Italian fashion industry hopes to avert additional US tax

MILAN — The Italian fashion industry is hoping to head off higher levies proposed by the U.S. administration on imports, the president of the Italian fashion chamber said Tuesday.

“We already have very high taxes when we import into the United States,” Carlo Capasa told reporters on the sidelines of a presentation on Milan Fashion Week, set for Feb. 22-27. Even higher taxes could mean fewer sales, he added.

Taxes on luxury imports to the United States average 20 percent, Capasa said, adding that the fashion industry had been hoping to negotiate a reduction in the import taxes as part of EU-US free trade talks that stalled before the U.S. presidential elections.

The United States was the Italian fashion industry‘s third-largest market in the first nine months of last year, behind France and Germany, with sales of 2.8 billion euros (US$3 billion). That was down 4.2 percent from the previous year.

Capasa said the fashion chamber wasn‘t engaged in any discussions on the Republican proposal to impose a so-called Border Adjustment Tax on imports, because nothing concrete has yet been proposed. But he said he hoped U.S. officials would resist an additional levy once they realize that the taxes were already significant.