As the European Union (EU) is a customs union, you can buy goods from other member countries without restrictions - although VAT and excise duty can still apply. However, if the goods are restricted textiles they must be in free circulation before they can be moved without restriction. Read more about trading in the European Union.
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 EU.
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. In these instances an import licence from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) may be required. Read more about import licences. You can check the Tariff to see if such licences are required.
Goods imported to the UK must also comply with domestic business standards, including product safety, manufacturing, patents and health and safety regulations.
Proof of Origin
The EU has a requirement for imports of textiles and clothing from non-EU sources to provide 'proof of origin', most usually with a Certificate of Origin.
The European Commission has identified the need to secure supply chains for goods leaving and entering the EU. However, increased customs checks are likely to lead to delays in journey times for consignments, and possibly longer shipping lead times.
HM Revenue & Customs runs the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) scheme. While the scheme is not compulsory, companies that meet the requirements 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.