Textile trade

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is also involved with the following areas of textile trade

  • Bilateral agreements on trade of textile and clothing between the European Union and third countries.
  • World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations and multilateral developments.
  • Improving market entry and enhancing the competitiveness.

As the foreign trade regulations are controlled by the European Union, we also share common positions in textile trade. At the moment, attention is mostly given to improving the competitiveness of textile industry and market entry in third countries; these issues are handled by the European Commission’s Market Access Advisory Committee (MAAC).

Problems related to market access (tariff and non-tariff barriers) are solved by negotiating both multilateral (WTO Doha Development Agenda) and regional and bilateral agreements.

Once the Lisbon Agreement enters into force, the issues of textile trade will be also discussed by the European Council’s Steel, Textiles and Other Industrial Sectors (STIS) expert committee and the European Commission’s Textile Committee (COMTEX).

Textile trade

Textile trade 

The European Union quota and surveillance  

The European Union imposes quantitative restrictions or quota and, within the framework of double control system, also surveillance on certain textile products and clothing, originating from some third countries.

Both measures include the member state’s obligation to issue an export authorisation or surveillance document for imported goods that are released for free circulation.

The European Union has concluded bilateral agreements on textile trade with 36 countries.

The products, covered by contracts, are grouped into product categories, usually used as the bases for allocating quota, by commodity codes (CN/HS).

Estonia or any other member state does not have a separate quota as one uniform quota is available to the European Union.

The European Union export authorisations, quota and surveillance, conducted within the framework of double checks, are administrated electronically by means of an integrated SIGL system – Système Intégré de Gestion des Licences. The SIGL website allows monitoring information about the country of origin of the products, amount of quota and their use and fulfilment.   

Measures applicable under bilateral agreements:
Council regulation (EEC) No 3030/93 on common rules for imports of certain textile products from third countries and Commission implementing regulation (EU) no. 1164/2012 amending Annexes I and II to Council Regulation (EEC) No 3030/93.

Application for quota and issue of import authorisation 

Application for quota and issue of import authorisation takes place as follows:

Third country enterprise will contact a national authority or institution with an application to be issued an export licence, which will be based on a business transaction between the exporting country and an European Union member state enterprise. Standard export licence will be issued against the undertaking’s application; one licence will only cover one product group/category, covered by quota. The competent authority keeps account of quantities, exported under export licence, as export licences will be only issued within the scope of the quota volume.

The importer will be required to submit, with the application for export authorisation, the original of the export authorisation to the competent governmental authority of the member state of its location.

The competent governmental authority of the member state will only issue the export licence after having received a confirmation from the European Commission that the import quota of the category of goods concerned is not exhausted yet. The European Commission will thus check whether the imported quantity will fit within the limits of the quota. The Commission will satisfy the applications of member states, observing the “first come, first served” principle, ), therefore, in chronological order, depending on how the member states have notified the European Commission of the need to have an export authorisation issued.

If the answer is positive, the competent governmental authority of the member state will issue the standard export authorisation within five working days after the submission of the original of the export licence and the application.

The import authorisations shall be valid for six months from the date of their issue. Upon duly motivated request by an importer, the competent governmental authorities of a member state may extend the duration of validity for two further periods of three months. Such extensions shall be notified to the Commission.

The import authorizations shall be valid throughout the territory of the European Union.

Importers are not required to import the quantities, covered by the authorisation, as a single batch.

The importer will be required to return to the competent governmental authority that supplied the authorisation within 10 working days as of its date of expiry.

Application for import authorisation 

The application will be completed in capital letters.

Application for import authorisation »

Guidelines (the number stands for the field in application that bear the same number):

  1. To be completed by the authorisation applicant. Only the enterprises that the goods are addressed to will be shown as the applicant. The name and telephone number of the contract person must be definitely give.
     
  2. To be completed by the competent governmental authority (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications).
     
  3. To be completed by the applicant. Period covered by the quota (i.e. the year for sending the goods).
     
  4. Competent governmental authority, that the application will be sent to.
     
  5. Contact information of the owner of the goods or representative of the applicant, where appropriate.
     
  6. Address of the exporter is mandatory. Name and address of the exporter are not required when applying for import authorisation for autonomous quota, established by the EU.
     
  7. Country of origin is the country of production.
     
  8. Sending country is the country sending the goods to the EU.
     
  9. Name or trade description of the goods.
     
  10. CN code (coincides with the ENC code).
     
  11. Quantity that the authorisation is applied for, in units, used to establish the quota (pieces, kilograms etc.).
     
  12. Number of product category (only one category for application). Number of the export licence and date of issue will be not required when applying for import authorisation for an autonomous quota established by the EU.
     
  13. Value of goods in euros. In the case of textile products, give the value shown on export licence and in case of surveillance documents, CIF value on the EU customs border.
     
  14. Confirmation stating that the information submitted is correct, given by the applicant (or his/her representative). 

Additional documents

  • Original of the export licence or export document will be added to the application, with the exception, in the case of textile products, of 18 countries that have joined the electronic licensing system.
  • Valid contract of sales and purchase, covering the products concerned, must be submitted to collect the import authorisation for autonomous quota, established by the EU (textile products and clothing, originating from Belarus and North Korea).

Submission of application

  • On paper

    The completed authorisation application must be set to the Register Division of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications at 11 Harju Street, 15072 Tallinn.

  • In an electronic form
    Digitally signed application must be sent to the following e-mail address: info [at] mkm.ee.

Autonomous quota (Belarus, North Korea)

Autonomous or unilateral quota were opened on 8 January 2014 and enterprises may submit an initial application for quantities that they want to import, for free circulation, the current year.

According to the Council regulation (EEC) No 517/94/EC, “first come, first served” principle shall apply for the allocation of quota, which has been adjusted by establishing a maximum quantity per every applicant by categories (see Annex I to regulation no 1281/2013/EU).

The authorisation will be issued, if the applicant submits the following documents with the application for import authorisation:
  • Valid contract for sale and purchase of the goods.
  • Written confirmation, stating that he/she has not submitted an application for the goods from countries of origin, specified in the given regulation. 
  • Importer that has already used 50% of allocated quota volume, may submit an additional application for an import authorisation for the same category, originating from the same country, provided that the maximum limit, established with the regulation, is not exceeded.
In the case of autonomous quota, the import authorisation will remain valid for the maximum period of nine months as of the date of issue, but no longer than until 31 December 2014.


Unilateral administration of quota or autonomous quota will be applicable to 20 categories of clothing and textile products from Belarus, specified with the Commission implementing regulation (EU) no. 1281/2013/EU, Annex I.

The same system will be also applicable to the import of certain clothing and textile products of North Korean origin.
  • Council Regulation (EC) No 517/94 of 7 March 1994 on common rules for imports of textile products from certain third countries not covered by bilateral agreements, protocols or other arrangements, or by other specific Community import rules
  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 3168/94 of 21 December 1994 establishing in the field of application of Council Regulation (EC) No 517/94 on common rules for imports of textile products from third countries not covered by bilateral agreements, protocols or other arrangements or by other specific Community import rules a Community import licence
  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1165/2012 of 7 December 2012 amending Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 517/94 on common rules for imports of textile products from certain third countries not covered by bilateral agreements, protocols or other arrangements, or by other specific Community import rules
  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1281/2013 of 10 December 2013 laying down rules for the management and distribution of textile quotas established for the year 2014 under Council Regulation (EC) No 517/94

 

Last updated: 2 June 2014