Thai craftsmen and factories produce attractive, creative and relatively inexpensive furniture of all types. Many commercial importers source from Thailand, and many travellers who visit Thailand bring furniture items home with them. The U.S. does not charge duties on furniture unless it is bedding (such as pillows, blankets or mattresses), but even then duties range from only 3 to 12.8 per cent of the estimated value. Thailand does not have any special trade status, and products originating from Thailand are subject to general tariff rates.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Harmonised Tariff Schedule
- Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number
Record for your records the amount that you paid for all furniture items that you are carrying in your luggage.
Declare the total amount that you paid for any items---including furniture---that you bought in Thailand and that are in your luggage. When you enter the U.S., you will be given a customs form that asks you to list the items you bought and their estimated value.
Pay any duties. If you are returning from Thailand, you are allowed up to £520 in items intended for gifts or personal use. Anything in excess of £520 will be assessed duties.
Check with the Thai Customs Department if the furniture you intend to import is made with raw silk or from wood. Raw silk and wood are sometimes assessed export tariffs, and products made from endangered plants are not allowed out of the country.
Fill out and submit an Export Declaration, available from the Thai Customs Department.
Check the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, available on the U.S. International Trade Commission website, to see if duties are charged on any of the items you are exporting. Regulations and tariffs change frequently, but as of 2010 most furniture items could be imported duty-free, with the exception pillows (5.3 per cent for cotton and 6 per cent for any other material), blankets (12.8 per cent) and mattresses (3 per cent if made from cotton, rubber or plastic, and 6 per cent with other materials).
Affix a sign to each package or box stating (in English) the origin, contents and dutiable value of the goods being shipped. Many shipping services will get this information from you and put the notice on the package themselves.
Tips and warnings
- You may want to hire an agent to handle the exporting or importing procedures if you plan to import large quantities of furniture from Thailand. However, you can simply use your Social Security Number or the Tax Identification Number of your business when filling out customs forms that ask for an importer identification number.
- Do not try to import furniture made from endangered species. Buying such items fuels environmental destruction, and both Thai and American officials will confiscate products made from endangered species.
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