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Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States

Overview of Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States

Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States should be second nature to the importer from China or from any other country.   It forms the basis for classifying the imported goods and establishing the tariff or duty rates.  Like most government documents, the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States appears complex in language and structure.  Here is an easy guide to demystifying the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

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Guide to Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States

Example: 7117.11.00 00 corresponds to Cuff links and studs

(71) of this classification are a reference to the appropriate chapter within the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.  As of 2010, there are 99 chapters within the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

Chapter 71 is described as "Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semiprecious stones, precious metals, metals clad with precious metal, and articles thereof; Imitation jewelry; coin"

(7117) represent the article's heading within that chapter.  In this case, it is "Imitation jewelry: of base metal, whether or not plated with precious metal"

(11.00.00) break that heading down into subheadings.  This subheading corresponds to "cuff links and studs"

Column 1 is the tariff rate for most countries.  For 7117.11.00 00, it is 8%.

Column 2 is the special duty rates for specific countries.  In most cases, they are the most favored nations.  The rates in column 2 are usually less than column 1 to encourage trade with certain countries.  

For 7117.11.00 00, it is "Free" or no tariffs for the countries of AU (Australia), BH (Bahrain) , CA (Canada), CL (Chile), E, IL (Israel), JO (Jordan), MA (Morocco), MX (Mexico), OM (Oman), PE (Peru)and SG  (Singapore).  

The free rate also applies to countries under the Special Tariff Classifications in the United States with symbols: A, J or P.

Countries with "A" symbols as described under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).  These are developing nations.  By providing same low tariffs as most favored nations, the goal is to encourage economic development with the developing countries.

Countries with "J" symbol - under the Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA), its purpose is to proclaim duty-free treatment for eligible articles from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.  Bolivia was suspended in 2008 as an ATPA beneficiary.

Countries with "P" symbol as described by The Central America-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).  The seven signatories of this agreement were the United States, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

Column 3 is the tariff rate for restricted countries such as Cuba and North Korea.  The rates in column 3 are usually the highest to discourage trade with restricted countries. For 7117.11.00 00, it is 110%.

In addition to classifications and tariff schedules, the importer should also read the notes section within the individual chapters.  It contains vital details on what is covered or not covered within the chapter of goods.

For instance, chapter 71 (Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semiprecious stones, precious metals, metals clad with precious metal, and articles thereof; Imitation jewelry; coin) does not cover footwear or headgear.

Armed with this knowledge of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, the entrepreneur who wants to import from China or from any other country can quickly find customs information on the imported goods.


Real Experiences!

Gabriela M. - Import from China to USA

“Thank you for the information on importing from China into the US. You’ve made this complicated tax stuff really easy to understand. God bless you for sharing your expertise.”