Fashion industry calls for measures to support supply chain

24 April 2020

Fashion industry bodies are calling on governments and supply chains to take measures to protect the sector from a “deadly economic crisis”.

The United States Fashion Industry Association has published a joint statement from more than 60 textile, apparel, footwear, and fashion industry bodies across the world.

It requested that governments provide temporary measures to ensure liquidity of businesses and allow employers across the supply chain to gain access to relief as quickly as possible. 

Governments should immediately defer collections of duties for a period of at least 180 days, the statement said. Duties should be suspended in the case of firms and supply chains that provide items of personal protective equipment, or items used by lower-income consumers.

Further, it asked governments not to impose trade restrictions or impede production or delivery of PPE, and the intermediate products and raw materials required for its manufacture.

The statement, of which signatories included the British Fashion Council and the American Apparel and Footwear Association, also called on supply chain partners in the sector to do their part. 

“Individual companies should take action that minimises disruptions, facilitate payment for work that has been undertaken, and ensure workers continue to be treated with full respect while ensuring their health and safety. Companies need to continue working, alone and with their supply chain partners, to ensure that supply chains are best positioned to weather this crisis.”

The statement acknowledged the efforts of health professionals, policymakers and citizens in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. It also highlighted the work of those in the fashion industry who have suspended or limited operations in line with global guidelines, or repurposed facilities and supply chains to provide PPE and other urgent medical materials. 

“But this health crisis has also triggered a potentially deadly economic crisis,” the statement said.

“As businesses have closed, revenues and cashflow have dried up. The resulting liquidity squeeze has adversely hit many companies, their workers, and multiple layers of suppliers all around the world. 

“Contracts are being cancelled, workers are being furloughed, and factories and businesses are being closed. With each passing day, this damage is compounding and harming more and more stakeholders. 

“We need to coordinate and accelerate our efforts to limit and mitigate this damage, and make sure it is not irrevocable. As we continue to dedicate our efforts to fight this pandemic, we must also come together to fight the economic crisis that has also been created.”

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