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Importing Textiles to Saudi Arabia? Important Things You Should Know


Saudi Arabia has made significant progress in granting women a sense of liberty. In recent years, they have eased restrictions for women on travel, holding a passport, and most importantly on clothing. In fact, the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman declared in 2018 that women don’t need to necessarily adhere to wearing an abaya in public. Additionally, this transformation has given rise to importing textiles into the country.  

This came at such a pace that in 2018, Riyadh held the country’s first-ever Fashion Week. This gave both domestic and foreign designers a platform to showcase their designs to a female-only audience. Following this transformation, the Fashion Commission was founded by the Ministry of Culture in 2019.  

This ease of restrictions has marked the beginning of a new era in Saudi Arabian fashion, fueling demand for both, luxury and mass-market brands. Moreover, Saudi Arabia is becoming a potential global fashion powerhouse with opportunities for expansion and innovation.  

Saudi Arabia’s General Certification Criteria for Fashion Imports 

If you are importing textiles and your fashion products for sale in Saudi Arabia, you will need a Product Certificate of Conformity (PCoC) from a SASO-approved Conformity Assessment Body (CB), such as VERGER Group. This certificate is your golden ticket to clear Saudi Customs. Essentially, your product will be examined and cross-checked to determine whether it complies with and is in line with the applicable Technical Regulations for that product. Specific standards for product quality, safety, design, packaging, and labeling are outlined in these regulations. 

To get the required Product Certificate of Conformity while importing textiles, importers must be well-prepared to provide the Certification Body with thorough technical files comprising critical product information and testing data. 

Basic General Requirements 

While importing textiles, certain requirements are applicable across different Technical Regulations (TRs) and are not specific to particular products: 

  • An effective environmental management system should be established by the suppliers.  
  • All information on labels, warnings, or directions should be supported by test results that may be independently verified. 
  • At the very least, labels should be written in Arabic or a combination of Arabic and English. 
  • Products must respect Saudi Arabia’s legal system, societal conventions, and dominant Islamic beliefs, as well as their visual representations and packaging. 

Requirements for Leather Products 

The Technical Regulation (TR) for Leather Products, which is applicable to all leather goods, including natural, synthetic, and hybrid kinds, has been approved by SASO as of July 2021. It’s important to note that this TR does not apply to footwear because that topic is covered by a different law. Animal hides are also excluded since they are considered raw materials rather than finished goods. Emphasizing the fact that Saudi Arabia sternly forbids the display and commerce of endangered or forbidden animal hides is important. 

Type 3 certification is required for leather goods made for children under the age of three. This certification involves both product testing and a thorough factory audit that includes product inspection. All other leather items, on the other hand, require Type 1a certification, which is limited to product testing

In addition, there are specific rules for labeling and packaging leather goods: 

  • Lead, heavy metals, and any other compounds believed to be hazardous to human health are not permitted in packaging. 
  • Font sizes on product labels should be left up to the manufacturer’s choice and should be legible and long-lasting. 
  • The name and kind of the product, the brand name, the place of origin, the components, the type of leather, the number of pieces per package, and, for synthetic leather, the classification and production date, must all be included on the label. The category and tanning date for leather should also be mentioned. 

Requirements for Footwear and Accessories 

SASO unveiled the Technical Regulations for Footwear in November 2020. This Technical Regulation encompasses a wide variety of footwear categories. To further elaborate, it includes men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes, as well as slippers. You need to adhere to this TER while importing textiles.  

It is crucial to note that medical shoes and footwear intended as children’s toys are exempted from these regulations.  

A Type 3 Certification is mandated for children’s footwear designed for those under 36 months. This Type 3 Certification involves a lab test report, product inspection, and a factory audit. All other footwear, however, needs Type 1a certification, which only calls for a lab test report. 

It is the duty of footwear makers to make sure that shoe sizes adhere to the established standards (ISO 9407, ISO / TS 19407, and ISO / TS 19408). 

In terms of packing, manufacturers must: 

  • Pack footwear in single cartons, with one pair of shoes per carton. 
  • Ascertain if the packaging is sufficiently designed to securely enclose the goods. 
  • Ensure that the product packaging is free of lead and other heavy metals that are detrimental to human health. 
  • Incorporate appropriate recycling symbols on packaging, where applicable. 

In addition, the following rules regulate product labeling: 

  • The brand name and the country of origin must be included on labels. 
  • Labels must be applied to the footwear in a way that prevents them from being easily removed. 

Requirements for Textile Products 

SASO introduced the Technical Regulation for Textile Products in 2018, embracing all items having at least 80% by weight textile fibers. This encompasses a wide range of things, from carpets, curtains, and blankets to clothing and outerwear. 

It is vital to remember that both underwear and children’s textile items require Type 3 certification, which includes product testing as well as a thorough product inspection/factory audit. All other textile items, on the other hand, require Type 1a certification, which includes only product testing. 

The TR specifies severe testing criteria for textile products, as well as allowable quantities of specified hazardous chemicals. These test results should include the identification of the pH value, color stability, and protection from hazardous chemicals such as formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol (PCP), tetrachlorophenol (TeCP), ortho phenyl phenol (OPP), heavy metals (antimony, arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, copper, total chromium VI, cobalt, and nickel), dyes and derived substances considered dangerous, including azo dyes, 

The TR also outlines labeling and packaging requirements: 

  • Labels must be firmly sewn or affixed to the product in accordance with industry attachment requirements. 
  • The label may include the trademark or brand name. 
  • The fiber components, as defined in Annex 3 of the Technical Regulation, shall be clearly listed on the label in a legible font size for consumers. 
  • Labels must include important information such as a list of fibers with mass percentages, weight, size, and dimensions, the supplier’s name and commercial register on external packaging, the place of origin, and care directions with appropriate washing/cleaning symbols. 

The Technical Regulation also specifies labeling requirements for fiber content. In essence, the use of the term “pure” in composition descriptions, the description of wool as “Raw Wool,” multi-fiber textile products, decorative and supporting fibers, multi-component textile products, textile products containing non-textile parts of animal origin, and technical label information. 

How VERGER Can Help 

VERGER Group is a SASO-notified Conformity Assessment Body offering Product and Shipment Certificates of Conformity for regulated products intended for sale. Our team is well-versed in Saudi rules and the SASO certification process, ensuring that your products transit to customs quickly. We pride ourselves on delivering lightning-fast PCoCs and SCoCs. So reach out to us if you need any help in this! 

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