Textiles, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods
Last updated on 08/22/2012
If you have any questions about the following information, please contact Linda Martinich at the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Textiles and Apparel at 202-482-4058 or click here for e-mail access.
**The following information is provided only as a guide and should be confirmed with the proper authorities before embarking on any export activities.**
Import Tariffs - European Union
|The EU is a customs union that provides for free trade among its 28 member states--Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and The United Kingdom. The EU levies a common tariff on imported products entered from non-EU countries. By virtue of the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU), Belgium and Luxembourg are considered a single territory for the purposes of customs and excise.|
Members of the European Union apply the EU common external tariff (CET) to goods imported from non-EU countries. Import duties are calculated on an ad valorem basis, i.e., expressed as a percentage of the c.i.f. (cost, insurance and freight) value of the imported goods.
EU: Tariffs (percent ad valorem) on Textiles, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods
Tariff Rate Range (%)
0 - 5*
2 - 5
4 - 5*
|-other vegetable fiber|
0 - 5
3.8 - 5*
3 - 7.5
5.3 - 8
|-other vegetable fiber|
4 - 8
6.5 - 8
|Non Woven Fabric|
4 - 8*
6.3 - 12
|Home Furnishings |
including: bed, bath, kitchen linens, etc.
0 - 12
3 - 8**
3 - 17
2.7 - 9.7
*Council Regulation 1344/2011 (replacing Council Regulation 1255/96) temporarily suspends import tariffs on certain products. See Council Regulation 1344/2011 for more details.
**5701.10.9000 - 8.00% MAX 2.80 EUR/M2
For more detailed tariff information, see the EU TARIC database on the EU TARIC homepage. (Use “Third country duty” under“ERGA OMNES”). The TARIC includes the various rules applying to specific products when imported into the EU's customs territory, as well as tariff suspensions, tariff quotas, preferential treatment, anti-dumping and countervailing duties, import prohibitions and restrictions, quantitative limits, export surveillance, licenses and certificates. Also see the Current Situation of Schedules of Members on the World Trade Organization website.
Tariff rates in north Cyprus tend to be higher than in the government-controlled area, depending on the product, and do not conform to the CET. Tariffs are applied based upon the origin of the goods and are divided into two categories. Goods from Turkey and EU Member States are charged lower rates than goods from all other countries (including the United States).
Binding Tariff Information (BTI)--The ultimate authority regarding products imported into the EU are the customs authorities in the Member States. Prior to signing a long-term contract or sending a shipment of considerable value, it may be prudent for U.S. exporters to first obtain an official ruling on the customs classification, duty rate, and taxes. On request, a written tariff classification decision (i.e., BTI) is provided, which is legally binding on all customs administrations within the EU. BTI is intended to provide assurance about the correct tariff classification of the goods, it is not a legal requirement. For more information on BTI and how to apply for one, see the European Binding Tariff Information website.
Taxes and Other Import Fees--VAT (value added tax) rates vary by individual EU member country. In general, the VAT charged on clothing, household linens and footwear are also the standard rates. Reduced rates may be applicable in certain member countries for children's clothing. The VAT is applied on the c.i.f. value plus duty. For more details, see the Europa-Taxation and Customs Union website. For a list of rates effective January 1, 2012, see VAT Rates Applied in the Member States of the European Union.
Samples/Temporary Entry--There are no tariffs imposed on goods intended for demonstration or exhibition at trade fairs. A refundable security deposit is required that is equal to applicable import duties. For temporary entry of samples it is usually advisable to purchase an ATA Carnet.
ATA Carnet--An ATA Carnet or "Merchandise Passport" is a document that facilitates the temporary importation of products into foreign countries by eliminating tariffs and other import taxes or charges normally required at the time of importation. For more information or to apply for an ATA Carnet, see the United States Council for International Business website.
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Import Documentation/Procedures (European Union)
|Licenses--Textile and apparel products of U.S. origin do not need an import authorization for entry into the EU. Import authorizations are only necessary for products originating in countries subject to EU quotas. To determine if a license is required for a particular product, check the TARIC database. |
The Système Intégré de Gestion de Licenses - SIGL is the Directorate General for Trade's integrated system for the management of licences for imports to the EU. The SIGL website provides information on quota levels for imports of textiles, apparel and applied in the European Community.
Certificates of Origin--Certificates of origin are no longer required for textile and apparel products imported into the EU from the United States. Although imports claiming preferential tariff treatment under the EU's preferential trade agreements may still require a certificate of origin.
The origin of a product is established according to EU rules. Articles 35 – 38 and Annexes 9 – 10 of the Community Customs Code outline ‘non-preferential origin’ rules for textiles. ‘Preferential origin rules’ relate to the EU’s preferential agreements (e.g. with the accession countries, the Mediterranean countries, the non-EU countries belonging to the European Economic Area, the 69 Lomé countries), or under the Generalized System of Preferences, GSP. For each of these, preferential trading agreements legislation exists defining origin of products. For more information see the European Union webpage on Rules of Origin.
Binding Origin Information (BOI)--BOI is a written origin decision for preferential and non-preferential goods, which is legally binding throughout the EU. A BOI decision is not required, although it can be particularly helpful where an origin rule is difficult to interpret or where the circumstances of manufacture of a product make application of a rule difficult. For more information, see the European Union webpage on Rules of Origin for more information.
For more information on local customs rules and regulations:
European Commission Taxation and Customs Union DG
Member States customs websites
|For information on common export documents, such as transportation documents, export compliance documents, certificates of origin, certificates for shipments of specific goods, temporary shipment documents, and other export-related documents, see the Export.gov webpage on Common Export Documents. |
For more information on import procedures and documentation requirements, see the Country Commercial Guides (CCG) in the U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library (enter your country of interest in the "country" field, and enter "Country Commercial Guide (CCG)" in the "Report Type" field. Some market research reports are available only to U.S. companies and U.S. students/researchers that are registered with Export.gov.
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Import Restrictions (European Union)
|To determine if a product is prohibited or subject to restriction, see the TARIC database for the specific product, and look for the following codes:
AZO Dye Restrictions--EU directive 2002/61/EC and communication 2003/C 214/02 restrict the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances used in textile and leather products. The directives states that Azo dyes, which may release certain aromatic amines in detectable concentrations above 30 ppm in the finished articles or in the dyed parts, may not be used in textile and leather articles that may come into direct and prolonged contact with the human skin or oral cavity, such as:
- CITES - Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species
- PROHI - Import Suspension
- RSTR - Import Restriction
The following test method standards may be obtained for a fee from the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) website:
- clothing, bedding, towels, hairpieces, wigs, hats, nappies and other sanitary items, sleeping bags,
- footwear, gloves, wristwatch straps, handbags, purses/wallets, briefcases, chair covers, purses worn round the neck,
- textile or leather toys and toys which include textile or leather garments,
- yarn and fabrics intended for use by the final consumer.
Restrictions on certain finding and trimmings in apparel--According to EU regulations (Annex '28 CAS No 7440-0-20 EINECS No 2311114) nickel and its compounds may not be used in products intended to come in contact with the skin, such as rivet buttons, tighteners, rivets, zippers and metal marks, if the rate of nickel released from the parts of these products coming into direct and prolonged contact with the skin is greater than 0,5 ig/cm 2/week. Also, in those products listed above where they have a non-nickel coating unless such coating is sufficient to ensure that the rate of nickel release from those parts if such products coming into direct and prolonged contact with the skin will not exceed 0,5 ig/cm 2/week for a period of at least two years of normal use of the product. Apparel must conform to these requirements in order to enter the EU market.
- EN 14362-1:2003: Textiles - Methods for the determination of certain aromatic amines derived from azo colorants - Part 1: Detection of the use of certain azo colorants accessible without extraction
- EN 14362-2:2003: Textiles - Methods for determination of certain aromatic amines derived from azo colorants - Part 2: Detection of the use of certain azo colorants accessible by extracting the fibers
Ban on Fur from Animals Caught in Leghold Traps--In 1991, the EU adopted a Regulation banning the use of leghold traps in the EU. The Regulation also requires a ban on imports of fur and fur products of certain species from countries that either do not ban leghold traps or do not conform their trapping practices to internationally agreed humane trapping standards. In December 1997, United States and the EU signed an agreement on humane trapping standards, which should permit continuing access of U.S.-sourced fur and fur-products to the European market.
|U.S. Export Restrictions:|
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in the U.S. Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, and international narcotics traffickers and their agents in accordance with U.S. foreign policy and national security goals. The OFAC website includes summaries of sanctions programs for various countries and the “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” (SDNs) list of entities and individuals with whom U.S. persons may not conduct business and whose property must be blocked if under the control of a U.S. person.
The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in the U.S. Department of Commerce is responsible for implementing and enforcing the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which regulate the export and re-export of most commercial items. BIS maintains the Denied Persons List, which consists of individuals, and companies that have been denied export and re-export privileges by BIS, and the Entity List, which consists of foreign end users who pose an unacceptable risk of diverting U.S. exports and the technology they contain to alternate destinations for the development of weapons of mass destruction
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Standards - European Union
|EU Member States have widely differing standards, testing and certification procedures in place for some products. These differences may serve as barriers to the free movement of products within the EU and can cause lengthy delays in sales due to the need to have products tested and certified to account for differing national requirements. |
Products tested and certified in the United States to U.S. standards are likely to have to be retested and recertified to EU requirements as a result of the EU’s different approach to the protection of the health and safety of consumers and the environment. Where products are not regulated by specific EU technical legislation, they are always subject to the EU’s General Product Safety Directive, as well as to possible additional national requirements.
Some EU directives are applied to all textile products, such as those regulations concerning labeling, textile names, methods of sampling and analysis, quantitative analyses of binary textile fiber mixtures. Others are linked to the specific use of textile product, such as regulations about flammability test methods--for example, textiles for automobiles must meet flammability requirements other than those for textiles for ships.
Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH)--REACH requires all chemicals produced or imported into the EU in volumes above 1 ton per year to be registered. This includes, all products, such as textiles and apparel, that may contain chemicals or chemical products. For more information, see the European Community-Enterprise and Industry REACH website. U.S. exporters may also find helpful information and assistance on the U.S. Commercial Service EU REACH webpage.
CE Marking--To sell certain products in the 28 EU member states, as well as in Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Turkey and Iceland, U.S. exporters are required to apply CE marking whenever their product is covered by specific product legislation. The CE mark certifies that a product has met EU health, safety, and environmental requirements, which ensure consumer and workplace safety. All manufacturers in the EU and abroad must meet CE mark requirements where applicable in order to market their products in Europe. Once a manufacturer has earned a CE mark for its product, it may affix the CE mark to its product, and then the product may be marketed throughout the EU without having to undergo further modifications in each member state.
Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive list of the products that require a CE mark. Therefore, it is the manufacturer's responsibility to determine if a product requires a CE mark from various directives issued by the European Commission. Some products require the conformance to more than one directive. For more information, see the Export.gov webpage on CE marking.
Carpeting sold in the EU must have a CE marking, as required under the Construction Products Directive (89/106/EEC). Under the directive, materials intended for construction must comply with health, safety and environmental requirements as follows: mechanical strength and stability; fire safety; hygiene, health and environment; safety of use; sound nuisance; and energy savings and heat retention. Attesting the conformity of a floor covering with the requirements of EN 14041 must be done in part by the producer, but may also require third party testing and certification. A construction product is defined as any product that is produced for incorporation in a permanent manner in a construction project, thus various other textile products could be covered. For more information, see the U.S. Commercial Service report on The European Union’s Directive on Construction Products.
EU Flammability Requirements--There are no harmonized EU flammability requirements for home and house textiles. Whereas curtains and drapes are not addressed by EU-legislation, carpets and rugs must meet specific flammability requirements. Where EU law is not available, national law is applied.
For example, in Austria, certain textile products must meet OENORM standards, which are either defined by the Austrian Standards Institute or adapted from EU legislation. Textile floor coverings or curtains, for example, must pass several fire tests before they are admitted to the Austrian market. Relevant OENORM standards for home and house textile products are listed below.
For more information concerning these and other OENORM standards, see the Austrian Standards plus website.
- OENORM EN ISO 9239-1 Fire behavior of floor coverings
- OENORM EN 1021-1 Flammability of upholstered furniture
- OENORM EN 1021-2 Flammability of upholstered furniture
- OENORM EN 1101 Fire behavior of curtains
- OENORM EN 13772 Fire behavior of curtains
- OENORM EN 13773 Fire behavior of curtains
Product Liability and Product Safety--The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) aims to ensure that products placed on the market are safe, and places the obligation to place only safe products on the market on producers and to some extent on distributors. For more information, see the EUROPA Consumer Affairs GPSD webpage.
The GPSD provides the framework that covers flammability, though it does not specifically address requirements. The use of voluntary standards helps comply with the law. See the Consumer rights for child safety products - European Child Safety Alliance European Consumer Safety Association.
The European standards:
UK Regulations refer to specific dated editions of the relevant British standards. Although these standards have been revised since the introduction of the UK Regulations, the older versions must be used in order to ensure product compliance. See the New Requirements for the Fire Safety of Children's Nightwear (October 2008)
- BS EN 14878 Textiles - Burning Behaviour of Children’s Nightwear - Specification describes the requirements.
- BS EN 1103 Textiles - Fabric For Apparel - Detailed Procedure for Determination of the Burning Behaviour describes how to burn fabrics for compliance with EN 14878.
The UK Regulations:
See the following information regarding children’s clothing in the UK.
- BS 5722:1984 Flammability Performance of Fabric and Fabric Assemblies Used in Sleepwear and Dressing Gowns describes the performance requirements for UK regulations.
- BS 5438:1976 Methods of test for Flammability of Vertically Orientated Textile Fabrics and Fabric Assemblies describes how to burn the fabrics for compliance with BS5722.
- BS 5651:1978 Specification for Cleansing and Wetting Procedures for Use in the Assessment of the Effect Of Cleansing Wetting on the Flammability of Textile Fabric and Fabric Assemblies describes how to cleanse fabric prior to testing to BS 5438.
Biocidal products--Whenever biocidal products are added to textile and apparel products to give them specific properties (e.g. repel insects or avoid allergens) the provisions of the Directive 98/8/EC must be followed. For more information, see the European Commission Environment website on biocidal products.
Emission Trading System (ETS)--The European Emission Trading System aims to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the Community. In this framework, textile companies can be impacted by the ETS directive if they have combustion installations with a total rated thermal input exceeding 20MW.
Local standards organization and other resources:
European Committee for Standardization - CEN
European Commission - Enterprise and Industry European Standards
Commission’s Technical Regulations Information System - TRIS (technical regulations)
U.S. Commercial Service-U.S. Mission to the European Union: EU Standards and CE Marking.
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Labeling - European Union
There is a broad array of EU legislation pertaining to the marking, labeling and packaging of products and currently there is no “umbrella” law covering all goods nor any central directory regarding the various requirements. See European Union: EU Marking, Labeling and Packaging – An Overview (attached below) for a general introduction to the multitude of marking, labeling and packaging requirements in the EU.
Footwear must be labeled with information relating to material content of the upper, the lining and insole sock, and the outer-sole of the footwear article. The information must be conveyed by means of approved pictograms or text, as defined by the EU Directive 94/11/EC (1994). Protective shoes are exempted from this labelling obligation as they are subject to conformity labelling CE (directive 89/686/EEC on Personal protective equipment). The label must be legible, firmly secured and accessible. The manufacturer or authorized agent established in the Community is responsible for supplying the label and for the accuracy of the information contained therein. For more information, see the Europa Labelling of Footwear website.
Textile and apparel products
Textile and apparel products placed on the EU market must have a label clearly identifying the fiber content. In addition, national mandatory label requirements may also apply (see individual member country labeling guidelines). There are also voluntary labeling guidelines, such as those involving care labeling or language usage that are highly recommended for marketing purposes. For textile and apparel products not sold directly to consumers, labelling or marking can be replaced or supplemented by accompanying commercial documents.
In general, surveillance and inspection of the conformity of products to the information provided on the labels are carried out at different stages of the supply chain, which, in the case of imported products, ranges from customs clearance to retail outlets. The responsibility for compliance marking and labeling regulations generally falls on the importer. Exporters should carefully follow importer's instructions as failure to do so can cause customs delays and extra expenses.
Fiber content labeling--EU regulations require that textile products be labeled to show fiber content. Effective May 9, 2012, textile and apparel products to be marketed within the EU must comply with Regulation No 1007/2011 on textile fiber names and related labeling and marking of the fiber composition of textile products. Regulation No. 1007/2011 repeals the previous Directives 73/44/EEC, 96/73/EC and 2008/121/EC. Products on the market before May 9, 2012 that are not in compliance with new regulation may be kept on the market until November 9, 2014.
The fiber content labeling is mandatory in all stages of the industrial processing and commercial distribution of the product. The manufacturer does not need to use a particular EU language on the label as the Directive encodes the various fibers and fiber contents. All products containing at least 80% weight of textile fibers, including raw, semi-worked, worked, semi-manufactured, semi-made, made-up products are covered by the Directive. Textile products listed in Annex III to the Directive do not require any labeling or marking bearing the name or composition.
The placement of the label depends on the type of textile product. Products sold by the meter need to be labelled only on the piece or roll offered for sale. Other products sold by units or pieces should be marked individually, however if two or more textile products with the same fiber content usually constitute an indivisible set they might carry a single label. The language depends on the requirements of the member country in which the product is ultimately sold.
For more information see the Europa webpage on Labelling of textile products.
Fur and Leather content labeling--On May 11, 2011, the European Parliament adopted a compromise text agreed with the Council of Ministers concerning the regulation on textile names and related labeling of textile products. The compromise agreement provides for the labeling of “non-textile parts of animal origin” on products. That is, any use of animal-derived materials (i.e., real fur and leather) will have to be clearly stated on apparel labels. For more details, see the OTEXA Hot Issue: European Parliament delays “Made in” labeling proposal and adopts fur and leather labeling.
Care labeling--Care labeling provides information on recommended methods for cleaning textile and apparel products, i.e., washing, bleaching, ironing, dry cleaning and tumble drying. There is no harmonized EU legislation on care labeling and, with the exception of Austria, it is not mandatory to include care labels when exporting to the EU. Nevertheless, the use of care labels is recommended as the manufacturer can be held liable under the EU Product Liability Directive if a problem occurs.
If a care label is attached it should incorporate care symbols, which are published in the European standard EN 23758 (1994). Additional text may be included but it is not mandatory. The EU textile care symbols are generally based on the ISO 3758 standard, which are based on the care symbols developed by GINETEX. These symbols are registered as international trademarks by GINETEX and the manufacturer may have to pay a fee to the national agency to use them in certain markets.
Country of Origin labeling--At present, there is no EU legislation on country of origin labeling for textile, apparel and footwear products, although some member countries may require the origin to be listed on the label. On May 11, 2011, the European Parliament adopted a compromise text agreed with the Council of Ministers concerning the regulation on textile names and related labeling of textile products. It was agreed that an EU review/evaluation should be completed by the Commission by September 30, 2013, assessing a possible origin labeling scheme for textile products manufactured outside the European Union. This report may be accompanied by a legislative proposal to require “made in” labels for such goods. For more details, see the OTEXA Hot Issue: European Parliament delays “Made in” labeling proposal and adopts fur and leather labeling.
Flammability labeling--See the Standards section above for information regarding flammability labeling.
Size labeling--A standard has been developed for labeling clothes sizes, EN 13402, based on body dimensions and measured in centimeters. EN 13402 was supposed to replace many older national dress-size systems, starting in the year 2006. However, the standard reportedly has not been fully accepted in all EU member states.
Travel goods of textile materials, as well as all travel goods, are not subject to mandatory labelling--except those considered protective equipment, which are subject of conformity marking CE.
European Eco-label--The eco-label is officially endorsed by the EU and can be placed on a range of products that meet high standards of environmental awareness, which are sold across the EU and EEA (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) countries. Participation in the eco-label scheme is voluntary. While not required, companies may consider this label to improve consumer perception of the product. For more information, see the European Eco-label website.
In the case of textiles, the label is awarded to products if: substances with harmful effects on the aquatic environment and air have been limited during fiber production, the risk of allergic reactions has been reduced, the product does not shrink more than conventional products, the product is as color resistant against washing, drying friction and light exposure as conventional products. For a product made outside the European Community, an application must be submitted to the designated authorities of the Member States in which the product is to be or has been placed on the market. Applications for the award of an Eco-label are subject to payment of a fee. In addition, there is an annual fee for the use of the label.
The German label Öko-tex is also a widely used eco-label in Europe. It is a recognized measure of ecological and health consciousness, and is widely used in the textile production sector in Europe123. In order to mark and advertise textile products with the Öko-tex label, all components, including accessories, must meet the specified requirements and be certified. For more information, see the International Oeko-Tex Association website.
Sun-safe testing and labeling for apparel--Two standards that specify the materials for protective garments and their marking are EN 13758, part 1 (method of test for apparel fabrics) and part 2 (classification and marking). The designated pictogram of a sun with the CEN reference number and the number "40+" can be attached to the garment if it is in compliance with the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF), which must be at least 40, and fulfill certain design requirements as specified in the standard. See the CEN website for more information.
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Intellectual Property Rights - European Union
The IPR regime in the EU is governed by both Community-wide legislation and legislation in the Member States. The EU aims to create a single system for the protection of industrial property rights (Community trademarks, designs, and patents) with Community-wide effect through the filing of a single application. For more information, see the European Commission Industrial Property website.
For information on copyrights, see the European Commission Copyright and Neighbouring Rights website.
The EU-wide Community Trademark (CTM) can be obtained via a single language application to the Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) in Alicante, Spain or at a national office.
Trademark Exhaustion--Within the EU, the rights conferred on trademark holders are subject to the principle of "exhaustion." Exhaustion means that once trademark holders have placed their product on the market in one Member State, they lose the right to prevent the resale of that product in another EU country. This has led to an increase in the practice of so called "parallel importing" whereby goods bought in one Member State are sold in another by third parties unaffiliated to the manufacturer. For more information see the EU Trade Marks website.
Branded products may not be imported into the EU without the permission of the manufacturer. Exporters of goods bearing a registered trademark should be aware that the trademark owner may pursue legal action to protect their trademark rights. Exporters are advised to contact the manufacturer and get written permission before trying to market name brand goods in to the EU. Parallel imports within the European Economic Area zone, i.e., the EU member countries and Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, is permissible.
Under the Registered Community Design system, holders of eligible designs can use an inexpensive procedure to register them with OHIM, and will then be granted exclusive rights to use the designs anywhere in the EU for up to twenty-five years. Unregistered Community designs that meet the Regulation’s requirements are automatically protected for three years from the date of disclosure of the design to the public.
The most effective way for a company to secure a patent across a range of EU national markets is to use the services of the European Patent Office (EPO). The EPO offers a one-stop-shop that enables rights holders to get a bundle of national patents using a single application. Other methods for filing patents in EU Member States is through the national procedure, with the competent national authority or through the international procedure, available under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
Transatlantic IPR Resource Portal. The goal of the portal is to help companies on both sides of the Atlantic fully utilize all the IPR-related resources and tools developed by both governments.
See the European Union, Croatia and Italy IPR Toolkits on the STOPFAKES.gov website.
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Market Information - European Union
See the EU Enterprise and Industry for information on the following sectors:
Also see the European Commission - Trade - Textiles and Footwear website and the Your Europe, your opportunity
Practical guide to doing business in Europe website.
Government Procurement-- See Global Procurement Opportunities for U.S. exporters.
Other Government Procurement websites:
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