Importing fashion accessories to the US

Clothing and various fashion accessories are one of the most popular items imported from China. In addition to the wide range of fashion accessories offered by Chinese manufacturers, the prices are relatively low for good quality. When importing fashion accessories to the US, you should pay attention to customs tariffs, production areas, compliance, and trade shows.

Importing fashion accessories to the US

What kinds of fashion accessories can you import from China?

Fashion accessories are a broad category, including knitted accessories, jewelry, footwear, bags, umbrellas, wallets, ties, hats, belts, watches, etc. As the world’s manufacturing hub, China has plenty of producers offering a wide range of accessories at competitive prices. The most popular products include:

  • Rings
  • Necklaces
  • Bracelets
  • Bags
  • Scarves
  • Sunglasses
  • Hair accessories
  • Leather accessories (belts, wallets, etc.)

There are three primary ways to search for suppliers: online (on platforms such as Alibaba, Global Sources, and Made in China), in wholesale markets, or during trade fairs, which will be discussed later.

Importing fashion accessories from China is a profitable business because it is cost-effective. In contrast, the retail prices may be much higher due to the markups, especially when it comes to luxury brands. However, be careful when it comes to sourcing branded goods from China. Firstly, beware of counterfeit goods; secondly, you must have a license to distribute many branded items in the US.

Fashion accessories production areas in China

The largest production areas specializing in manufacturing fashion accessories include the following provinces:

Major textile production areas include Guangzhou (Guangdong Province) and Keqiao District in Shaoxing (Zhejiang Province). The most significant number of shoe manufacturers in China can be found in Wenzhou (Zhejiang).

You can also search for manufacturers of fashion accessories in wholesale markets, the biggest of which are located in the cities of Qingdao, Yiwu, and Guangzhou.

Importing fashion accessories from China to the US China map

Tariffs on fashion accessories imported from China to the US

Payment of customs duty is an obligation of every importer sourcing from China. Harmonized Tariff Schedule System set up by the United States International Trade Commission will help you verify the current rates. Many fashion accessories are included in Sections XI and XII. Below, we present a list of fashion accessories and tariff rates:

  • 4202.21.60.00 – handbags, whether or not with shoulder strap, including those without handle, with outer surface of leather or of composition leather, valued not over $20 each (10%)
  • 4202.31.60.00 – wallets, purses, etc. (articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag) of leather or of composition leather (8%)
  • 4203.30.00.00 – belts and bandoliers with or without buckles, of leather or composition leather (2.7%)
  • 6116.92.00.00 – gloves, mittens, and mitts, knitted or crocheted, depending on the type of fabric (9,4% – 23.5%)
  • 6117.10.00.00 – shawls, scarves, mufflers, mantillas, veils, and the like, depending on materials (1.5% – 11.3%)
  • 6117.80.87.00 – ties, bow ties, and cravats, non-silk (5%)
  • 6403.51.00.00 – leather shoes covering the ankle, depending on value and materials used (0% – 10%)
  • 6404.11.00.00 – sports footwear with uppers of textile materials, depending on soles materials (7.5% – 48%)
  • 6505.00.08.00 – hats and other headgear of felt, other than fur felt (13.5¢/kg + 6.3% + 1.9¢/article)
  • 6505.00.20.00, 6505.00.25.00 – hats and other headgear of cotton (7,5 %)
  • 6601.91.00.00 – umbrellas and sun umbrellas having a telescopic shaft (0%)
  • 6704.00.00.00 – wigs, false beards, eyebrows and eyelashes, switches and the like, of human or animal hair or of textile materials (0%)
  • 7113.11.00.00 – silver jewelry, depending on its type and value (5% – 13.5%)
  • 7113.19.21.00 – necklaces and neck chains, of gold, rope-type (5%)
  • 7117.19.90.00 – imitation jewelry of base metals, other than chains (11%)
  • 9004.10.00.00 – sunglasses (2%)
  • 9101.00.00.00 – wristwatches, depending on the type of mechanism, etc. (0% – $2.19 each + 4.8% on the case + 11.2% on the strap, band, or bracelet).

Do not forget to check the quantity the customs tariff applies to. Usually, it is per piece; however, it might be a weight unit in the case of articles of precious metals.

Fashion accessories

Importing fashion accessories to the US – documentation

As soon as your goods reach the port of entry in the US, you will have to file the necessary import documents within five days. The mandatory documentation includes:

  • Commercial Invoice issued by the seller
  • Packing List including important information about the shipment
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Customs bond (for all commercial imports valued at $2500 or more)
  • Written evidence of the contract of carriage (Bill of Lading, B/L for sea freight or Air Waybill AWB for air freight)
  • Entry Manifest (CBP Form 7533).

It is not the end of the list. For maritime transport, you also need to file the Import Security Filing, known as “10+2”. It is a requirement for all seaborne goods imported into the US.

Fashion accessories compliance in the US

Some fashion accessories may fall under the category of clothing; however, most accessories such as hats, gloves, jewelry, hair accessories, etc. are subject to less strict compliance rules.

All such products must comply with the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) standards and California Proposition 65, which list restricted substances, especially heavy metals and chemicals, as well as the acceptable levels thereof in specific product categories. For example, nickel, lead, cadmium, mercury, and phthalates levels are crucial when it comes to jewelry. If a given product contains exceeded amounts of hazardous substances, it should be explicitly stated on a warning label. The only way to ensure substance compliance is through lab testing, as the imported goods may not be produced specifically for the US market.

Additionally, labeling and advertising jewelry are regulated by FTC Guidelines Section 23, applicable primarily to precious metals and pearl jewelry. It is forbidden to make misleading claims about the materials. It also applies to leather products/parts; consumers must be provided with information on whether a product is made in genuine leather, faux leather, etc.

Stringent rules apply to children’s products, including fashion accessories. For details, you can refer to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

Remember that all products must bear a Country of Origin label, which can be placed on the packaging if the accessory is too small.

More regulations are in place for handbags and backpacks from China.

Fashion accessories trade shows in China

Fashion accessories trade shows in China

Trade shows can be an excellent opportunity to get to know manufacturers and their offers in person. There is a great deal of fashion accessories vendors in the below-mentioned fashion fairs:

China International Fashion Fair (CHIC)

Venue: National Convention & Exhibition Center, Shanghai

Website: enmar.chicfair.com/?exTabId=4&languageId=1

About the trade fair: Asia’s largest and most influential professional fashion exhibition.

Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics

Venue: National Exhibition and Convention Center, Shanghai

Website: intertextile-shanghai-apparel-fabrics-autumn.hk.messefrankfurt.com/shanghai/en

About the trade fair: a world-renowned exhibition of fabrics and accessories.

All China Leather Exhibition (ACLE)

Venue: Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC)

Website: aclechina.com/en-us

About the trade fair: the leading leather products exhibition in China.

China International Gold, Jewellery & Gem Fair

Venue: Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center

Website: shenzhenjewelleryfair.com/en-us

About the trade fair: one of the significant jewelry exhibitions in East China covers not only fashion jewelry (jadeite, pearls, gemstone, etc.) but also fashion accessories such as watches, buckles, scarves, etc.

Shoes & Leather – Guangzhou

Venue: China Import and Export Fair Complex Area A, Guangzhou

Website: toprepute.com.hk/shoes-and-leather-guangzhou

About the trade fair: among the exhibited items, you can find not only the ones included in the name of the show but also leather goods making machinery and shoe accessories.

Canton Fair Phase Three

Venue: Canton Fair Complex, Guangzhou

Website: cantonfair.org.cn/en

About the trade fair: Canton Fair is among the world’s biggest trade shows. During Phase Three, you can explore the offer of textiles, bags, and footwear manufacturers.

Hong Kong International Jewelry Show

Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

Website: event.hktdc.com/fair/hkjewellery-en/HKTDC-Hong-Kong-International-Jewellery-Show

About the trade fair: an exhibition of fine jewelry, pearls, gemstones, etc., held both on-site and online.

Ningbo International Fashion Fair

Venue: Ningbo International Convention and Exhibition Center

Website: iffair.cn

About the trade fair: a certified and influential comprehensive fashion expo.

Shanghai International Bags Leather Handbags Exhibition

Venue: Shanghai New International Expo Center (SNIEC)

Website: shyhzl.com.cn

About the trade fair: the expo might be of greatest interest to the importers of luxury brand handbags.

To sum up:

  • There are numerous fashion accessories (scarves, belts, jewelry, footwear, umbrellas, etc.) that you can source from China, e.g. from Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, or Fujian provinces.
  • The customs tariffs on fashion accessories depend mainly on the materials used, ranging from 0% to around 20%.
  • There are some general rules concerning the levels of chemicals and heavy metals, but generally speaking, the compliance requirements are not exceptionally strict.
  • Check if your supplier is reliable before placing the order.
  • Check the information about shipping cargo from China to the US.