International trade regulations in the clothing, footwear and fashion sector

Importing children's clothing into the UK

When you import children's clothing and footwear, you will need to meet certain quality requirements if they are being sold to customers in the UK.

Regulations applicable to children's clothing

The rules and regulations you should be aware of include:

  • the General Product Safety Regulations 2005
  • the Children's Clothing (Hood Cords) Regulations 1976
  • the Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985

BSI Code of Practice

A BSI British Standards Code of Practice (reference number BS 7907:2007) is available to purchase. It recommends materials, design and manufacturing guidelines to promote the safety of children's clothing. Read more detailed information about BS 7907:2007.

VAT reduced and zero rates

Under VAT rules, most items of children's clothing and footwear are eligible for a reduced rate of 0 per cent VAT (ie no VAT) in the UK, but there are some exceptions. If your business has been declared exempt from VAT registration because it only sells zero-rated items, you should check that the items you are importing meet the necessary requirements. Find out more about the conditions for VAT zero-rating.

Some goods are also outside the scope for VAT, which means you do not need to charge VAT. Generally, goods are considered outside the scope if they are supplied by someone who isn't VAT registered, supplied outside the UK or the Isle of Man, or if the goods are not part of your daily business. 

If you are unsure whether to charge VAT on your goods, call the HMRC VAT Helpline on Tel 0300 200 3700.