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Duties for Dummies - Edit Post

Have you ever asked yourself “what are duty rates and why are they important”, well I am going to tell you the most important elements you need to know about duty rates.

Duty rates are commodity codes which define how each good is treated and how much duty is payable. The rate of duty is shown as a percentage rate calculated on the value of the goods.  This is important to know if you are importing goods from overseas.

If you are unfamiliar with how to find duty rates, you can look up by the HTS, or harmonized traffic system, online under www.cbp.gov .  Now keep in mind this is document is about the size of an unabridged dictionary; so the search key is very important. This document holds all the information regarding every item you can imagine.  When determining the HTS and duty rate it all depends on the item and is specific details, this can mean for example, if are searching for a the HTS and duty rate on a Cotton knit women’s shirt, you will need to advise if it is for everyday wear or sleepwear.  This will help determine the information needed to import your goods but please remember the rate is only determined based on the information you provide.

The other detail that is very important is that even if you find your HTS and duty rate on this site, this is not 100% guaranteed. CBP will determine the final correct duty when all the correct paperwork has been processed by your factory to import your goods.

One final note, duty rates do not change based on the country your goods are coming out of if you are bringing them into the US, unless the specific country you are working out of has a written trade agreement with the US. For example some countries manufacture fabric that is duty free so if you use it in the item you are importing you may be eligible for importing your goods duty free. You can look up duty free countries on the www.cbp.gov website as well.

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