Customs & Duties Charges

Written by peter lancett
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Customs & Duties Charges
Some imported products arriving at U.S. docks are subject to customs duties. (THE DOCKS image by brelsbil from

Most countries impose import duties and tariffs on certain goods coming into the country. Customs duties are often levied on goods based on tobacco and alcohol in order to generate revenue. Other customs duties have been levied on certain imported products in an attempt to protect home-grown industries from cheaper foreign competition. The United States customs duties are listed in the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

Live Animals

Some animals, when legally imported into the U.S., do not attract customs duty charges. These include live purebred horses and mules that are imported for breeding purposes. Other horses attract a tariff of 20 per cent of the value of the animal. Live sheep and goats attract a £1.90 per head import duty. Even live worms attract customs duty equal to 15 per cent of their value.

Tea and Coffee

Imported coffee and tea can attract customs duty, depending on the type of tea or coffee being considered. In the case of tea, the duty depends on whether the commodity is fermented. Most forms of coffee do not attract customs duty, but notably, coffee husks and skins attract a secondary duty of 10 per cent of the value of the commodity. Unfermented green and black teas do not attract customs duty, but flavoured green teas are subject to a General customs charge of 6.4 per cent of value, but a duty of 20 per cent of value is levied if the products are imported from countries that do not have normal trade relations with the U.S., such as North Korea and Cuba.

Musical Instruments

Imported upright and grand pianos are subject to a customs duty charge of .7 per cent of value, unless the country of origin is Cuba or North Korea, in which case, the customs duty is charged at a rate of 40 per cent. Guitars with a value of less than £65 are charged at 4.5 per cent, but they also attract a charge of 40 per cent if they originate in Cuba or North Korea. No customs duty applies to bagpipes, unless they are imported from North Korea or Cuba, then they will attract a 40 per cent customs charge.

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