Guide

International trade regulations in the clothing, footwear and fashion sector

Import regulations in the clothing, footwear and fashion sector

As the European Union (EU) is a Customs Union, you can buy most goods from other member countries without restrictions - although VAT and excise duty can still apply.

If you import from outside the EU, you may have to comply with import licensing requirements and with common customs tariffs that apply across the EU. Read more about importing your goods from outside the European Union.

Import licences

Import restrictions can be product-specific or trade-specific. Many products are subject to product-specific standards and need to be supported by applicable certificates, product-specific licences and documentation.

Quite separately, quantitative restrictions or limitations and anti-dumping duties may apply to certain imported commodities.

Find out if you need an export or import licence.

Use the Tariff for classifying your goods in order to find out which duties and measures apply. See an introduction to the Tariff.

The trade in some goods may be prohibited unless you have a specific licence issued by the competent authority.

The Import Licensing Branch of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) issues licences where it needs to implement trade policy measures.

Safety regulations and labelling requirements

If you sell imported clothes and footwear in the UK, you need to check that your products meet relevant safety regulations and labelling requirements, including:

Clothes sizes tend to vary from country to country and even from store to store. There are no regulations that you have to follow by law, but there are three European standards on clothes sizing which aim to establish a common sizing system. They are known as: EN 13402-1:2001, EN 13402-2:2002 and EN 13402-3:2004.

You must also comply with safety requirements for children's clothes and footwear. Read more about importing children's clothing into the UK.

Domestic business standards

Goods imported into the UK must comply with domestic business standards, including safeguarding any intellectual property, pollution regulations, and packaging and textile labelling rules. You must also comply with other product safety standards, such as nightwear labelling and restrictions on the use of some dyes.