The EU is the UK’s largest garment export market, with textiles, footwear, and women’s and girls’ clothes accounting for most of the exports. With the United Kingdom no longer a member of the European Union, several significant changes to UK-EU trade treaties have occurred. Here’s what you’ll need to export clothing from the UK to the EU.

Get your business export-ready

Because Great Britain and Northern Ireland have slightly different economic agreements with the EU, the steps required to export from each region vary. Before your business can start exporting, you’ll need the following:

  • A UK EORI number beginning with GB if exporting from Great Britain and one starting with XI if exporting from Northern Ireland.
  • Access to a duty deferment account.
  • To assess whether your clothing items meet the Rules of Origin for zero tariff.
  • Access to an agent that can submit declarations on your behalf

Additionally, If you expect a VAT taxable turnover exceeding £85,000 or have had a similar turnover in the last 12 months, you must register for VAT. You can also register voluntarily, which is a good idea because you will be eligible for VAT relief on any export taxes you pay.

Ensure that the business you are sending clothing to can import them into their country, which includes filing an import declaration in their country and obtaining the licences and certificates to receive goods from the UK. Once that is done, you can begin exporting clothing from UK to EU, both retail and wholesale.

Classify the Goods

Getting the proper commodity codes for your clothing and shoes will ensure that you pay the right customs duty and VAT. To find the correct code, you need to know the constituents of the clothes, the method of construction, and a few other details. Commodity codes, including those for exporting wholesale clothing from the UK to EU, go under chapters 61 and 62. For example, code:

  • 6106200000 to import crocheted womens blouses made of man-made fibres.
  • 6110129010 for handmade cashmere cardigans for women.
  • 6202121010 for importing womens parkas weighing under 1kg made of cotton.
  • 6209200010 to bring in cotton baby mittens.

Chapter 64 of the traffic covers commodity codes for exporting shoes from the UK to the EU. Like clothing, the tariff classifies footwear according to its constituent materials. For instance:

  • 6401990010 to import knee-length waterproof footwear.
  • 6403120000 for ski-boots.
  • 6404110000 to bring in basketball trainers with rubber outsoles.

VAT and Export Duties

To calculate VAT, you need to calculate the customs value of your goods, which includes freight and export insurance costs. When determining the value of your apparel and shoes for export, use your selling price or the market price.

Most items traded between the UK and the EU are exempt from tariffs and quotas. However, to qualify for tariff-free entry into the EU, you should expect checks to certify the origin of your exports. The EU has set a restriction on the proportions of goods built from parts made overseas to qualify for a preferential tariff.

Export Declarations, Shipping and Logistics

It’s best to delegate customs duties to a specialist freight forwarder. Experienced couriers frequently have HMRC authorisation to file simplified declarations instead of full declarations, which can significantly speed up the process.

For your sea freight or rail freight operator to post a simplified declaration on your behalf, you will need to be a fully established business in the UK. Both full and simplified declarations require special software to communicate with CHIEF or the Customs Declaration Service (CDC).

To export wholesale clothing, you can specifically choose to use a simplified declaration. You will then have six months to submit a supplementary declaration providing the full detail of the export and the financial information, then pay the export duty and VAT.

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