I’ve written about this prior to on LinkedIn – complete disclosure, however over the past few weeks, I’ve obtained multiple questions around customs costs, and how they are assessed, from client who are importing commodities from abroad and re-selling them in the unified States. Every client’s case is unique, however a an important step one in all situations is discovering to review the Harmonized Tariff Schedule – the huge index the assigns practically every conceivable product a duty rate.

You are watching: Column 2 rate of duty

A little background prior to we obtain started:

First, the United states does not levy a large amount the tariffs ~ above a lot (but no all!) of abroad goods. That said, tariffs are political tools – so girlfriend will often see a 0 % income duty levied on commodities from nations like Germany (or the numerous other counties the US has actually a free trade covenant with) but a 40% duty ~ above the very same product native Cuba. Therefore, choosing where to income a specific product is vital consideration.

Second, it’s simpler than ever to import. Walk to Alibaba.com and also click “order.” But, with boosted ease comes enhanced risk because the law still imposes every the same needs on you, the individual importing widgets from China, as it walk a luck 500 with numerous imports each year.

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule

The an initial step to figuring out “what” and also “from where” to income comes through learning just how to read the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. The HTS is a HUGE catalog the categorizes imports through number and also then assigns their corresponding duty rates. Earlier in the day, the HTS was obtainable in print, and it take it a while to search, however now it’s an digital searchable database here.

When looking in ~ the HTS, you’ll watch 2 columns after ~ the “description” column; these room the the certain ones we will certainly be mentioning today.


The “Unit the Quantity” tower tells you exactly how imports ~ above that details product are assessed. Because that example, vinyl flooring is assessed by meters squared – when commodity items are regularly assessed by kilogram. Therefore, in the instance of vinyl flooring (HTS code 3918.10.20) – girlfriend will gain charged a 5.3% duty on the invoice value of each square meter imported.

The “Rate that Duty” column is next and is damaged down right into 3 parts. The an initial part, “Column 1,” speak you the “general duty” rate, i beg your pardon – in layman’s terms way – “the basic duty the united state charges other nations we get along with but don’t have a complimentary trade covenant with.” for legal nerds, this is really called “Most Favored Nation” therapy or a nation with which the US has actually “Normal trade Relations” and is a cornerstone concept of the world Trade Organization.

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The second part is the “Special” duty price which the united state charges nations with i m sorry it has a special cost-free trade agreement. There room a many of free trade agreements the end there, therefore be sure to inspect if your country of origin uses – due to the fact that most “free” trade agreements set the duty price at 0!

The third part is the “Column 2” or the “bad boy” duty price that the us charges top top imports from nations which we do not have common trade connections with. The many recent instance of a country moving from obelisk 2 to the MFN pillar is Vietnam. The only countries remaining ~ above the list are North Korea and Cuba.

As you have actually probably noticed, this write-up assumes friend have already figured the end which HTS code applies to the product you room importing, but that is often the hardest (and many legally significant) component of the process. If you’re interested in reading much more on that point, check out the instance of “mutants” or “humans” – Marvel winner in 2003!

If friend need help expanding globally or taking a look in ~ your present import process, naipublishers.com can help!