The UK government has banned clothing imports from garment factories across the country, saying they could be used in terrorist activities, after a number of deadly attacks.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the ban applies to all imported garments, including clothing from companies such as Uniqlo, Gap, Gucci and Ralph Lauren, as well as clothing from online retailers such as Etsy and Vogue.UK clothing retailers must now apply for permission to import garments from abroad, including from overseas suppliers, and then ensure they have the necessary authorisation to do so.
The UK has long been a supplier of clothing to countries in the Middle East and North Africa, with its own factories producing clothing for countries including Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
The British government has said it was responding to concerns over the spread of Islamic State (IS) and other extremist groups.
However, the country has faced criticism for not having a proper strategy to counter IS in the region, with the country still not having its own embassy in the US, nor an official presence in Qatar.
Last year, the government said it had closed more than 1,100 factories in the UK and other EU countries for failing to meet safety and environmental standards.
In a statement, the FCO said the government was taking action to ensure that the supply chain of UK apparel and accessories was secure.
“This includes the UK government’s decision to temporarily suspend all imports from the supply chains of UK garment factories,” the FCA said.
“As part of this process, UK authorities have issued an import ban on all garments imported from the UK, including garments from UK factories.”
The UK government did not say how long the suspension would last, and it was not immediately clear whether it would apply to all of the country’s garment factories.