Letter to MPs for Fashion Industry Concerns on Freedom of Movement, Customs Union and Single Market Access.
Many within the fashion industry are very concerned about the lack of clarity within Parliament about business stability and growth.
We at Fashion Roundtable, have created a letter to send to your MP, to highlight your concerns about Freedom of Movement, the Customs Union and potential real barriers to trade post Brexit.
To find your MP, please use the link here: https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
Then you can cut and paste the letter below to email them.
Dear xxx MP (Put the name of your MP),
We are a part of a lucrative UK fashion industry worth well over £28bn, growing at 11% and employing almost 1m. Our growth is the largest in the creative sector, which itself is the largest growing component of the UK economy, now worth over £90bn. However, we are very concerned that the Parliament has not appreciated fully the key issues at stake to the fashion industry here in the UK to remain a global leader, providing jobs, revenue and global reputation as a key innovator.
We note that while the needs of other sectors have been often discussed in the Chamber, those of an industry which makes more than double that of cars, for instance, for the UK economy, has been mentioned once last year in the House of Commons by the Opposition and once in the Lords in a debate in December. Whereas in that same Lords debate, music which makes less than 25 per cent for the UK that does fashion was mentioned three times. The needs of all creative industries need to be understood by our Government, and as the UK enters the EU trade deal negotiations, the need for this understanding and appreciation of our value to the UK's economy as well as cultural and creative worth, have to be implicit to these talks.
We must ask that these key components are acknowledged and factored into any trade deal negotiations.
Remaining within the Single Market is key to our industry. We have a fashion economy based on ease of movement for goods and services. Should the UK decide to leave the Single Market through these trade deals with the EU, not only must Freedom of Movement for creatives at all levels of the industry be factored in, so we can continue to build and grow our trade while exploring new non-EU trade deals; we must have clear reassurances that IP and regulatory frameworks will be maintained once the UK leaves the EU. Loss of Single Market access will diminish our global presence on the international fashion stage, thereby reducing not only our fashion tourism market, but also our reputation in innovations in fashion tech, design and retail. Fashion Roundtable (https://www.fashionroundtable.co.uk) who have been lobbying Government on this, have signed up to the creative industry aligned #FreeMoveCreate http://freemovecreate.org) campaign and we add our support to this concern. The need for EU nationals to be welcomed into the UK to continue to expand our international presence, reputation and value, is inherent to our growing our domestic, international and tourism trade markets. As is the clear need for freedom of movement for UK nationals who work across Europe within the fashion industry.
Also, we would like assurances on whether we are remaining within the EU customs union and that this Parliament fully understands the logistical issues for an industry where the supply chain is international and fluid. One garment and its constituent materials can go in and out of multiple territories from design to delivery. We ask what support is the Government planning to put in place to ensure our future growth and to prevent a talent and economic drain, as working and location within the Single Market and Customs Union becomes far easier and more attractive to fashion businesses, leading to an estimated 35% drop in creative sector business within the UK?
If the UK does leave the customs union the Government needs to be aware of the fact that businesses will need help in adapting to their new exporter/importer status with the EU, this includes: 1) UK businesses must familiarise themselves with the EU`s combined nomenclature. This annually updated document includes product classifications and accompanying tariff rates which will need to be declared when goods are sold to EU member states. As UK companies will become exporters/importers the price of imported goods will increase with the tariff rate and the additional VAT, which is calculated on the duty-inclusive value of the imports. Given that fashion is comprised of many supply chains for any single garment, this is something which we need to be aware of when it comes to pricing our products. 2) Fashion Roundtable also recommend that, if possible, businesses attain an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status (both UK companies exporting to the EU as well their EU counterparts wishing to export to the UK). This provides access to custom simplification procedures and ensures faster transit procedures. What plans are in place from the UK Government to implement mutual recognition of AEO status with the EU and other important markets this for status after April 2019? What plans are there to raise awareness of the importance of AEO amongst UK businesses and will the Government mitigate the costs of meeting the requirements of an AEO status? 3) Will the UK authorities adopt freely available EU online support tools such as the binding tariff information (BTI) system? This will support ease of travel for products through customs. If exporters would like to have legal certainty that they are applying the correct product classification (and tariff rate) to their goods they can either ask through the BTI website customs authorities to confirm the right product category and tariff rate or search the BTI database for previous decision on goods similar to theirs. A BTI decision is, as its name suggests, binding for both the exporter and the authorities for a period of three years. That means that once customs authorities grant a product classification number, exporters must use that. 4) Will the UK be also implementing TARIC, the integrated online Tariff database of the European Union? As this includes the codes of the products, their tariffs, any other levy attached, restrictions etc. It gives all economic operators a clear view of all measures to be undertaken when importing into the EU or exporting goods from the EU.
5) We would like to understand what plans the UK government has in place to ensure that illicit transfer of products and counterfeit goods will not increase and endanger the UK economy during the ‘transition period’? The fashion industry is concerned that at a time when UK-EU business transactions will become exports/imports burdening the customs infrastructure counterfeit operations can take advantage of this increased export/import flow and infiltrate the UK market.
6) Does the UK Government plan to adopt the new anti-dumping policy of the European Union or is considering an alternative approach towards dumping of products?
7) Will European Union Trade Marks (EUTM) and Registered Community Designs (RCD) be converted into equivalent UK national rights automatically without additional fees? Does the UK Government have a plan for mutually recognition of IP and trademark registrations with the EU?
8) What plans, if any, does the Government have for a UK-EU bilateral agreement on access to Horizon2020 (and follow-up programme) participation and the future programmes post 2020?
9) Creative industries rely on the free movement of people. We urge the UK Government to start negotiations on UK-EU bilateral agreement on VISA free access or VISA simplification for short term employment of creative industry professionals.
10) We would like assurances from the UK Government that they are working on a proposal to allow UK businesses duty draw back to refund the duty paid on imported EU goods.
We ask for key assurances on these key points and a clear and transparent discussion of what support will be put in place by the Government, during not only the transition period but post 2020, to support this vital and flourishing industry.
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