Debate on Brexit and Globalization: Questions from FASH455

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#1 Why should or should not globalization be responsible for Brexit? Does Brexit suggest that globalization is in retreat? What is your view?

#2 From the case of Brexit, how do you understand that “textile and apparel is a global sector”?

#3 Is the UK fashion industry a winner or loser of Brexit? What is your evaluation?

#4 How will Brexit shape the future of the fashion industry both in the UK and globally? What can be expected and what are the uncertainties?

#5 Seeing all of the complications that resulted from Brexit in regards to trade and the fashion industry as a whole, why or why not will similar disruptions occur if the US pulls out of its free trade agreements?

Welcome to join our online discussions. In your comment, please mention the question #.

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

56 thoughts on “Debate on Brexit and Globalization: Questions from FASH455”

  1. #4 Brexit carries a ton of uncertainty. I think the fashion industry could be changed a lot in terms of traded and how lables are created/worded . Its hard to tell exactly how Brexit will divide up the fashion industry and other industries in general but there will definitely be noticeable changes in the future.

  2. #2 In the case of Brexit and throughout the article it is made clear that this decision affects more than just the EU and the UK. While this decision is one that is directly between the EU and UK the consequences will ripple globally with regards to sourcing, manufacturing, trade, and so much more. Prior to Brexit fashion brands could be doing trade with the EU and could know that their products could be represented in the UK. However, post-Brexit the UK will have their own set of trade rules and regulations and brands will have to work directly with the UK. A step even before that is the manufacturing and sourcing that is done. Again, the UK will have their own trade barriers and regulations now which could greatly impact other countries’ economic environment.

    1. great comments! The other side might also be true, i.e. through Brexit, UK may be able to write new trade rules and regulations in its favor. Ideally, UK can continue to enjoy the duty-free access to the EU market while selectively open its own borders. Nevertheless, I don’t think the nature of textile and apparel as a global sector will change regardless of the outcome of Brexit.

  3. In my opinion, the UK fashion industry is a loser of Brexit because without the same opportunities for globalization they do not have have the same opportunities for raw materials and trade.

  4. In response to the fifth discussion question, I definitely think that the US would see similar complications. The UK is facing higher costs and processing delays, and the US would face similar situations. Pulling out of free trade agreements would probably raise prices of many products. Also, in response to the second discussion question, I now further understand that textile and apparel is a global sector because when Brexit occurred, economies all over the world felt the impact. So many companies are having to change their strategies and how they import their goods to the UK now because of Brexit.

    1. Indeed, as a result of globalization, countries are more interdependent with each other. A great example is today’s global supply chain–multiple countries work together to make a product. This complicates the policymaking.

  5. In response to question 4, I believe that Brexit will allow luxury brands to become more popular in the UK as opposed to the rest of the world who is so based on fast fashions. Regarding question 5, if the US pulls out of free trade agreements, they will definitely see similar disruptions. Diminishing the free trade agreements will cause higher costs, prices, and duties for all future trading and sourcing.

  6. In response to the third question, I believe the UK fashion industry may become a loser of Brexit if the UK does not renegotiate trade agreements with the EU. It may be necessary for UK based brands and designers to move their companies to Europe, which would be costly be may be beneficial in the long run. It may also increase the price of goods, causing for these brands sales to go down.

  7. 4) Brexit will shape the fashion industry definitely, but i think the future is uncertain. We don’t know exactly how it will affect the economy until terms of trade have been finalized. A lot of trade, however, is dependent on the UK, and with their economy uncertain, it will definitely leave a negative mark on the global economy, we just don’t know how drastic it will be.

  8. #4 Brexit could have a great impact on the brands represented in the UK in terms of what brands they import. If their trade regulations entail high tariffs or taxes on imported goods then companies outside of the UK could be financially hurt and therefore it may not be as profitable to trade with the UK. This would heavily influence the fashion industry potentially lessening the number of options offered in the UK.

  9. An uncertainty with Brexit is how it will affect consumers in the US. For example, Topshop is a British Brand that is sold in American through their own retail stores and in some Nordstroms.

  10. #3 Is the UK fashion industry a winner or loser of Brexit? What is your evaluation?

    There’s no way to know what the actual outcome of Brexit will be on any industry, but I think that because the apparel industry relies so heavily on so many different steps throughout the product lifecycle, it is guaranteed that at least one of those steps will be affected, whether that means the factories/production, retail stores, shipping, textile creation, etc. It’s possible that some factories will be moved depending on whether or not factory owners agree with Brexit, or even whether the company CEOs approve of Brexit and if not they may prefer to take their business somewhere else in a type of protest.

    #5 Seeing all of the complications that resulted from Brexit in regards to trade and the fashion industry as a whole, why or why not will similar disruptions occur if the US pulls out of its free trade agreements?

    I think it’s possible that if the US pulls out of its free trade agreements, many people will be divided over the issue. For American factory workers, free trade agreements are more hurtful than beneficial, and if they are unable to keep up with their global competitors, they could lose their jobs. However, other countries may depend on free trade deals with the US so if we pull out of it, many other countries may be upset and that could cause global tension. I believe that no matter what we do in terms of economic policy, social policy, or global policy, we will never be able to make both sides happy and everyone will always be divided over issues, so at this point I think the best thing to do is to make as great of an amount of people happy as possible.

  11. #1 I believe that globalization is partially responsible for Brexit. The UK felt that they were loosing their identity as a part of the EU and that globalization was too much for them, so they decided to take a step back by leaving the EU. I think that Brexit reveals a negative aspect of globalization and how we must be careful to not overlook each countries individual needs.

  12. #1: Globalization should be responsible for Brexit because it is the increased development of items in different countries that is causing concern for countries in terms of if what they make are actually considered to be made by them. Brexit suggests that globalization is in retreat because they are deciding to eliminate their connections to the UK in general. Because of this, I feel that other countries may follow in their footsteps soon.
    #3: I believe that the UK fashion industry is a loser of Brexit. Without Britain as a whole, they are losing a decent amount of their resources that contribute to creating their own products. Other countries will be able to buy goods that were specifically made in Britain rather than the UK as a whole.

  13. #3: While the intention of Brexit is to make the UK a winner, it will ultimately hurt their economy and their citizens by making it more challenging to compete in the global economy. It will make it harder to maintain there international labor force, harder to make separate trade agreements with individual countries, and will likely lead to a rise in prices for producing and selling their goods, making their prices less competitive.

    #5: The US is not as invested in trade partnerships the way the UK is intertwined with the EU so, in theory, it may be easier for the US to pull out of free trade agreements since many of them were established independently. However, like the UK, pulling out of these agreements will likely raise prices and make the US T&A industry less competitive. While the decision might initially protect US manufacturing jobs, it will not help factory workers if the industries are unable to sell their products and to thrive in a competitive market.

  14. Question #3. I believe that the UK Fashion Industry is a loser in that sourcing will be another obstacle that UK fashion designers will have to deal with. Contracts will need to be renegotiated between countries, as well as between existing companies across borders, and this can steer business away from the UK if it becomes more expensive for other countries to ship to the UK. Until these contracts are renegotiated, tariffs are based on the WTO’s Most Favoured Nation Rates which would not be in UK business’s favor.

  15. #3 There are both pros and cons for the T&A industry in the UK from Brexit. One Pro is the chance to bring more apparel jobs to the UK. A con is that it will take a long time for the UK to re do every trade agreement. This will hinder their trade and T&A sector. Another Con is that it will be harder to bring talent from outside to the UK which could hurt its production. Because there is so much uncertainty as to how this will impact the global economy as well as the UK’s economy, it is hard to say whether Brexit will help or hurt the UK and the global economy.

  16. #1 – I beleive gloablization played a big part in Brexit because much of what influenced this decision was trade and trade has become a massively global topic. Some may see it as a step back from globalization due to it creating the inability to trade as freely as before within the EU, but it will open up opportunities for the UK with the rest of the world, therefore, ​broadening ​their reach and contributing to globalization.

  17. #3 I believe the UK fashion industry will be a loser of Brexit. While I understand the UK’s desire to have more control over the movement of goods, services, & people in/out of their company, I think that this will put a strain on their apparel industry. Since it is such a global industry in terms of both sourcing and competition. With the UK having to renegotiate contracts and trade agreements with other countries, there will be more barriers for UK fashion companies to establish a global supply chain that will keep them competitive in the market.

    #5 I definitely see the potential for similar disruptions in the US if we pull out of our free trade agreements. It will become much more costly for apparel brands to maintain their global supply chains will hurt them in terms of competition in the global market. The gains that we might make in increasing US manufacturing jobs will be lost if we lose our competitiveness and trade declines.

  18. #3, I believe that the UK fashion industry will become a loser due to Brexit. Trade tariffs are likely to increase, causing retailers to pay more for materials and garments, which will lead to them selling products at higher prices. This will be an unfavorable consequence to many citizens shopping in the UK. In addition, the past partnership with the EU has allowed British clothing to say “made in UK” even if pieces were partially assembled in foreign nations, with foreign fabrics and embellishments. With Brexit, this policy will likely change, retailers will have to properly state where the products are created. People who follow these brands may loose favor with them once seeing the reality of their products, and may loose nationalism for their country as well.

  19. The UK fashion industry I believe would be considered a loser of Brexit. While other countries involved in free trade agreements can source manufacturing and textiles abroad at no cost, longer and more complex negotiations would be necessary for a UK designers. Therefore, the development process time and costs would be increased while working with international companies and would hurt emerging designers.

    Similar disruptions will likely occur if the United States were to pull out of free trade agreements. Ultimately I believe that governments would want to protect domestic industries, however more protective legislature will hurt the apparel industry. Hopefully there will be negotiations to assist domestic companies as well as those that are dependent on trade.

  20. #1 Globalization is not responsible for brexit. Globalization does not meet its end because the UK is leaving the EU. Because technology has come so far the transfer of information is always in motion.
    #3 the UK fashion industry has a huge potential to reshape the industry into a more sustainable environment. Fast fashion will become more expensive to import in the country. This will push consumers to buy higher end fashion that wil last longer periods of time. Fast fashion goes through a cycle of only 6 weeks build more waste.

  21. #3 I think the UK fashion industry is a loser of Brexit, because other countries have taken offense to the fact that the UK does not want to be part of the EU anymore, meaning they will be less likely to be willing to make trade deals with the UK. Additionally, the article mentioned higher tariffs on the UK, which will not help their economy.
    #1 Globalization should be responsible for Brexit because the UK thinks they’re not getting enough back when they give concerning trade. The idea of outsourcing is a major part of trade and by cutting themselves off from that, they think that they will be better off. The idea of Brexit does insinuate that globalization is in retreat because if Brexit ends up working well for the UK, more and more countries will follow in their footsteps.

  22. #3. The U.K fashion industry is in scrambles after the impact of Brexit. For many designers and stores, there will be an immediate impact on costs and margins. This is not a good thing, because it could change the impact of designers and retailers greatly. Most designers and retailers are against this decision.

    #2. From the case of the Brexit, it proves that our world is a global textile and apparel sector. One decision can impact so many countries. Many manufacturers, retailers, and designers are being impacted head on. the affect of Britain leaving the union will most likely create problems within trade and manufacturing.

  23. (#4) In regards to the fashion industry in the UK, I believe that there will be more of a push to get back to the days of consumers buying a few luxury goods as opposed to many items from fast fashion. I think that the fast fashion industry is going to suffer in the UK, therefore hurting the economies of the countries to which the import goods. Also, now that businesses are required to meet UK standards, those companies that do not want to adhere to them will then pull out of the UK leaving their consumers with fewer options and could potentially mean that they will make fewer purchases and hold onto their money longer until they feel it is worth using. (#3) I believe that presently the UK is a loser of Brexit because their economy is in mayhem, and they are going to have to spend majority of their time fixing it rather than using that time and energy to help the future of the UK. Because of this, the fashion industry is suffering and will have to be reevaluated in order for it to continue in the future.

  24. In response to question four, I believe Brexit could cause rising prices in the T&A industry. It may become harder to trade and source apparel between the UK and Europe, as well as the U.S. It is uncertain how the UK fashion industry will react to these challenges.

  25. #5: If the US pulls out of its free trade agreements, the US will no longer be able to import and export apparel goods as easily. With the free trade agreements, it has already been decided upon how the US will import and export apparel goods, but without those agreements, the US will need to draft agreements with each country, and may not be able to trade as easily. This will impact the US fashion industry because it may not be as easy to have apparel made in other countries and brought into the US. This may force more manufacturing jobs to appear in the US, allowing apparel companies to avoid trade agreements, and make the apparel in the US.

    #1: I believe that Brexit is the opposite of globalization, and globalization cannot be responsible for Brexit. Globalization is the interaction and trade between countries, but if Brexit is causing the UK to pull away from those other countries and make trade between them more difficult, then the opposite of Globalizaion is occurring. However, I do not think that Brexit suggests that globalization is in retreat. Brexit is just one example of retreat, but there are many more countries involved in globalization.

    1. I agree with your thought that Brexit is anti-globalization. The UK is deciding to become more of its own bubble rather than a global hub.

  26. I think that part of the reason for the Brexit is that there was too much globalization for Britain. They felt that their identity was getting taken away and that they didn’t like the immigration laws. The UK felt that they had no say in a lot of things and that they had to consult with other EU countries to do so. I do not think that globalization is the full reason for Brexit but just part of it. I do not believe that globalization is in retreat fully- i think that the UK as a country just views globalization to be a negative aspect.

  27. #3: It seems like the UK is starting off as a loser regarding Brexit. The pound has dropped significantly and there are difficulties with making negotiations with EU and Brussels. However, the UK was a big part of the EU trade market so the EU will intensely be impacted negatively as well.

    #4: There are a lot of uncertainties with Brexit especially since it won’t go into affect until 2019 so there is time to work on negotiations, however in the world of politics everything takes forever, so many issues and policies may still be in the works by the time the UK has officially left the EU. The UK has to start finalizing trade agreements with the EU and other countries now to make sure they are able to import and export as needed.

  28. 2. Textile and apparel is a global sector because businesses depend on not only one country. From the case of Brexit, I learned this because I realized that if the United Kingdom departs from the European Union then there will be some major changes regarding the economy and government. The trade regulations will most likely have to be reevaluated either benefiting or not in many businesses’ favor.

    4. The businesses are going to have to be able to work with the government. Determining whether or not the businesses’ benefit through Brexit will be determined by what way the trade terms are negotiated. The price of trade could possibly increase causing a strain on many businesses in regards to their resources.

  29. #4
    Brexit means it is not under the policy of EU anymore and that may affect the cost of trade in UK towards the world. As UK has been a member of EU for so many years, UK firms may need few years to get familiar with new regulations implemented after Brexit. Also, the export of goods from UK may decrease since the tariffs may become high without free trade policy. Thus, the price of goods from UK may increase.

    1. I agree, will American consumers still be willing to purchase goods from the UK if the price increases when they can find similar goods for a lower price.

  30. #3) I believe that the UK will be the loser of Brexit. The UK exports many textile and apparel goods. If they stop trading with many countries, their economy will be affected negatively. For example, the value of the Pound has already decreased.

  31. #3 I think the Uk fashion industry is a loser of Brexit with the main impact being on trade rules and regulations. Being separated from the other 27 countries of the EU allows for the UK to have their own trade regulations but takes them out of the free trade agreement with the countries of the EU. The goods traded between the EU and UK, and also the UK and other non-EU countries, are subject to customs tariffs based on WTO’s Most Favoured Nation (MFN) rate which is not in business’s favor. Also,the rules of origin for the UK could change.

  32. #2: Textile and apparel is a global sector because so many different countries can be involved in the making of an article of clothing. It could be designed, produced, and sold in three different countries. In the case of Brexit, leaving the EU could make producing and selling apparel more difficult for retailers.

    #4: Brexit could shape the future of the fashion industry both in the UK and globally by effecting the trade barriers between countries when trying to outsource or import products from different countries. This could effect both retailers and consumers. If it costs more for a product to be sold due to tariffs, this could raise the price that the consumer has to pay.

  33. #3 I believe the UK fashion industry is a loser of Brexit. There are many complications of Brexit that are holding the industries back. Costs are increasing in labor and margins, which can cause struggles for future plans. #4 I think that Brexit will cause luxury brands to be more popular in the UK. Fast fashion is very popular right now, however, with Brexit it is highly possible for a switch in trends and the way clothing is produced overall. Since there are many more restrictions in the UK as far as trade, it will greatly affect the fashion world.

  34. 1. I do think that globalization is a large part of what made Brexit possible. In the past, the purpose of the European Union, i’m assuming, was created in order to benefit all of those neighboring European countries. Now, Britain is able to easily connect to/with other countries and doesn’t depend so heavily on the union in order to function properly on a global scale.
    4. Brexit may make fashion in the U.K. very expensive in the next couple of years . Getting apparel from other European countries, before Brexit, was very cheap within the union because all of those countries are so close to eachother and transportation was pretty cheap.
    Brexit will most likely have a very negative effect on small business in the U.K. that depend on consumers or materials from neighboring countries.

  35. #1:Globalization is responsible for the Brexit because as a result of globalization the U.K. felt it was necessary to exit the EU because they felt as though they were not benefiting from the agreements amongst the members. Brexit suggests that globalization is in retreat because it is removing themselves from the EU suggesting that they are unwilling to trade freely amongst the members of the Union. It shows that the U.K. is moving towards domestication rather than globalization.
    #4: Brexit will make the trade of goods, such as apparel, more difficult because now the U.K. will have their own regulations which will be different from the rest of the members of the EU. This will slow down the apparel trading processes. This could possibly cause companies or countries to be unwilling to trade with the U.K.

  36. #2 From the case of Brexit, how do you understand that “textile and apparel is a global sector”?

    The industry is a global sector because whenever one country makes a policy regarding trade or production, many other countries are affected. When policy makers are constructing new trade agreements or considering getting rid of old ones, they must also consider the trade policies and consumers of other countries. Globalization has brought us all together so we must think together as well.

    #3 Is the UK fashion industry a winner or loser of Brexit? What is your evaluation?

    I would say the UK fashion industry is a loser because they will have more complicated sourcing practices now and UK goods will have to become more expensive.

    1. I completely agree with your comments regarding both questions. I believe that Brexit will cause many complications for the UK. A more expensive lifestyle will also not be a good change for most peoples’ lives.

  37. #4: The UK fashion industry will suffer from trade implications of the Brexit. Although a possible intention of the Brexit is to localize production and sale of products, it is unlikely that UK brands will make an effort to increase their own production internally. Cutting off the UK from other global economies will most likely make those brands less relevant to the outside world.
    It is uncertain whether or not companies will elect to pay higher tariffs to continue outsourcing, or make drastic changes to their production strategies.

  38. #1 I think that globalization is responsible for Brexit because they chose to leave an agreement between Europe, the European Union, to operate on their own as a separate country with their own trade regulations. Therefore, I do not think that this suggests that globalization is in retreat. There are now more countries competing in and contributing to the global market, emphasizing globalization.
    #4 Brexit will shape the future of the fashion industry in the sense that there are now uncertainties in how trade will work now that Britain is separate from the EU. Trade could take longer and be more complicated now since Britain is separated from the European Union and their trade laws.

  39. #3
    The UK fashion industry is a loser of Brexit because where sourcing, production, and distribution between them and other EU countries used to be more simple, the Brexit will complicate that. The Brexit will create more barriers in trade between the UK and other EU countries, making industries like fashion suffer. It may become more expensive to source, produce, and distribute products made by UK fashion brands, and it may take longer to do these operations to create a product that is ready for distribution.

  40. #3 The UK fashion industry is a loser of Brexit because now the UK doesn’t have the same access they had to the resources and trade opportunities that were supplied and they now have to find them elsewhere which may be more expensive and less convenient.

  41. #1 Why should or should not globalization be responsible for Brexit? Does Brexit suggest that globalization is in retreat? What is your view?

    Globalization is definitely a factor in the UK’s decision to separate from the EU. The UK wants more independence in their policy and decision making. They do not want to be under the same overall rules as the rest of the EU. I wouldn’t label Brexit as a retreat in globalization, but just a minor setback for trade. This decision was made by the British government in the interest of themselves. The British government believes that Brexit is what is best for the UK, so they must handle the repercussions of their actions and how it will effect trade overall.

  42. #5 If the US leaves their free trade agreements, they will definitely see similar disruptions within trade and the fashion industry as a whole. The US trades with and sources from a lot of different countries and without those relationships they will see an increase in product cost and even delays in processing. Without trade, the US is also limiting its resources and will cut themselves off from certain quality products that they receive through trade between other countries.

  43. In response to the third question, I too believe that the UK will ultimately be a “loser” in regards of Brexit. The UK is giving up a huge sector of their trade agreements and negotiations with the EU. The Brexit would create more complicated barriers in production, sourcing and distributing and could eventually disappear all together. Not to mention that it could become much more expensive for UK to product, source and distribute UK products.

      1. Those who do not think about trade and future perspectives. Decision was not based on facts but on feelings: a general fear against changes incl. globalisation, fear against Immigration from eastern europe (even if the UK is an immigration country for centuries), those who have not recognized that the UK alone is not a “world power” any more. Maybe there are some parallels between the Brexiteers and the DJT-Voters?

  44. #1 Why should or should not globalization be responsible for Brexit? Does Brexit suggest that globalization is in retreat? What is your view?

    Globalization was definitely not responsible for Brexit. The reason was due to the fact that the UK felt they were giving much more the EU than they were getting out of it. UK is a fan of globalization as they are still planning to do business with many other countries. I think the two were unrelated.

    1. interesting point. However, isn’t the concern about migrants and having its own control of the border a major push for Brexit?

  45. “Trade” was not the driver for the Brexit in the referendum. The decision was mainly driven by fear of immigration (even if the UK is used to immigration since the Commenwealth ???) and a general british tendency towards independancy.
    From a global perspective the effect on the fashion business will certainly be low – or even unremarkable. The UK does not have a remarkable textile and clothing industry and only a few global brands (sourcing globally). From a UK – perspective the most important question will be: how does Brexit effect the british industry ? Will Banks leave to Dublin or Frankfurt? Will BMW, Honda or Toyota shift production to the continent? Will the british consumer then have enough Money available to spend for fashion? How will the GBP develop? Will more tourists travel to London for Shopping?

    If there is something good about Brexit, it is the necessity to think about a fundamental change of customs & trade rules and practises. How will the UK manage the explosion of dutiable Import shipments from the continent (no officers, no space for customs offices, poor IT- is the traditional transaction-based customs approach at its end and will be substituted by a self-assessment? Also, the old discussion about free-trade vs. protectionism comes up again and some Brexiteers are proposing a unilateral and complete abolition of duties -> see this interesting study (also for the actual US trade policy): https://policyexchange.org.uk/publication/global-champion-the-case-for-unilateral-free-trade/

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