Importing clothing from China to the EU

China has long been one of the crucial factors influencing the development of the textile industry. It manufactures most of the world’s garments and is also the largest textile exporter. For many importers, China is a country where you can buy a lot of clothes and sell them at a big profit. Chinese manufacturers offer reasonably priced and high-quality clothing. This article presents everything you need to know about importing clothing from China to the EU.

textile industry worker checking inventory with digital tablet before shipping

Garment production areas in China
The Chinese textile industry is mainly located on the east coast of the country, in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces. The largest and most well-equipped textile companies are located there, using all kinds of technologically advanced textile machines. Other regions worth paying attention to are Guangdong, Fujian, and Shandong provinces.

Guangzhou – textile production area
Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong province and the third largest city in China. It concentrates many textile production facilities. It plays a vital role in the development of the apparel industry in the region. The Zhongda Fabric Market, located there, is one of the largest in China. It is an area in the Haizhou district, with many points and centers for textiles, clothing and accessories.

Wenzhou – footwear production area
Wenzhou is a city in Zhejiang province and one of the most important shoe production areas in China. As a result, the city is often referred to as “the Chinese capital of footwear.” More than three thousand shoe manufacturers release one billion different pairs a year. Most of them are located in three places: Lucheng District, Yongjia County, and Rui’an.

Zhili – children’s clothing production area
Zhili is a major children’s clothing production area in China, called “the city of children’s clothing”. It is located in Wuxing District in Zhejiang Province. The region prides itself on having a complete industrial chain of children’s clothing, including design, manufacturing, sales, warehousing and logistics. More than half of the annual production of children’s clothing in China takes place in Zhili.

Keqiao – textile production area
Along with Guangzhou, Keqiao in Zhejiang province is also a crucial area of ​​China’s textile production. More than a quarter of the world’s textile manufacturing is sold in numerous wholesale centers in the city. In addition, Keqiao is located on the New Silk Road and is a global textile distribution center.

Import of garments from China to the EU – types of customs
Before importing clothing from China, it is essential to check their customs fees, which are considerably varied. Tariff rates on goods imported into the European Union can be found in the TARIC system. Garments are found in Section XI relative to “Textiles and textile articles”. Here is an example of customs duty rates on clothing along with the applicable HS codes:

– T-shirts, tank tops and other vests made of knitted cotton or other textile material (6109100010) – 12%
– Tracksuits, ski suits and bathing suits, knitted, cotton or other textile material (6112110000) – 12%
– Sweaters, pullovers, cardigans, vests and similar articles, knitted, woolen or of fine hair (6110113000) – 12%
– Pantyhose, tights, stockings, socks and other hosiery, including graduated compression stockings and knitted synthetic fiber footwear without applied sole (6115210000) – 12%
– Cotton coats, raincoats, coats, capes, cloaks and similar articles (6201121010) – 12%
– Suits, sets, jackets, blazers, pants, bib overalls and suspenders, breeches and shorts (6203193000) – 12%
– Cotton shirts for men or boys (6205200090) – 12%
– Blouses, shirts and shirt blouses for women or girls, of silk or silk waste (6206100000) – 12%
– Cotton briefs and briefs (6207110000) – 12%
– Cotton clothing and accessories for babies (6209200090) – 10.5%
– Swimsuits (6211110000) – 12%
– Ski suits, of wool or of fine animal hair, of cotton or of man-made fibers or other textile materials (6211200010) – 12%
– Bras, in a retail set containing a brasserie and a pair of briefs (6212101000) – 6.5%
– Corselettes (6212300000) – 6.5%
– Shawls, scarves, scarves, mantillas, veils and similar articles, of silk or silk waste (6214100090) – 8%
– Ties, bow ties and neckties, of silk or silk waste (6215100090) – 6.3%
– Gloves, mittens and mittens (62160000) 7.6%
– Worn clothing and other worn items (6309,000,000) – 5.3%

In the case of clothing, the tariff rates may vary depending on the textile used, the manufacturing method, and women’s and men’s clothing. That is why it is worth paying special attention to these matters.

Read here our article on Importing solar panels from China to the EU

Importing garments from China to the EU: requirements
When importing from China into the European Union, it is mandatory to know all the mandatory requirements on a product. First of all, garment importers should pay attention to labeling. It means that they have to know what kinds of materials have been used to make the clothes. The materials must comply with Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemical products (REACH). The main purpose of this regulation is to protect the health and life of people. In this case, it aims to show that the clothing is not made from materials that contain SVHC substances.

What information should be on the label?

* Product name;
* Information about the importer;
* Name of the country where the producer’s headquarters is located (if it is a country outside the EU and EFTA)
* Composition of raw material in%
* Conservation method in graphic form and description;
* Information and symbols that will help consumers to take care of their clothes, that is, symbols related to washing, ironing and drying.

Remember that the label has to be in the language of the country to which the garments are destined. Therefore, it is worth taking care of this matter before import to avoid any inconvenience during customs.

CITES permit
If the clothing is made from materials of animal origin, i.e. leather and furs, make sure to obtain a CITES permit for importation. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) contains a list of endangered animals that cannot be imported. Its objective is to protect wild species of plants and animals. Therefore, when importing this type of garment, it is mandatory to comply with this requirement.


Oeko-Tex is one of the most important and credible eco-labels in the world. Although it is not mandatory to obtain it, it is sure that it distinguishes the product in the market. Such marking means that the garment is free of harmful substances and meets specific quality criteria. In addition, it reduces the textiles produced with substances harmful to health and dangerous in terms of use with prolonged contact with the skin on the market. If a product is Oeko-Tex branded, it means that all of its elements have been thoroughly tested. Therefore, it is worth getting such a label to increase the prestige and reliability of your garments.

You also have to pay attention to the reservation that applies to branded products. Retail prices for branded clothing in China are quite high. This is why a Chinese company is unlikely to offer favorable prices for branded clothing in an international transaction. That is, most of the offers related to this type of clothing are counterfeit products. It is better to avoid these kinds of suspicious offers to prevent the Customs Office from taking over our products. This way, you will also protect yourself from losing money and paying the financial penalty.

Apparel and apparel trade shows in China
One of the best methods to find a supplier from China is to attend a trade fair. China offers a variety of such events in cities across the country. They allow importers to test products and speak personally with suppliers. It is also a great opportunity to negotiate with manufacturers.

Below is a list of trade shows during which items from the apparel and apparel category are featured.

Shenzhen International Brand Underwear Fair

SIUF is a high-class platform for international brands and national underwear production bases.

Location: Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center, Shenzhen

Shenzhen Intertextile Garment Fabric Fair

This event is an excellent opportunity to meet international suppliers of high-quality textile and apparel manufacturers in the fast-growing region.

Location: Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center, Shenzhen

Hong Kong Fashion Week Spring / Summer

The fair offers a wide variety of products and services for all seasons, such as fashion accessories, bridal and evening wear, intimate wear, clothing supplies and accessories, children’s wear and more.

Location: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, Hong Kong

Global Sources Fashion Fair

It is one of the largest fashion fairs in Hong Kong, dedicated to clothing, bags and luggage, accessories, underwear and swimwear, footwear, fabrics and many more.

Location: AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong

Garment imports from China to the EU – overview
Importing clothing from China to the EU remains popular due to the high quality and reasonable price offered by Chinese manufacturers. Buying large quantities of clothes cheaply and selling them can be a profitable business. However, it should be noted that importing clothing from China to the EU carries some obligations. Therefore, if you want to import clothes from the Chinese, you have to make sure that it meets all the European requirements. Also, be sure to verify a vendor before completing the transaction to ensure they are trustworthy.