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how-to-import, Uncategorized

How to import clothing, textile, wool & fur products into the US

Americans love their clothing – but if you take a minute to look through your closet, you may notice that your clothes are made up of textiles from all over the world. In fact, textiles like wool and fur are well-known trade products for many countries. Importing textiles can get a little confusing due to the wide variety of textiles and countries of origins, so following guidelines is key.

When textiles are made into ready-to-wear apparel they are required to come with labels that share the content of the clothing as well as the instructions for washing and drying. Therefore, textiles (or the package they travel in) should be labeled with country of origin. This way, the designer or company that purchases the textile will have no trouble complying with labeling rules.

Labeling

The Textile Fiber Products Identification Act regulates how textiles should be labeled. If you’ve examined your clothing’s tag and labels, you’ll recognize the required information. According to the TFPIA, textiles need to be marked with the following information:

  • Name of fibers that make up the textile and percentage of fibers (when over 5%). For example: Cotton50%, Wool 50%
  • Percentage/composition. The fibers should be listed from largest percent to smallest. Any constituent fiber that makes up less than 5% of the product can be called “other fiber(s).” For example: Cotton 50%, Wool 47%, Other Fiber3%
  • Manufacturer’s identifying information. The manufacturer must be listed either by name or by an identification number given by the FTC. Also acceptable is a word trademark as long as it is registered with the US Patent Office and the FTC receives a copy of that registration.
  • Country where the product was manufactured or assembled.

Certain products are exempt, if they fall under section 12 of the TFPIA.

For wool, similar rules exist. All woolen items save for carpets, mats, upholstery, and products made more than 20 years before they are imported, require certain information on their labels. Some of the information necessary is as follows:

  • Percentage of wool. A wool item will be listed as wool or recycled wool. Every non-wool fiber that is more than 5% of the total wool textile’s weight must also be listed.
  • Percentage of non-fibrous portions. The percent of the product’s weight that comes from non-fibrous filling or backing material must be listed.
  • The manufacturer or importer’s name. In lieu of a personal name, the importer’s registered identification number as issued by the FTC can also be used.

To figure out the wool classification of your product, you can look at Chapter 51 of the Harmonized Tarriff Schedule (HTS) Here.

With all the fuss that is made about fur, you can bet there will be similar regulations in place for this textile. Labels for fur products must include:

  • The manufacturer or importer’s name. In lieu of a personal name, the importer’s registered identification number as issued by the FTC can also be used.
  • Identity of the animal from which the product is made. The Fur Products Name Guide along with FTC regulations set the standard for identifying the fur bearing animal.
  • Quality of fur. If the product is made with used or damaged fur, the label must state that. If the product has been artificially colored with bleach or dye, it must be on the label.
  • Composition of fur. If the product is made mostly or wholly from less desirable parts, such as paws, tails, bellies, or waste fur, it must be stated on the label.
  • Country of origin. The label must state where the fur hails from.

Exception to the above labeling regulations are allowed for fur products that are sold for $7 or less. Fur’s HTS classification is covered in chapters 43, 51, and 65 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.

For both wool and fur items, a commercial invoice is required if the shipment is valued above $500. It is also important to note that selling or contributing to selling any fur that is made from dog or cats is illegal. Some products have complicated origins, and determining a country of origin warrants a look at further instructions here. An example of this type of item would be an Italian-made blouse of Chinese silk.

HTS code

Your product’s HTS code, which is a ten-digit code, will be included on forms for CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) such as the customs clearance invoice. The freight forwarder you choose will use it to fill out paperwork destined for both the import and export country. They will also arrange all the travel for your product, so your textile products will end up safely in the US.

Fees

Besides the tax and duties as identified from the HTS code, for goods that is shipped as ocean freight, you must pay Harbor Maintenance Fees (HMF) for the destination port. This fee is .125% of the product’s value. And if you are shipping via air or ocean freight, you’ll be responsible for Merchandise Processing Fees (MPF), which is nearly .35% of the product’s value before you are charged for duty, freight fees, and insurance. The MPF will never be less than $25, and can only go up to $485.

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