Laws play an important role for any country or region. They are the drivers of any section of the society including its industries. Industries can function only in accordance to the laws of the society, and its growth depends on the laws framed by the government to a large extent. Laws need to be framed independently by governments or need to be free from biases.


Private companies and organizations exert various kinds of influences on the government to frame laws that prove beneficial for their industry or organization. The influence need not be exerted only with the help of money. Private organizations and corporate houses hire professional lobbyists to help them in this task.


Like in all other industries, lobbying is also prevalent in the global textile industry. Textile giants lobby with governments to pass rules and laws that are likely to benefit them. For example, foreign direct investment in a certain country may be desired by a foreign textile firm, if it has expansion plans in that country.


So, it might lobby with its own government or the government of the concerned country for the implementation of this law. It can exert an influence to get its demands fulfilled, and the influence could be the resultant of strong social contacts. Critics doubt the ethics associated with this process, and this process is completely banned in some countries.


Lobbying, most often, has been connected with politics. It is legal in some countries and illegal in some others; for example, it is legal in United States, while it is illegal in India. Even in countries where it is permitted, there are limitations to the same, and it is accompanied by a set of complex rules, which can be hard to understand.


Organizations and associations spend millions every year in the USA for lobbying activities, and they remain successful to a large extent in their efforts. For example, US textile firms lobbied extensively to get the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) pact extended. This would prove beneficial to the African textile manufacturers and to the US firms as well, as they could secure raw materials for cheap.


Critics argue against this procedure because many believe that it is just a legalized form of bribery. But, there is a certain level of difference between the two. Lobbying does not involve the instant gratification of material needs in order to influence a decision.


However, it may eventually result in the gratification of material needs indirectly after a longer duration of time. Because, in order to influence the decisions of a government official, firms may have to connect with them, and they may offer material support or assistance to them in order to win their favors.


Journalists often see lobbying as a vice, especially lobbying in the textile industry.

 

The policy can also be used by textile firms to reap benefits, and mould laws which may have a negative consequence on another sect of people, owing to which it does not get a lot of support.

 

However, it cannot be denied that political lobbying has its advantages in the global textile industry. It helps groups with specialized interest to influence government decisions, which may eventually turn to be good for the industry. For example, politicians who are hardly aware of the ground realities may not be able to frame effective laws without the influence (which can be termed as guidance) from these groups.


Besides, it is a form of freedom of speech and expression, and restriction on the same is believed to be a threat to this freedom in a number of countries. Lobbying can be both good and bad. But it can get difficult for a country to prevent bad lobbying from creeping into the system, and hence this process largely remains controversial.


Complete details of lobbying are hard to obtain, and companies usually do not reveal their lobbying budgets or expenditures. Figures given in newspapers and other media are mostly indicative and not actual figures. But it is true that textile giants, especially in the developed countries, spend huge amounts of money on lobbying activities. Surveys indicate that large textile companies in Europe can spend as much as 20, 000,000 for this task.


Professional lobbyists are hired for this task, as this job is tough and requires good communication skills as well as an influential personality. Many legislative assemblies and parliaments consider lobbying to be necessary for the framing of effective laws. Lobbyists have always held a special position despite the pros and cons of this profession, and many corporate houses have lobbyists working for them full-time!


Textile lobbyists need to deal with government officials of foreign countries at times, because giant textile enterprises outsource majority of their production work to other countries. They do it either through sources in their native governments or directly. Owing to the many skills that a professional requires, this turns out to be a well-paid job.


Lobbying may sound like a heavy word with many biases and prejudices. It is ideal for a capitalist economy, and can deliver good returns to the global textile industry as well as to the individualistic government. But it need not have the same effect on all the governments, and hence many countries do not legalize this practice.


It has its own place in the textile industry and many laws are framed owing to the influence of lobbyists, which turn out to be beneficial in the end. It also has its disadvantages, and the framed laws sometimes do not give the desired results. It is beneficial for corporate houses, as they can reap profits in the long term because of this activity.


References:

1. Agoa.info

2. Timesofindia.indiatimes.com

3. Thenation.com

4. Wikipedia.org

5. Theguardian.com

6. Corporateeurope.org