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Importing Vegetable Textiles & Other Fibers

The textile industry is highly regulated, so if you're importing products classified as vegetable textiles and other fibers, be sure to follow these guidelines.

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Importing Products Classified as **_Vegetable Textile Fibers; Paper Yarn and Woven Fabric of Paper Yarn**_

While there is a standardized process for importing any goods into the United States, every type of product or good has its own system of classification specified by the U.S. Trade Commission. The textile industry is considered trade sensitive, and as a result is highly regulated. Because the requirements for imports change often, it is important to pay close attention to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule database’s very thorough classification guidelines to complete the import process as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Tools for Understanding the Classification Process

The U.S. Trade Commission provides a database (http://hts.usitc.gov/) for the Harmonized Tariff Schedule that extensively outlines the classifications for a type of product, along with its duty rates and special duty exemptions under trade agreements. Chapter 53 covers the duty rates for different classifications of other vegetable textile fibers; paper yarn and woven fabric of paper yarn.

The main classifications under Chapter 53 of HTSUS are:

  • 5301 Flax, raw or processed but not spun; flax tow and waste (including yarn waste and garneted stock)
  • 5302 True hemp (Cannabis sativa L.), raw or processed but not spun; tow and waste of true hemp (including yarn waste and garneted stock)
  • 5303 Jute and other textile-based fibers (excluding flax, true hemp and ramie), raw or processed but not spun; tow and waste of these fibres (including yarn waste and garneted stock)
  • 5305 Coconut, abaca, ramie and other vegetable textile fibers, not elsewhere specified or included, raw or processed but not spun; tow, noils and waste of these fibers (including yarn waste and garneted stock)
  • 5306 Flax yarn
  • 5307 Yarn of jute or of other textile bast fibers of 5303
  • 5308 Yarn of other vegetable textile fibers; paper yarn
  • 5309 Woven fabrics of flax
  • 5310 Woven fabrics of jute or of other textile based fibers of 5303
  • 5311 Woven fabrics of other vegetable textile fibers; woven fabrics of paper yarn

The Importing Process

When importing these fibers and yarns, it is important to complete the following steps:

  • Compliance with quota restraints and visa requirements
    • Bilateral agreements may impose restrictions or quotas on your imported goods. You also may need a special visa to import your good, depending on your good’s country of origin. In some cases, the U.S. has limitations on the quantity of your product allowed into the U.S. for a specific period of time, which is often part of conditions for receiving preferential duty treatment under special trade legislation. Contact the International Trade Administration’s Office of Textiles and Apparel to make sure you are updated on the current quotas, as they change regularly.
  • Submission of U.S. Customs Country-of-Origin Declaration(s)
    • Importers must identify the country where the products were processed or manufactured.
    • If importing products manufactured partly in the U.S. and partly abroad, you must clarify this in the Country of Origin Declaration.
  • Compliance with entry invoice and labeling requirements
    • In terms of invoice information, textile products imported into the United States must contain the following information as required by the TFPIA, unless TFPIA Section 12:1 states otherwise: the generic names and percentages, by weight of the product’s fibers that constitute more than 5% of the good 2) the name of the manufacturer or the FTC name or registered identification number of whomever is importing the textile fiber product; and 3) the name of the country where the good was processed.
    • Be sure to check with the full TFPIA requirements for your particular type of product classification, as they are extensive.
  • Compliance with flammability standards adopted and enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) under the Flammable Fabrics Act (FFA)
    • Textile products for consumer use are required to meet the FFA’s standards for flammability hazards, which are outlined in FFA Section 4. FFA Section 11c allows, in some cases, for products that fail to meet flammability standards upon entry to the United States to be altered to meet those standards after further processing.

Special Trade Agreements

The ITC has a system of preferences for developing countries that includes commerce of 4800 products from 131 countries with duty exemptions or preferential agreements.

Preferential or free trade agreements alter the duty rates and regulations for many textiles, as many of them come from developing countries. These exemptions are outlined in the same HTS Database (http://hts.usitc.gov/) alongside the typical duty rates and fees.

These preferential or free trade agreements can result in under-invoicing or other illegal activity, resulting in high scrutiny of these types of goods. To assure that the process is smooth, many companies hire someone locally, at the port, to serve as a point of contact between the CBP and the importers or manufacturers abroad.

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