Towards an exorbitant tax for each item of clothing purchased, upcoming earthquake for online sales

A new tax on every item of clothing? To limit impulsive clothing purchases, a penalty per item purchased could be imposed and the bill could become very steep!.

Towards an exorbitant tax for each item of clothing purchased, upcoming earthquake for online sales

A new tax on every item of clothing? To limit impulsive clothing purchases, a penalty per item purchased could be imposed and the bill could become very steep!

100 billion items of clothing are sold worldwide each year, according to ADEME. “Fast fashion”, this tendency of brands to offer collections of low-end, inexpensive clothing, repeatedly, has become one of the main ways of selling clothing. The best-known platforms, characterized by the very rapid renewal of clothing offered for sale, are Shein and Temu. According to a study by the NGO Friends of the Earth, dating from last June, Shein offered 470,000 models available in real time on its site, i.e. 900 times more than a traditional brand.

According to Nicolas Doze for BFM Business, in 2022 in France there were 3.3 billion items of clothing and shoes purchased, all sources combined, which is equivalent to 48 new items per person. With this system, according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, as reported by La Croix, the lifespan of clothing has decreased by a third while production doubled between 2000 and 2014. Emissions generated by the industry textiles in fashion are very important, 4 billion tonnes, and fast fashion doesn't help matters. Especially since the parts are mostly imported from Asia.

To limit this sale of non-durable or even almost disposable clothing, MP Antoine Vermorel-Marques proposed introducing a bonus-malus on purchases of cheap, poor-quality clothing. This tax could reach 5 euros per item.

Another parliamentarian, Anne-Cécile Violland, tabled a bill to introduce a higher penalty, which could go up to 10 euros. To define whether a product is concerned, criteria are considered such as the number of models produced per unit of time and average marketing duration. The text has arrived at the National Assembly and will be examined from March 14. This being said, the penalty voted could not exceed 50% of the sale price, but clothing sold by Shein or Temu rarely exceeds 20 euros.

The bill also concerns the ban on advertising for all “very quickly changing clothing and accessories collections”. Conversely, the most virtuous companies, with environmentally friendly production coming from France or Europe, could benefit from a bonus. The Minister of Ecological Transition, Christophe Béchu, has already shown himself to be in favor of this proposed law to Le Figaro, defending the “economic sovereignty and reconstitution of a French textile industry”.

However, this penalty could also push fast-fashion companies to increase their prices. Shein also defended itself by highlighting the negative impact of such a law on the “purchasing power of millions of French people”, as declared by Marion Bouchut, communications director of Shein France, from BFMTV.

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