Fashion sector fears crisis

ROME - EMPLOYERS and union leaders in Italy's fashion sector on Monday called for an 'urgent' meeting with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to discuss ways to limit the impact of the world financial crisis.
They called for the meeting in a joint letter to Berlusconi and his finance, labour and economic development ministers, the textile and fashion federation Sistema Moda Italia (SMI) said in a statement.

Signatories include associations representing the textile, shoe, leather and eyeglass industries - representing tens of thousands of companies - as well as the main unions in the fashion sector.

The letter asks for 'an urgent meeting to enable us to face together the effects of the current heavy global, financial, economic and social crisis on the sector's businesses'. Industry representatives on Monday drafted proposals mainly concerning investment and tax breaks for the sector.

Italy is the European Union's leading importer of textiles, according to SMI, which represents some 60,000 businesses.

In the first seven months of 2008, Italy exported 10.6 billion euros (S$21.3 billion) worth of clothes, a 4.3-per cent increase over the same period in 2007. -- AFP


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