Customs Issues for Clothing & Textile Industry by Apparel Search

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The mission of the United States Customs Service is to ensure that all goods entering and exiting the United States do so in accordance with all United States laws and regulations.  They provide information and regulations regarding Importing & Exporting of clothing to and from the United States.

If your company imports apparel, clothing, or footwear into the United States of America you will want to learn about the apparel duty rates for certain.

The United States Customs Service, now known as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), plays a critical role in regulating and overseeing the importation of apparel and footwear into the United States. Its primary purposes in relation to the apparel industry are as follows:

1. Ensuring Compliance: CBP enforces various regulations, including those related to customs duties, quotas, and intellectual property rights. It ensures that imported apparel and footwear comply with these regulations.

2. Collecting Duties and Taxes: CBP collects import duties and taxes on clothing and footwear, which are based on the classification, value, and origin of the imported goods. These revenues contribute to government funding.

3. Protecting Intellectual Property: CBP works to prevent counterfeit and infringing products from entering the U.S. market. This is crucial in the fashion industry, where intellectual property rights are vital.

4. Monitoring Trade Agreements: CBP administers and monitors trade agreements related to apparel and footwear imports, ensuring that these agreements are properly implemented and adhered to.

5. Preventing Fraud and Smuggling: CBP combats fraud, smuggling, and illegal transshipment of clothing and footwear, protecting both domestic manufacturers and consumers.

To find specific and up-to-date information related to clothing and footwear imports and CBP's regulations, you can visit the official U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. Here are some links that may be helpful:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Apparel and Footwear Import Information:

   CBP Apparel and Footwear Overview

   CBP Apparel and Footwear Import Guidelines

Harmonized System Codes (HS Codes) for Apparel and Footwear: Understanding HS codes is crucial for proper import classification.

Customs Rulings: These are official decisions by CBP on matters related to importation. They provide valuable guidance on specific cases.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement: Information on how CBP protects intellectual property, which is especially relevant to the fashion industry.

Please note that import regulations and procedures may change over time, so it's essential to consult the CBP website and consider seeking professional advice for specific import-related questions in the apparel and footwear industry.

When dealing with customs issues for clothing or textiles, you will find that many of the agreements have long names, so most people use the abbreviations. Here are a few examples:








Read up on Trade Agreements for the Apparel Industry.

Important resources of interest:

Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States

US Category System

US Tariff Rates

US Tariff and Trade DataWeb

Import Quotas

Customs Rulings

Duty Drawback

Country of Origin Markings

CPSIA  Consumer Products Safety Improvements Act

Importer Security Filing (ISF) Agent: 10+2

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)

Schedule B Search Engine

Apparel Terminology Under the HTSUS : This Informed Compliance Publication provides a brief guide for classifying apparel under chapters 61 and 62 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States (HTSUS), and a glossary of working definitions for the apparel-related provisions that appear in those chapters. It is intended as an aid for importers and interested parties in determining the appropriate HTSUS classifications for apparel, and thus the rates of duty and textile quota categories that correspond to those classifications.

The Apparel Search directory provides you with useful links regarding customs, duty rates, quota categories, HTS #'s, fill rates, importing, exporting etc. This guide is intended to assist members of the clothing and textile industry import and export clothes, fabrics, trimming etc.

US Customs

Exporting (from USA)

Importing (to USA)

Government Resources

Qualifying Industrial Zone

Tariffs Definition

What is a Customs Broker?

Dec. 2, 2002  Importing to USA Under New Customs Regulation

Commodity Description Lookups

Clothing, shoes, and fashion accessories travel The World.  It is important to learn the various importing and exporting rules.

International Information:

The European Commission's Market Access Database gives tariff information for many non-EU countries. The Applied Tariff Database section allows users to get a tariff rate by selecting a country and then searching the database by HS code or by product. The database also has a section Exporters Guide to Import Formalities. This database (searchable by HS code or by product), gives an overview of import procedures to a country, as well as any general and specific requirements for a product.

Additional information and resources to help you learn about customs relevant matters in regard to clothing or textiles:

fashion directory  APEC Tarriff Database:  To find tariff info. etc. for the APEC member economies.  Tariffs and Rules of Origin in APEC member economies.  Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC): Established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies.  Its goal is to advance economic dynamism and sense of community within the Asia-Pacific region.

fashion directory  Boskage: Thomson Reuters Global Trade Publications: source for books, computer programs, broker training courses, U.S. Customs and other government publications relating to international business.

fashion directory  CAFTA U.S. - Central American Free Trade Agreement

fashion directory  Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act  (CBERA):The primary goal of CBERA is to promote export-oriented growth in the Caribbean Basin countries and to diversify their economies away from such traditional agricultural products and raw materials as aluminum, bananas, coffee, petroleum, and sugar.

fashion directory  Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA): Tariff and customs information can be found.  The COMESA member countries are: Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

fashion directory  C-TPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against (Terrorism)

fashion directory FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas): This site follows the process initiated in the 1994 Summit of the Americas to integrate the economies of the Western Hemisphere into a single free trade arrangement.

fashion directory  International Trade Administration: One out of every 10 Americans owes his or her job to exports... But with the advent of the Internet and e-commerce, trade's greatest contributions to world prosperity may still lie ahead. The International Trade Administration (ITA) is here to help your U.S. businesses participate fully in the growing global marketplace. They provide practical information to help you select your markets and products. They ensure that you have access to international markets as required by our trade agreements. They safeguard you from unfair competition from dumped and subsidized imports. ITA is headed by the Under Secretary for International Trade who oversees the operations of ITA's four units: The Commercial Service is your primary point of contact throughout the United States and the world. A global network of Commercial Officers can help you at every stage of the exporting process. Manufacturing and Services is the government's link to American industry. Industry sector specialists can help you identify trade opportunities for specific products or services. Market Access and Compliance keeps world markets open to your products. Country specialists can help you benefit from our trade agreements with other countries. Import Administration impartially enforces our trade laws, ensuring that you face a level playing field in the domestic marketplace.

fashion directory  Logistics Zone: LogisticsZone is the online service dedicated to the vibrant world of logistics, transportation, distribution, supply chain management, and international business.  LogisticsZone gives a "one-stop" location for anything concerning logistics. 

fashion directory  Major Shippers Report:  This report provides General Import statistics by date of import from the Census Bureau for a variety of recent time periods on countries which exceed certain thresholds. The statistics are also summarized in notional categories and countries for the convenience of CITA Agencies. The status of any controls on these imports is also provided. Data does not include plastic apparel.

fashion directory  Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC) [China]: To formulate development strategies, guidelines and policies of domestic and foreign trade and international economic cooperation, draft laws and regulations governing domestic and foreign trade, economic cooperation and foreign investment, devise implementation rules and regulations. To study and put forward proposals on harmonizing domestic legislations on trade and economic affairs as well as bringing Chinese economic and trade laws into conformity with multilateral and bilateral treaties and agreements.

fashion directory  North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):  Relevant section of NAFTA relating to the apparel and textile industries. Sections include: Executive Summary, yarn, fabric, Made-Up Articles Apparel, Annex I Spun yarn Tariff Preference Level (TPL), Annex II fabric and Made-Up Articles Tariff Preference Level (TPL), Annex III Apparel (Non-Wool) Tariff Preference Level (TPL), Annex IV Apparel (Wool) Tariff Preference Level (TPL), Annex 300-B Textiles and Apparel Goods, and Annex 401: Specific Rules of Origin.

fashion directory  United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA):

fashion directory  US Customs Official Web Site : U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

fashion directory  U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA): Provides: major shippers report, Harmonized Tariff Schedule correlations, list of embargoes, information on current publications and upcoming USDOC trade events, and Federal Register notices.

fashion directory  U.S. Textile and Apparel Category System: To view a Correlation of Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) numbers with a specific textile or apparel category number.  This service is part of OTEXA.

fashion directory  The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Textiles and Clothing: Provides for the phased liberalization and elimination over the transition period of quotas on textiles and apparel imported from WTO member countries. The Agreement was approved as part of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act by the U.S. Congress in December, 1994. The Agreement went into effect on January 1, 1995. On-line sections include: Integration, Quota Growth Rates, Tariff (Duty) Rate Reductions, and Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC).

After you transport your product, don't forget to find a warehouse to store your garments.

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