Textiles and clothing is a diverse sector that plays an important role in European manufacturing industry. EU legislation on fibre names and labelling aims to ensure consumer protection and provide correct information to stakeholders. The European Commission is engaged in dialogues with non-EU countries on policy and regulatory issues that affect the textiles and clothing industry.
Textiles and clothing in the EU
Textiles and clothing is a diverse sector that plays an important role in the European manufacturing industry, employing 1.7 million people and generating a turnover of EUR 166 billion. The sector has undergone radical change recently to maintain its competitiveness with a move towards products with higher value added.
Textiles and clothing legislation
Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011 on fibre names, related labelling and marking of the fibre composition of textile products, aligns laws in all EU countries, protecting consumer interests, and reducing the risk of fraud. Other legislation relating to chemicals, toys, and personal protective equipment may also affect textiles and clothing.
Expert group on textile names and labelling
The Commision Expert Group on textile names and labelling provides expertise and advice related to fibre names and labelling.
The EU textile and clothing industry is a leader in world markets. EU exports to the rest of the world represent more than 30% of the world market while the EU Single Market is also one of the most important in terms of size, quality and design. The Commission works to ensure a level-playing field in international trade. It does this at multilateral level through the application of World Trade Organization agreements, at bilateral level through negotiations on Free Trade Agreements, and via dialogues such the Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue on the textile and clothing industry, and bilateral dialogues with Colombia and China.
The European Commission produces a number of studies on textiles and clothing. The studies relate to labelling of textile and clothing products, the link between chemicals and allergies in textile products and the state of the industry in general.
European standards on textiles and clothing
European standards relating to textiles and clothing are developed through technical body CEN/TC 248 of the European Committee for Standardization. The standards relate notably to the determination of size test methods, terminology, minimum performance requirements for certain types of textile products, and environmental aspects of textile products. For example, European standard EN 14682 aims to ensure that children’s clothes are safe with regards to cords and drawstrings.