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A no-deal Brexit would cost the U.K. fashion industry as much as 900 million pounds ($1.1 billion) because of tariffs, and other expenses could raise the figure even higher, a trade group said.
A switch to World Trade Organization rules along with tighter controls on international shipping have the potential to hamstring the U.K. industry, the British Fashion Council said Monday in a statement. The council is asking for stimulus funding to ensure that British fashion remains competitive internationally after the country leaves the European Union.
Fashion contributes about 32 billion pounds annually to the British economy, according to trade group figures, while employing some 890,000 people. As an industry that relies on export revenues, a global supply chain and an international talent pool, U.K. fashion faces numerous challenges if the country leaves the EU without a deal at the end of October.
“We urge the government to seek a deal with the EU that would guarantee the healthy and steady growth of the fashion industry,” the trade group said.
Designers preparing to show spring collections to buyers and press during London Fashion Week beginning Sept. 13 have little clarity on how they’re going to face down challenges like higher prices due to tariffs and logistical issues like transporting samples and components between the U.K. and continental Europe.
Fashion is hardly the only industry to be hit by Brexit concerns. U.K. manufacturing output fell at the fastest rate in more than seven years in August, IHS Markit reported Monday.
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