Import Customs & Duties

Written by peter lancett
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Import Customs & Duties
Many imported goods are subject to import duty. (THE DOCKS image by brelsbil from

Customs and import duties are taxes applied to internationally traded goods. In the United States, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) is responsible for administering trade tariffs and customs duties concerning goods imported into the United States. Certain countries, particularly developing countries, receive favourable trading terms from the United States whereby their goods are not subject to import duties. These countries include Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Cambodia.

Canadian Automotive Products

The U.S. Automotive Products Trade Act allows Canadian automotive products to be imported into the United States free of import duty. Canadian automotive components must be ordered by a U.S. automobile manufacturer for use in the manufacture of finished automobiles. To qualify as an automobile manufacturer under the terms of this section of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, the purchaser must have manufactured more than 15 automobiles in the previous 12 months. It must also have the capacity to manufacture no less than 10 vehicles per week. If automotive parts are imported into the United States but are not subsequently used in the manufacture of automobiles, duty must be paid to the United States Customs Service (USCS) or the articles must be given up to the USCS for supervised destruction.

Animal Products Including Human Hair

Many animal-based products do not attract customs duty when they are imported into the United States. These products include animal guts, stomachs and bladders that are to be used for sausage casings. Imports of human hair attract duty at the rate of 1.4 per cent of the value of the import. Certain countries, such as Mexico, are subject to a special rate whereby imported human hair is free of import duty. However, imports of human hair from other countries, such as North Korea and Cuba, which to not enjoy normal trading relationships with the United States, attract duty at a rate of 20 per cent.

Customs Duties on Overcoats for Men and Boys

Most articles of clothing attract customs duties when they are imported into the United States. Overcoats, capes, cloaks and anoraks made of cotton attract import duty of 15.9 per cent if they originate in countries with normal trading relations with the United States. If the items originate in North Korea or Cuba, a duty of 50 per cent is applied. If the items are manufactured using man-made fibres and are more than 25 per cent (by weight) leather, the duty charged on imports is set at 5.6 per cent for goods originating in most countries; again, those originating in Cuba or North Korea attract an increased rate of 35 per cent.

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