“Made in” labelling will not be made compulsory after the European Parliament and European Council failed to agree on the controversial proposals.
The European Parliament had pushed for the country of origin labelling on clothing to be made law - a move that would have significantly benefited the UK manufacturing industry by helping to justify the higher costs of UK manufacturing to end consumers.
However, the European Council voted against the proposals after they met with fierce opposition from some member states who feared it would damage their manufacturing industries. Other critics said it would be meaningless because manufacturers could claim garments were produced in countries where they only a fraction of the process had taken place.
The Council has asked the European Commission to present a study on the feasibility of country of origin labelling by 2013, ensuring “accurate information and…full traceability”. The study could be accompanied by a new legislative proposal, but there is no guarantee.
Separately, garment manufacturers will be required to label all product containing leather and fur after MEPs backed proposals. Garments made in the EU will be required to state “contains non-textile parts of animal origin” in a bid to prevent shoppers inadvertently mistaking animal products for non-animal products, whether for ethical reasons or because they have allergies.
Self-employed tailors will be exempt from the new legislation.
Betty van Arenthals, president of the European Association of Fashion Retailers, welcomed the change, saying it would cut red tape and encourage “innovation” in new fabrics.