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Request for relief measures due to COVID-19 crisis

In order to help alleviate some of the negative impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the branded clothing industry and on the millions of employees throughout our value chains, both in the EU as in manufacturing countries, we ask the European Commission and the European Member States for their support. In a letter dated 30 March 2020, we request the following relief measures:

- At national level:

  • Continued support for affected workers and liquidity support for companies in line with the European Commission’s temporary framework for COVID-19 state aid measures.
  • While awaiting further harmonized action at EU level as requested below, give a wide and flexible interpretation to the concept of ‘serious economic and social difficulties’ as laid down in several provisions of the UCC.

- At EU level:

  • Temporarily reduce VAT and customs duty rates on imports in the EU on clothing and apparel, in order to provide relief along the entire supply chain, including in the manufacturing countries.
  • Postpone the withdrawal of the EBA status of Cambodia due to the exceptional circumstances and already severely impacted global industry.
  • Introduce automatic 90-day deferral of duty payment, harmonized across EU Member States.
  • Give clear guidance to customs authorities and businesses on the concept of ‘serious economic and social difficulties’ as laid down in several provisions of the UCC (Articles 45(2) and (3) (suspension of implementation), 112(1) and (3) (other payment facilities) and 114(3)(interest on arrears)), that can be applied on request by the operator.
  • Deem distribution centres in the EU as essential/business critical if they meet the safety requirements and protocols set by the EU.

In the meantime, we as branded clothing companies wish to contribute where possible in this crisis by using our sourcing and manufacturing capacity and supply chain to produce personal protective equipment and use global networks to deliver them to hospitals as soon as possible.

You can read the full letter here.

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