing from the United Kingdom registered a strong decline during the period (-48%, equivalent to -3,000 million euros).

Exports: international panorama

Euratex CEO Dirk Vantyghem says: “The 2021 export figures presented in the Spring Report confirm that Euratex members have gained momentum. Even though energy prices are causing serious disruption, our long-term ambition remains to be a world leader in sustainable textiles.”

The dimension of international trade is, in fact, fundamental for the competitiveness of the European textile ecosystem. For this reason it should be fully integrated into the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles. The Commission insists that “all textile products marketed in the EU are durable, free of dangerous substances, produced in compliance with social standards, etc.”

This is an essential condition to create a level playing field between all textile and clothing companies, regardless of their production base. With €100bn of imports and over 20bn ‘foreign’ textile items put into the single market, this requires a drastic increase in market surveillance, without disrupting seamless supply chains.

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Euratex with Ukraine

Noting the impact of the war in Ukraine, Euratex strongly condemned the Russian aggression and offered support to the Ukrainian textile industry. Ukraine offers valuable sourcing opportunities for European textile and apparel brands, as part of a broader nearshoring trend, which seems to emerge from trade figures.

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