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Textile Lobbyists in Brussels
published in Issue 133, January-February 2008
The growing regulatory influence of the EU has led to the presence of 15,000-20,000 lobbyists in Brussels, acting for industry and commerce associations, in-house public relations (PR) departments or specialist firms, law firms, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). BASF, Dow Chemical and DuPont have worked to make environmental and health regulations on chemicals—such as REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals)—more industry-friendly. The Bromine Science and Environmental Forum (BSEF) sought to prevent an EU ban on brominated flame retardants (BFRs).
A key target for lobbyists is the European Commission, which proposes new legislation and controls the implementation of EU regulations. It also encourages firms to participate in collaborative research, using EU funds as an incentive. Leapfrog (Leadership for European Apparel Productions From Research along Original Guidelines), for example, aims to make technological breakthroughs in apparel manufacture. But most textile lobbyists in Brussels focus on EU trade policy, including: trade relations with leading textile exporting countries; the EU stance on the Doha Round; negotiations of bilateral free trade agreements; efforts to get better access to markets in China and India; reforms of origin rules; and “Made in” labels for clothes imported into the EU. Other targets include the Council of Ministers and the Textile-Clothing committee within the European Parliament.
Lobbying is also undertaken by Brussels-based industry associations such as Euratex (European Apparel and Textile Organisation), CIRFS (Comité International de la Rayonne et des Fibres Synthétiques), the European Association for Textile Polyolefins (EATP), the European Synthetic Turf Organisation (ESTO), the International Association Serving the Nonwovens and Related Industries (EDANA), and Eurocoton—which represents the cotton and allied textile industries in 11 EU countries and is known in Asia for its tough policy on antidumping. The International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO), represents 4,000 wool and textile companies while the Asociación de Colectividades Textiles Europeas (ACTE) represents the interests of more than 70 territories with strong textile and fashion sectors in eight European countries. The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI), meanwhile, defends European sports manufacturers’ interests in Brussels and includes Asics, Diadora, Lotto, Nike, Puma, and Reebok among its members. Commerce associations include: the European Association of Fashion Retailers (AEDT); Eurocommerce, which represents the interests of companies engaged in retail, wholesale and international trade; and the Foreign Trade Association (FTA), which campaigns for the free importation of goods into the EU, and fights protectionism outside Europe. The FTA has also established the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), which provides retail, importing and brand companies with a system for improving working conditions. However, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) has described BSCI as “a weak monitoring system based on
Table of Contents
Textile Lobbyists in Brussels
Brussels: The European Capital of Lobbying
Important EU Decision Making Bodies
Brussels-based Textile Lobbyists: Industry and Commerce Associations
Brussels-based Textile Industry Associations
Brussels-based Textile Commerce Associations
Representation of European Textile Workers in Brussels
Lobbying Case Study: Reforming European Trade Defence Instruments Including Anti-Dumping, Anti-Subsidy and Safeguard Measures
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