Representatives of the North-American Government were in O´ Porto, last week, in ANIVEC – National Association of Clothing and Manufacturing Industries headquarters, to understand the position of the Portuguese Garment Industry on the TTIP-Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which is likely to be signed this year.
Caroyl Miller, Deputy Textile Negotiator, William D. Jackson, Assistant to the EUA Representative of Textile Commerce and Benjamin A. Rockwell, member of the United States Embassy in Portugal for Political and Economic Affairs met last week with ANIVEC representatives to perceive the position of ANIVEC and also of the entrepreneurs represented by it.
Following ANIVEC’s invitation, the US representatives visited a few companies- ANIVEC and CENIT-Industrial Intelligence Centre included- to understand the reality of the Portuguese Clothing Industry a little better.
“TTIP will be decisive in the business development of the enterprises and in the transactions between Europe and the USA” said César Araújo, CEO of ANIVEC.
However, Mr. Araújo highlighted “in case the TTIP is not thoroughly formulated and executed, the Clothing industries may be affected and penalized and, consequently, may lose the competitive edge”.
The purpose of the meeting with the North-American Government representatives was to reinforce the Association and its associates’ position regarding the TTIP, more specifically regarding the labelling regulations.
“We want to safeguard the process of transformation of the raw materials into the final product, ensure that the country of origin title is granted to the country that transforms the product and that the certificate of Origin is always issued” César Araújo explained, pointing out the need to enforce the “double transformation” principle to all the products transacted between USA and EU.
Before the American representatives ANIVEC defended that, in order for a product to have the label “made in”, it is required that the manufacturing- cutting included- is made in the same region or, as an alternative, the printing or finishing processes (bleaching, mercerizing, impregnating, etc.) and manufacturing are made in the country /region that states on the label.
“We consider that it is vital that TTIP regulations can prevent that any product made outside US or EU may come into these spaces easily and there circulate freely, just to benefit economies that do not conform to the production rules and just act like disloyal competitors” concluded Mr. Araújo.
Barack Obama has already expressed the desire to conclude the negotiations during his term as US President, so it is expected that the TTIP is signed during the current year, nonetheless the date of entry into force may be still in a relatively distant future.
The TTIP partnership foresees also the creation of a free trade zone between EU and the USA, which will facilitate the access to the markets and progressively reduce or eliminate the duty charges. It will standardize the technical regulations, the certification process and the commercial rules of both regions, which will then allow new investment opportunities.
According to a report commissioned by the Portuguese Government, quoted by Económico Newspaper, Portugal is one of the countries that will benefit more with the reduction or elimination of Customs duties, in compliance with TTIP measures, a gain of 1,1 billion euros per year.
According to the analysis made by ANIVEC to INE Statistics data, in 2015 Portugal sold around 79,5 million de euros (+38% more that in 2014) to the USA, which is in the 7th place of Portuguese apparel exports.