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Textiles and clothing

The future of the textiles and clothing in the enlarged Europe

On 29 October 2003, the Commission adopted the Communication "The future of the textiles and clothing sector in the enlarged European Union". How best to give the EU textiles and clothing industry the chances to compete in the face of new and unprecedented challenges is the subject of this Communication.

These challenges are mainly related to developments in its international environment, in particular the elimination of import quotas on 1st January 2005 and the challenges and opportunities of a new round of multilateral negotiations; the evolution of competitiveness factors increasingly associated with innovation, research, skills, quality and creativity; the preparation for EU enlargement both in the present Member States and in the Acceding Countries; and a permanent process of restructuring and modernisation.

If it is the primary responsibility of enterprises to meet these challenges, the role of public authorities is and will remain the establishment of favourable framework conditions in which textiles and clothing - like other sectors - can develop and enjoy the opportunity to compete, domestically and internationally, on an equitable basis.

The Communication is a sectoral application of the EU's industrial and trade policies, taking into account the particular features of the sector. The Commission has carried out a review of its policies and instruments, with the objective of identifying measures or lines of action that can improve the competitive position of the sector. Taken together, they aim at providing to industry and those who work in the sector a clear, predictable and coherent framework so that strategies and investments can be more easily planned for the medium term. Although there may be cases where sector-specific proposals may be justified, the Commission does not call for any subsidies or for a privileged treatment of the sector, or for the replacement of the import quotas by other forms of protection.

The Communication is accompanied by two economic analysis documents (only in English). The first one ("The future of the textile and clothing sector I the enlarged Europe pdf - 364 KB [364 KB] [363 KB] ") examines the structure and the competitiveness of the sector, the second one ("Evolution of trade in textile and clothing worldwide pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] [1 MB] ") analyses the evolution of trade.

In order to follow up on the ideas and suggestions contained in the Communication, the Commission has set up a High Level Group on textiles and clothing. The Group has a mandate to formulate recommendations on concrete proposals and measures to improve the conditions for the competitiveness of the European textiles and clothing industry.

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