How to Import Clothing from China*

With all the new technological and electronic products that are now coming out of China, it is easy to forget that China remains a reliable source of clothing for importing companies around the world. In our experience at ChinaDirect, we still have clients who regularly import babies’ clothing from China. Importing clothing from China to Australia has its own distinct requirements. Since we are dealing with large volumes of goods for every shipment, it is critical that you as the importer, use the right process to avoid disastrous results.

As importing garments from China requires a number of steps, I will lay them out in a series of blog posts that will deal with every phase of your importing project. I will start with the major concerns that you need to address first, before I go on with more details that are specific to garment importation.

Scope of Production:

By looking through your prospective supplier’s website, you can get an idea of how integrated your supplier’s operation is. By integrated I mean knowing if the supplier has multiple functions as a manufacturer. The more integrated a supplier is, the more efficiency you can expect. An integrated supplier has greater control over the manufacture of garments at every stage.

History of Compliance:

There are a number of materials that are restricted by laws in Australia and other developed countries. Some of these are lead content, AZO dyes and formaldehyde. Most manufacturers from China are not able to produce certificates of compliance. However, according to our source, garment suppliers from China are generally able to ship compliant products. Just be warry of coated materials, as they may contain certain prohibited substances.

Quality Management and Social Compliance:

The ISO certifications that we often see proudly displayed by manufacturers, is a demonstration that a company is able to monitor production at every stage, and keep the shipment of defective goods to a minimum level. Many clothing manufacturers in China do not have such certifications. It is best to have your own quality management system to ensure that your goods pass your acceptable quality levels.

With regard to social compliance, you are better off selecting companies with BSCI (Business Social Compliance Index) and Sedex certifications. Chinese manufacturers usually have an edge in this category compared to other Asian manufacturers, although they may not have such certifications. Social compliance involves the way employees are compensated in the company. Recent controversies in Bangladesh have made this an important concern.

I will continue with this article in future blogs. I hope for now you get the broad strokes when you are starting a business importing clothing from China. In my next blog, I will be discussing the tech pack and what it should contain. Until then, happy importing!

*Source: China Importal

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