Since the EU referendum, UKFT has been actively and regularly engaging with the Government. From The Prime Minster, The Rt Hon Theresa May MP to HM Treasury, the International Trade Select Committee and the Departments for International Trade, Exiting the EU, Culture Media & Sport and Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy respectively.
Additionally, we have and continue to collaborate closely with organisations such as the Engineering Employers Federation and the Creative Industries Federation. UKFT has given interviews regarding the potential impact of Brexit on the fashion and textile industry to a variety of national news outlets including Sky and BBC, as well as presented at numerous events.
Together with other trade bodies, UKFT wrote to David Davies in early March 2018 urging the Secretary of State to agree a transition period to ‘allow business to operate as usual and provide continuity and stability’.
UKFT welcomes the recent announcement on the transition agreement. This transition period gives the EU and the UK more time to agree on the details of a new trading relationship and allows industry to plan.
In the months ahead UKFT will continue to:
Push the industries key requirements around talent, trade, regulation, IP protection and access to funding
Lobby the government for support to help the industry seize the opportunities that leaving the EU may bring, including significantly increased funding for exports, more support for skills and training and meaningful support for UK manufacturing
In late November 2017, at the request of the Minister for Trade, UKFT Chairman Nigel Lugg brought together a group of leading industrialists to meet the Minister at the House of Commons to discuss the industry’s concerns over Brexit. The group included companies making for the automotive sector, a company making leading edge carbon fibre products for a wide range of application including the aerospace industry, the largest textile manufacturer in the UK, footwear companies, a leading designer, a multinational global brand, a manufacturer and supplier of textiles into the hotel and healthcare sector, a supplier of uniforms to the emergency services, one of the largest fashion suppliers to the UK and a small high-end accessories manufacturer.
Early January 2018 saw the publication of the draft Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill and the draft Trade Bill. The Taxation Bill sets out the framework that will allow the Government to establish a standalone Customs regime, so that the UK can set it’s own tariff schedule, charge duties, implement customs unions with other markets and to establish trade remedies, such as anti-dumping duties etc. Of particular note is that it includes a written commitment to replicate the EU’s GSP scheme, which should mean that the UK maintains duty free access to important supply countries such as Bangladesh, Laos, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Vietnam. The Bill also starts to outline procedures around Rules of Origin and how the UK Government might replicate Outward Processing Relief. The Trade Bill will give the Government the ability to agree Free Trade Agreements, sets out the establishment of a Trade Remedies Authority, which will deal with issues such as anti-dumping and extends the power of HMRC to collect export data.
UKFT’s CEO also met with the EU’s Head of Representative to the UK in January to discuss the industry’s demands over the exit from the EU and the contents of a new trade deal. UKFT were able to demonstrate that the UK industry and the EU industry were aligned on all issues of importance and the Head of Representation agreed to feed UKFT’s views to the EU’s negotiating team.