Brexit means Brexit

Brexit negotiations are entering their final phase; it’s imperative for an agreement to be reached this month if Great Britain and the European Union are to avoid a brutal exit on 29 March at midnight (Brussels time).

If there is no agreement or no ratification of the agreement by the British Parliament, then Great Britain will return to being a non-EU country (like the United States or Russia) on 29 March with all the related consequences in terms of border controls, customs, VAT, intellectual property, etc. (to get an idea of the complexity of the situation:

It’s obviously an important issue for us all since Great Britain is France’s fifth biggest ready-to-wear client with sales that are currently around €900 million and constantly growing.

If an agreement is reached, a transition period (during which nothing will change) will begin after 29 March to negotiate the final exit agreement to go into effect on 31 December 2020. Brexit means Brexit …

To summarize, anything can happen, one way or the other. And it remains very important to diversify your export prospects, as the President recently reminded us at the Conférence des Ambassadeurs.

We can compensate for the French market’s weak position only by exporting to markets that are more dynamic and sources for increased sales.

And yet, at the same time Business France is closing foreign offices one after the other and the government has decided to cut resources to DEFI, the principal support organisation for ready-to-wear export through its programs to professional federations.

In any event, in 2019 the Fédération will maintain its updated, ambitious export project*:

–          Mode in France Tokyo and Mode in France Taiwan in January (9 – 11  Tokyo et 13 – 15 Taipei)  and July

–          The Coterie (25-27 feb 2019), Designers & Agents (23-25 feb 2019) et Woman (23-25 feb 2019) trade shows in New York

–          White (22-25 feb 2019) in Milan

–          Chic Shanghai (12-14 march 2019) and a program during Fashion Week in Shanghai

–          CPM Moscow (25-28 feb 2019) and Kiev Fashion (30 jan to 1st feb 2019)

–          Premium in Berlin (15-17 jan 2019)

–          Meeting events with showrooms and brands from Scandinavian countries 

–          Scoop (10-12 fev 2019) in London, and more

To recap: A French presence on the most dynamic, top export markets will help French ready-to-wear exports to grow – a trend that has continued for eight years!


 François-Marie Grau
Managing Director

* with support from DEFI