Import of clothing from China to the European Union

China has long been one of the crucial factors influencing the textile industry’s development. It manufactures most of the garments in the world and is also the most significant textile exporter. For many importers, China is a country where you can buy many clothes and sell them with a big profit. Chinese manufacturers provide clothing both at a reasonable price and high quality. This article presents all you need to know about the import of clothing from China to the EU.

Production areas of clothes in China

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

Production areas of clothes - provinces

Guangzhou – textile production area

Guangzhou is the capital city of the Guangdong province and the third biggest city in China. It concentrates many textile production facilities. It plays a vital role in the development of the clothing industry in the region. The fabrics market Zhongda, located there, is one of the biggest in China. It’s an area in the Haizhou District with many textiles, clothes and accessories points and centers.

Wenzhou – footwear production area

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

Zhili – children’s clothing production area

Zhili is an important production area of children’s clothing in China, called “the city of children’s clothes.” It’s located in the Wuxing District in the Zhejiang province. The region prides itself on a complete industrial chain of children’s garments, including design, manufacturing, sales, warehousing, and logistics. Over half of the kids’ clothing yearly production in China takes place in Zhili.

Keqiao – textile production area

Along with Guangzhou, Keqiao in the Zhejiang province is also a crucial area of China’s textile production. Over a quarter of textiles’ global manufacture is sold in numerous wholesale centers in the city. In addition, Keqiao is located on the New Silk Road and is a worldwide center of textiles distribution.

Production areas of clothes - cities

Import of clothing from China to the EU – customs rates

Before importing clothes from China, it’s essential to check their customs rates, which are considerably varied. One can find the duty rates on goods imported into the European Union in the TARIC system. Garments are in Section XI concerning “Textiles and textile articles.” Below we present an example of custom duty rates on clothing along with the applicable HS codes:

  • T-shirts, singlets and other vests, knitted or crocheted of cotton or other textile material (6109100010) – 12%
  • Tracksuits, ski suits and swimwear, knitted or crocheted of cotton or other textile material (6112110000) – 12%
  • Jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats and similar articles, knitted or  crocheted of wool or fine animal hair (6110113000) – 12%
  • Pantyhose, tights, stockings, socks and other hosiery, including graduated compression hosiery and footwear without applied soles, knitted or crocheted, of synthetic fibres (6115210000) – 12%
  • Overcoats, raincoats, car coats, capes, cloaks and similar articles, of cotton (6201121010) – 12%
  • Suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (6203193000) – 12%
  • Men’s or boys’ shirts, of cotton (6205200090) – 12%
  • Women’s or girls’ blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses, of silk or silk waste (6206100000) – 12%
  • Underpants and briefs, of cotton (6207110000) – 12%
  • Babies’ garments of clothing and accessories, of cotton (6209200090) – 10.5%
  • Swimwear (6211110000) – 12%
  • Ski suits, of wool or fine Animal hair, of cotton or of man-made fibres, or other textile materials (6211200010) – 12%
  • Brassieres, in a set made up for retail sale containing a brasserie and a pair of briefs (6212101000) – 6.5%
  • Corselettes (6212300000) – 6.5%
  • Shawls, scarves, mufflers, mantillas, veils and the like, of silk or silk waste (6214100090) – 8%
  • Ties, bow ties and cravats, of silk or silk waste (6215100090) – 6.3%
  • Gloves, mittens and mitts (62160000) 7.6%
  • Worn clothing and other worn articles (6309000000) – 5.3%

In the case of garments, the duty rates may vary according to the textile used, manufacturing method, and women’s and men’s clothing. That is why it’s worth paying particular attention to such matters.

Import of clothing from China to the EU – requirements

When importing from China to the European Union, it’s obligatory to know all the mandatory requirements concerning a product. First and foremost, the importers of garments must pay attention to labeling. It means they have to know what kind of materials have been used to manufacture the clothes. The materials must be compliant with Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of The Council concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). The primary purpose of this regulation is to protect human health and life. In this case, it aims to prove that the clothes aren’t made from materials containing SVHC substance.

What information must be on the tag?

  • Product’s name
  • Data about the importer
  • Name of the country where the producer’s headquarters is located (if it’s a country outside of the EU and EFTA)
  • Raw material composition in %
  • Method of conservation in a graphic form and a description
  • Information and symbols will help consumers take care of the clothes, meaning symbols concerning washing, ironing, and drying.

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

CITES Permit

If the clothing is made of materials of animal origin, that is, leather and fur, one must make sure to obtain a CITES permit for their import. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) contains a list of endangered animals that cannot be imported. It aims to protect wild species of plants and animals. That’s why, when importing such garments, it’s obligatory to fulfill this requirement.

CITES Permit


Oeko-Tex is one of the most significant and credible eco-labels in the world. Although it’s not obligatory to obtain it, it for sure distinguishes the product on the market. Such marking means that the piece of clothing is free of harmful substances and meets specific quality criteria. What’s more, it reduces textile produced using substances detrimental to health and hazardous in terms of use with prolonged contact with the skin on the market. If a product has the Oeko-Tex mark, it means that every element of it has been thoroughly tested. Therefore, it’s worth getting such a label to increase the prestige and trustworthiness of your garments.


One must also pay attention to the reservation applying to branded products. Retail prices of branded clothing in Chine are pretty high. That’s why it’s unlikely that a Chinese company will offer favorable prices for branded clothing in an international transaction. It means most of the offers concerning such clothes are counterfeit products. It’s better to avoid such suspicious offers to prevent our products from being taken over by the Customs Office. This way, you’ll also protect yourself from losing money and paying the financial penalty.

Apparel and clothing trade fairs in China

One of the best methods to find a supplier from China is attending a specialized trade fair. China offers a variety of such events in cities all over the country. They allow importers to test the products and personally talk to the suppliers. It’s also a great opportunity to negotiate with manufacturers.

Below is a list of fairs during which articles from the apparel and clothing category are presented.

Shenzhen International Brand Underwear Fair

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

  • Location: Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center, Shenzhen
  • Official website:

Intertextile Shenzhen Apparel Fabrics Fair

This event is an excellent opportunity to meet with international suppliers of high-quality textiles and clothing manufacturers in the rapidly growing region.

Hongkong Fashion Week Spring/Summer

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

Global Sources Fashion Trade Fair

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

Import of clothing from China to the EU – summary

Import of clothing from China to the EU maintains its popularity due to the high quality and reasonable price that Chinese manufacturers offer. Buying large amounts of garments cheaply and selling them off may be a profitable business. However, one must keep in mind that importing clothing from China to the EU comes with some obligations. Therefore, if you want to import clothes from the Chinese, you must ensure that they meet all the European requirements. Also, make sure to verify your supplier before completing the transaction to guarantee they’re reliable.

If you’re interested in buying clothes from China, we also encourage you to read our article about importing clothing to the US.