Britain’s Tariffs on Textile: Fabrics Import Duty in the UK

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The UK is among the leading importers of textiles in the world. According to Statista, the value of imported fabric to the region in 2021 was over £6 billion. This shows the presence of business opportunities in the UK for fabric manufacturers in other countries like China, which is one of the biggest exporters to the UK. 

However, if you plan to import textile products to the UK, you should familiarize yourself with the applicable import duty. This will make clearing with customs easy, ensuring the goods are delivered on time. 

How the Fabric Duty Works 

The UK has a tariff system called the UK Global Tariff that outlines rates for all imported goods, including textiles. The tariff applies to imported goods from countries where the UK has no trade agreements. 

The textile tariff lines describe the VAT and customs duty for the many categories of fabric products. Each product line is identified by a code showing the applicable import tax, which varies between 0-8%.  

Import Duty Rates for Select Textile Products 

There are hundreds of product lines, each with its own customs duty. Here we point out a few, focusing on those obtained from nylon, polyester, and cotton. 

Nylon Fabrics Tariffs

Synthetic filament tow derived from nylon and high tenacity synthetic filament yarn, both textured and untextured, has 0.00% import duty. The same applies to synthetic staple fibers of nylon that are carded, not carded, combed, or processed for spinning. 

When importing single or cabled yarn with 85% or more weight of staple nylon fibers, you will incur an import tax of 4%. 

The UK imposes a duty of 8% per square meter for woven fabric derived from high-tenacity nylon yarn. The rate also applies to other woven fabrics obtained from strips and those containing 85% or more by weight of nylon filaments. 

Polyester Fabrics Tariffs

Synthetic filament tow obtained from polyesters and wastes of polyesters has no import duty. The same is true for synthetic staple fibers of polyesters carded, not carded, combed, or processed for spinning. 

Single and multiple yarns with at least 85% weight of polyester staple fiber attract a tariff of 4%. 

Woven fabrics of polyesters with less than 85% of polyester and mixed mainly with cotton and weighing less or more than 170 g/m2 attract the highest import duty of 8%. The rate applies to bleached, unbleached, dyed, and printed polyester staple fibers. 

The 8% import duty is also charged for woven fabrics of synthetic staple fibers with 85% or more by weight of the polyester. 

For other woven fabrics obtained from strips and containing 85% or more by weight of polyester filaments, the customs duty is also 8%. 

Cotton Fabrics Tariffs

Textile products obtained from cotton attract varying import duties depending on the material composition, among other factors. 

Cotton fabrics with 0.00% duty include not carded or combed cotton, cotton waste, which includes yarn waste, cotton sewing thread, and cotton yarn. This indicates that most of the tariff lines for cotton goods attract zero import duty. 

However, there are other classifications with a high import duty of 8%, and these include:

  • Woven fabric with a total weight of more than 200 g/m2 and containing at least 85% weight of cotton.
  • Woven fabric containing less than 85% weight of cotton and mixed mainly with artificial fibers. 
  • All other woven fabrics of cotton e that are bleached, unbleached, dyed, and printed. 


Fabric import duty in the UK varies depending on the nature of the product. The rate can be as low as 0% or a high of up to 8%.

Therefore, before importing textile, know the codes assigned to the specific goods by the UK Global Tariffs and the corresponding import tax percentage. This will help you determine the amount you must pay as import tax.  


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