Letters: Sweatshop scandals

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The designer clothes racket and its reliance on illegal child labour raises the question of the extent to which Western governments collude in this vile trade.

For example, the European Union helps, by its restrictions on "grey" imports, to maintain the high prices for these goods in Europe.

Within this country, the ever-vigilant Trading Standards Office searches out and prosecutes any enterprising British business that attempts to copy the over-priced designer garment and sell it at an economic price.

In both cases, European law and the European taxpayer are helping to support a lucrative restrictive practice in favour of wealthy American businesses, which works against the interest of the European consumer and, as your piece shows, is one which is founded on abuse and exploitation.

If the restrictions on "grey" imports were removed and the full force of the law were not brought down on every Dell Trotter who bangs out a Ralph Lauren copy for a fiver, then the profits of the large designer companies would be undermined and there might be less incentive to employ slave labour.

Dr CHRIS PAYNE

London UB8

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