Import-export Manual – Sectoral rules for food, cosmetics, jewellery and textiles

Import-export Manual – Sectoral rules for food, cosmetics, jewellery and textiles

Manual ABC of Import Export

7. SECTORAL RULES for Food, Cosmetics, Jewellery and Textiles

This subject is broad and complex; therefore, we will provide just an outline of the main rules concerning the importation and exportation of products which are subject to particular formalities or requirements. More specifically, we will be referring to foodstuffs, as well as to textile and cosmetic products, and precious metals. We advise to study in depth the topics depending on your needs or, alternatively, to post a question on the ASK A QUESTION section of the website.

In order to sell products in the EU, first you should consider the following key aspects:

• the labelling of goods;
• the regulations on product safety such as the CE marking;

With respect to electrical, electronic, and chemical products the following must also be considered:

• The national EEE (Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Registry.
• the REACH Regulation.


Based upon the category of the product, you must check for the existence of specific EU regulations on labelling and their application in a Member State.
An important obligation is that of translating, for the consumers, into the language of the country for which the product is intended, all mandatory information to be put on the label in order to ensure complete transparency of information.
It is mandatory to put the CE marking on a product when required by the EU directive. When the marking is put properly, it gives the product the right of free movement in the EU. In the other cases, the marking cannot be put and it is necessary to check what regulations apply with respect to product safety.

REACH REGULATION – CHEMICALS Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals

The Regulation EC 1907/2006, which is known by the acronym REACH, has been in force since 1 June 2007 and regulates the movement of chemicals within the European Union; it lays down a number of rules on the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals within the relevant spheres of application.


The trade of foodstuffs, the certificates for the importation and exportation.

Like any other goods, when you are importing/exporting foodstuffs, you must pay the relevant customs duties and hand over the transport documents when the foodstuffs are entering the country of destination. Depending on the type of goods and on whether the goods are for importation or for exportation, other regulations cover the subject of international trade with respect to the administrative and health aspects.
Customs operations concerning the importation or exportation of specific foodstuffs with certain countries may require the issuing of an importation of exportation certificate. In Italy, this certificate is issued by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development according to the methods established in the Regulation EC 376/2008

The products that currently require the issue of an importation or exportation certificate are the following: olive oil and table olives, cereals, rice, sugar, foods of animal origin, fruit and vegetables, bananas, milk and milk products, ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, goods resulting from the processing of agricultural products.

Importation and trade

It is mandatory for all foodstuffs of animal or plant origin, regardless of their quantity and of whether they are entering the EU territory or transiting through it, to undergo health inspections. Goods must be accompanied by transport documents and health certificates which must be reported to the foreign supplier by the Italian importer.

Foods to which vitamins, minerals and other substances have been added are governed by the Regulation EC 1925/2006 which lists the allowed vitamins and minerals and also provides a list of the sources. In Italy, the sale is subject to the reporting of the label to the Italian Ministry of Health.

Food supplements are foodstuffs the purpose of which is to supplement the normal diet, [which are concentrated sources of nutrients and are regulated by the Directive EC 2002/46 which was implemented in Italy by the Italian Legislative Decree 169/2004. Also in this case, the sale is subject to the reporting of the label to the Italian Ministry of Health.


On its website, the Italian Ministry of Health defines cosmetic products as “any substance or preparation, other than medicines, intended for placing in contact with the various external parts of the human body (such as the epidermis, hair and hair system nails, lips and external genital organs) or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity with the purpose of cleaning them, adding scent to them, changing their appearance, eliminating body odours, keeping them in good condition”
In Italy, the production and sale of cosmetic products is regulated by the Law 713/1986 and subsequent amendments that implemented the EEC 76/768 Directive, enacted with the purpose of standardising the regulations on the production and the sale of cosmetic products at the European level.


Objects made from precious metals that are manufactured and marketed in Italy, must be hallmarked and have the identifying hallmark stamped on them. (Art.4 of the Italian Legislative Decree 251/99).



The multilateral agreement on the trade of products of textile origin and of clothing, known as Agreement on Textile and Clothing, which was signed by the Member States of the World Trade Organization (WTO), provided for the full integration of the textile sector in accordance with the general WTO regulations, with progressive elimination of the restrictions on the importation to be accomplished in three stages: 1998, 2002 and 2005. As agreed, the process of integration was carried out within the established time frame.