How To Import Textile Products Into Canada

Your how to guide on textile and apparel imports into Canada

If you are importing clothing, linens, animal skins such as leather and fur or other articles of fabric into Canada, you must know what government parties are involved, what regulations must be followed, and the fundamental aspects of textile imports.

Main Regulations:

Import Fundamentals:

  • You will be acting as the Importer of Record. Therefore, you are the party ultimately responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the import declaration; as well as, the payment of applicable duties and taxes into Canada
  • Duty and tax must be paid upon importation into Canada.
  • The rate of duty is determined by the tariff of the commodity being imported, the value of the goods and, the origin of the goods.
  • Certain import documentation is required to be presented to the border services officer at the port of entry.
  • Your import may be subject to a customs review, inspection or audit prior to, or after the importation. Additional fees may be levied by the Government of Canada for these services.
  • You are required to keep your import records for six years following the date of import and can be audited by Customs at any point during this time.

FAQ: Textile and Apparel Imports

What are the labeling requirements for garments sold in Canada?
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All garments sold in Canada must have the following information appearing on the label:
  • Fiber content (5% or more)
  • Appears in English and French
  • Dealer identity (CA#)
Fiber content examples:
Body: 65% polyester 35% cotton
Sleeves: 50% polyester 50% cotton
How must the garment label be formatted in Canada?
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The are a few rules for how a garment label must be formatted in Canada. The garment label must:

  • Appear on disclosure label
  • Be able to withstand 10 washings
  • Be accurate if size and care instructions are used (this particular information itself is not mandatory but if disclosed must be accurate)
Can I import textiles into Canada using a Free Trade Agreement?
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There are many free trade agreements currently in place with Canada and other countries, however many do not include textiles. Four of these Free Trade Agreements have a provision called Tariff Preference Level (TPL). Without TPL allied, the rate of duty to import textiles into Canada is typically 17% or 18%.

Want to learn more about Free Trade Agreements?
Read our post Enjoy Duty Free Imports With Free Trade Agreements
What is Tariff Preference Level (TPL)
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Tariff Preference Level is a provision that allows for specific quantities of certain yarns, fabrics, apparel and, textile articles traded among parties in certain Free Trade Agreement as a preferential tariff rate so long as they meet the modified FTA rules of origin under the agreement. Under TPL most rate of duty will be reduced.

What are the requirements for Tariff Preference Level?
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In order to qualify for Tariff Preference Level an importer must obtain an import permit issued by Global Affairs Canada. In order to do so the importer must be able to provide proof the goods meet the modified rules of origin. Normally this is an additional certification from the exporter.

The importer can apply for the permit directly from Global Affairs Canada, however when a customs broker is used for the import clearance the customs broker will apply for the permit on the Importer’s behalf.

Are some goods used in apparel restricted from import into Canada?
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Yes.Some goods require permits or a license to import them into Canada. For example, animal skins or furs could be subject to these extra requirements. Importers are encouraged to refer to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to determine if an animal fur or skin they would like to import into Canada is admissible.

Cow leather is not on the CITIES list.

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