The UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted Britain would thrive with or without a deal with the bloc. However one industry chief has begged both sides to apply “common sense” – and consider what was at stake.
With EU negotiator Michel Barnier and UK counterpart Lord David Frost still trying to strike an agreement, time is rapidly running out, with the end of the transition period on December 31 looming large in everyone’s minds.
The report, commissioned by the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex) with the University of Leuven, paints a grim picture.
It warns of job losses in the industry totalling more than 100,000 across the EU27.
Dirk Vantyghem, Director General of EURATEX commented on the study results: “These figures reflect companies’ legitimate concern with a no-deal Brexit.
“EU-UK trade relations are an essential component of their competitive business model, on both sides.
“For the T&C industry, we have offered a win-win solution (integrating the UK in the PEM Convention), which would limit disruptions in the T&C value chain to a minimum.”
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Italy, Romania and Portugal are likely to be the hardest hit in terms of job losses, with 27,000, 12,000 and 11,000 jobs at risk respectively.
Germany, France, Spain and Poland will also be badly hit.
Such an outcome would also likely have disastrous implications for Ireland, with almost a quarter of jobs in the sector – 23 percent – at risk.
Even if the two sides do come to a deal, the textile industry is facing considerable disruption – not to mention job losses.
The survey indicates 17,786 jobs will be lost among the EU27, while 4,759 will be lost in the UK.
Face-to-face talks in Brussels were suspended a week ago after a member of Mr Barnier’s team contracted coronavirus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “Negotiations will continue virtually. It’s a matter for them when and if they choose to travel.”
The spokesman said the UK side was “committed to working hard” to reach a free-trade agreement (FTA) and was working to “bridge the gaps that remain between us”.
He added: “Throughout the negotiation our position has been consistently clear.”
The Office for Budget Responsibility today warned failure to reach an agreement could result in a two percent hit to gross domestic product (GDP).
The spokesman said: “The PM believes that the UK will thrive with or without a deal with the EU.
“But it remains our ambition to reach an FTA which is why we continue to negotiate.”
(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)