EURATEX, the European textile and clothing industry association, is applauding a significant milestone as the European Commission secures unanimous support for the new rules of origin under the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean (PEM) Convention. This achievement, following a decade of robust negotiations backed by EURATEX, marks a historic moment in fostering trade and investments in the expansive "PanEuroMed" region, encompassing 27 EU member states and 24 partner countries.
The PEM Convention, initiated in 2013 with the European Commission's proposal to enhance trade ties in the PEM region, introduces modernized rules of origin, eliminating duty-drawback prohibitions and introducing the pivotal principle of "full cumulation." With trade between the EU and PEM countries reaching a staggering €677 billion in 2023, the region is a focal point for the EU, constituting 35% of the textile and clothing sector's exports and 21% of its imports.
In a strategic move, the agreement is poised to accelerate the integration of textile and clothing supply chains, fostering production and trade within the Euro-Mediterranean area. Particularly noteworthy is the potential to attract companies seeking to relocate their production from Asia to nearby, like-minded, and reliable countries.
Alberto Paccanelli, President of EURATEX, emphasized the significance of this achievement in aiding European companies in recovering from the multifaceted crises since 2020. Calling on the European Union to sustain momentum, Paccanelli urged further efforts in securing trade deals beneficial to European companies, with a specific focus on the EU-Mercosur Agreement and resolving trade disputes with the United States.
EURATEX's Director General, Dirk Vantyghem, hailed the unanimous vote as positive news for the industry and called for active engagement with partner countries to fully leverage the potential of the new rules. He expressed EURATEX's readiness to facilitate an industrial dialogue with companies from PEM countries, facilitating a seamless transition to the enhanced framework. This landmark agreement stands as a beacon for advancing trade and collaboration, steering the Euro-Mediterranean region toward becoming a powerhouse in sustainable textiles and clothing manufacturing.