UK fashion and textile exports to the USA to face continued 25% punitive tariffs

US/UK flag

Last night the US authorities confirmed that 17 fashion and textile product lines – including sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats – will continue to be hit with an additional 25% export tariff.

The tariffs were first introduced in October 2019 as part of a long running dispute between the US and the EU over subsidies to the aircraft industry.

Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, said: “This is hugely disappointing news. The impact of the additional tariffs have been devastating for UK manufacturers selling to the USA.

“We are the only country to be hit with tariffs on fashion products and the current situation piles even more pressure on companies already reeling from the impact of COVID-19, and the hugely uncertain trading situation with the EU.

“Waiting for the outcome of a potential free trade agreement with the US isn’t enough. We need the government to take direct action now to support our manufacturing industry.”

Bill Leach, Global Sales Director at knitwear brand and manufacturer John Smedley, commented: “John Smedley has invested heavily into the US market for many years, resulting in strong sales and customer satisfaction across a wide array of America’s finest retailers.

“Since October 2019, when the retaliatory additional 25% tariff was applied to all of our sales to the US, John Smedley has been forced to absorb this punitive cost in order to maintain the ongoing retail pricing of our collection and to maintain our existing proposition to our valued customers and clients in the US market.

“Should this retaliatory tariff application continue, John Smedley will need to take some tough decisions about our strategy for the US market.”

Simon Cotton, CEO of Johnstons of Elgin, which makes cashmere and fine woollen cloth, knitwear and accessories, said: “We are exceptionally disappointed that these tariffs remain in place and continue to punish our industry for a dispute which is completely out of our control.”

The UKFT has written to Liz Truss, Secretary of State for International Trade, requesting a meeting and demanding an immediate resolution to this dispute which has nothing to do with the UK fashion and textile industry.