Exporting Dresses to the US

Question posted by Jamie Baird, on behalf of Charlie Brear Ltd in W1T

We are small bridal manufacturing business in the UK looking to export to the US. I require advice with regards to costs associated with exporting to the US, transport, duties, landed prices, exchange rates, hidden costs, custom clearance.

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Sue Marsden Gilpin, on behalf of UK Trade & Investment USA in United States.

Hello Jamie,

Thanks for getting in touch through the Open to Export portal. As a UK government agency, UKTI is unable to provide legal advice but we posted an article recently about navigating US Customs, including how to classify your goods, determine duty rates, find a broker, etc.

Direct link here: http://opentoexport.com/article/top-10-u-s-trade-questions-1-u-s-customs/

Hope this helps.


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Gemma Price, on behalf of @GemmaPriceUK in W13.

Hi Jamie

Welcome to Open to Export!

Please could you advise if you will be exporting the dresses to a consumer or a business?

Also please provide approx. location, dimensions & weights and approx. value of the goods, for example:


1 CARTON 70 x 70 x 50 CMS

VALUE : $500.00

Armed with this information I will be able to give you an idea of costs, timescales & customs procedures.

Kind regards


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HMRC Advisor, on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs in G67.

Information on the Customs requirements for exporting is given in HMRC Public Notice 275. All notices can be found on our website www.hmrc.gov.uk under Quick Links > Library > Official Statistics – Publications – Notices, Info Sheets & Other Reference Materials > Import, Export & International Trade. The Public Notices are in numerical order.

Further detailed information regarding exporting goods outside the EU can be found on our website by using the following link http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPortalWebApp.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pageImport_ShowContent&propertyType=document&resetCT=true&id=HMCE_PROD1_032667

You may find the Export Best Practice Guide particularly helpful

HM Revenue & Customs
Customs International Trade & Excise

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Hello Jamie,
One of the unfortunate things about importing to the USA is that you have to cope with the fact that each State in the USA has different taxes. The rate of import duty should be the same but some States charge tax and others don't.

The other issue is that there are Federal requirements which must be met but there are also additional State requirements particularly California.

Import duties for clothing depend on what the item is e.g. dress but also on the fabric composition which needs to be stated on the shipping documentation. I don't know if you use embellishments on the dresses such as beads etc. but these will also need to be mentioned. Customs tariff codes are used to describe the items to customs.

You should decide if you will export your items hanging or folded. This will make a difference to the freight costs and the packing costs. It is possible to do either. Hanging boxes are available you don' t have to have hanging rails.

You need the weight and dimensions of your boxes in order to obtain a freight quote. Do obtain several quotes from different providers or both airfreight and courier services.

You will need to use INCOterms to explain to everyone who is paying for which part of the transportation, import duty and tax e.g. FCA or DAP.

A lot of this can be looked up on-line but if you would like to contact me directly please do.


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