International trade regulations in the Textiles, interior textiles and carpets sector

Export regulations in the textiles sector

Regulations, charges or other restrictions may apply to textiles exports as they leave the UK and when they arrive at their destination country. It is important that you research both sides of the transaction.

Read more about exporting your goods from the EU to a third country and dispatching your goods within the EU.

First, you need to classify your goods. Use of standardised classification codes makes it easier to check if any restrictions or charges apply. You can use the Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom to classify your goods. Read more about the classification of goods.

For more information on how the UK Trade Tariff is important to your export business, see an introduction to the Tariff.

Remember that in general it is much simpler to trade with other European Union (EU) countries than with countries outside the EU. This is because the goods are in free circulation. The EU is a single market and the UK is in a customs union, so you can export to other EU countries without restriction (although some local charges may still apply).

Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status

In response to increased security requirements, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) introduced a new status for businesses - AEO. While the scheme is not compulsory, companies that meet the requirements of the scheme will be registered as AEOs and can take advantage of simplified customs procedures that relate to the security and safety of their goods in transit.

Export licensing and certification

An export licence is required in order to export specified goods with potential military uses. The list of goods requiring a licence does not include any textiles products, although you may require an export licence for goods with a potential military use, eg clothing or textiles with signature suppression capabilities. You should initially consult the UK Strategic Export Control List to find out if you need a licence for your goods.

Read more about the Export Control Organisation. This section includes further guidance about how to determine if your goods an export licence issued by the ECO as well as guidance on types of licences available and other licensing considerations, such as end-use concerns.

Find out if you need an export or import licence.

You will need an export licence to dispatch or export from the UK any article of clothing or any article manufactured from textiles and textiles in the length or piece - excluding any carpet or tapestry ("tapestry" for the purposes of export licensing means a fabric with a non-repetitive pattern woven in during making) - that is over 50 years old and valued at £12,000 or more. The Export Licensing Unit at the Arts Council handles these applications.

Exporting goods for processing

You may be able to obtain relief from customs duties when you re-import European Community (EC) goods that have previously been exported from the EC for processing. Outward Processing Relief (OPR) enables you to claim relief from customs duty if you can show that the exported goods were used in the products or are incorporated into the products being imported.

Before you can claim duty relief under OPR, however, you must be authorised to use the arrangements. Read notice 235 on OPR and read more about outward processing relief (OPR).