Tuesday 27 February 2018

Fashion Roundtable Press Release On EU and UK Transition and Withdrawal Agreements.


In response to the European Commission`s draft, the UK Government has today published their version of the withdrawal agreement.

The UK Government's document sets no end date to a transitional phase and contains little details on citizens` rights and financial settlement noting that this will be detailed under the Financial Provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement. The UK agrees that EU legislation will continue to be applicable while its representatives will have no vote on the formulation of these legislations recognising that the UK will no longer be a Member State and its legislature will no longer be a national parliament of the EU. 

The UK paper acknowledges that the UK’s domestic law will have to reflects the Union acquis  for the duration of the transition period. The UK also agrees to follow EU decisions on areas where the European Commission has sole competence such as trade. This mean that while the UK could negotiate trade agreements during the transition period, those agreements cannot come into effect until the end of the period.

The UK Government paper also hints at the possibility of opening discussions on regulatory convergence, as it is states that HMG wishes to discuss the means by which Union law will apply to the UK during the Period.  This could be crucial for the fashion industry, which relies on free access to the EU market and the free movement of people. We want to ensure that access to the European market and free movement of people remains unaffected by the negotiations.

Meaning: This withdrawal agreement paper focus on the key political and policymaking framework. The timeline of the transition, regulatory convergence, the role of the various policymaking agencies and the future outlook of security and defense cooperation are some of the main points. Businesses and citizens need more clarity regarding the future relationship in terms of citizens` rights, freedom of movement of people, goods and services.

What does this mean for the fashion industry? Fashion has not been featured in political discussions on Brexit. We at Fashion Roundtable are very concerned that a £28bn UK industry is being overlooked by the UK Government. While certain sectors have received guarantees that in a post-Brexit world their trade will remain unaffected our thriving fashion and textiles industry which is deservedly world-famous, has not.

The prioritisation of one industry above another worries us at Fashion Roundtable, as this implies that the needs of the one sector is already taking priority above other very valuable ones, such as ours'.  

What does this withdrawal paper signal for the fashion industry? The lack of clarity regarding future market access means that we could be looking at more barriers to trade with the EU, our largest trading partner, including customs control, introduction of tariffs, necessity to have a local agent on the ground in the continent and loss of freedom of movement. At the same time the UK will not have the opportunity to advance its trade deals with other third countries as  without clear trading relations with the EU, negotiating trade agreements will become very difficult.

The European Commission is expected to release its guidelines on the future relationship in March. Without clearly defined expectations from the UK Government, the EU will set the terms and conditions as it best suits them. The opportunity is there for the UK government to provide details on market access and freedom of movement that would best represent the interest of its citizens and enterprises.

We at Fashion Roundtable want the best opportunities available to our vibrant, valuable fashion industry, to create long-term and sustainable growth. That's why we are working on our white paper on Brexit now, to lobby for more understanding of the fashion industry by policy makers: to engage and create potential by best advocating our sector needs through these challenging negotiations and beyond.


Today the EU Commission released new documents on how things will change and this one on regulatory issues gives a very good summary: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/slides_regulatory_issues.pdf

Summary of The Recent EU Commission Paper


• UK applies EU acquis and is part of Single Market;

• UK bound by obligations stemming from SPS requirements;

• UK out of EU Institutions and bodies.

Fashion Roundtable Founder, Tamara Cincik, will be speaking on "The Challenges and Opportunities Presented by Brexit for the Fashion Industry" at the ASBCI AGM on 21st March 2018


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