HTS

Customs Classification – A Key Component of an Import Compliance Manual

We are often asked by importers to assist in classifying their products under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. (“HTS” or “HTSUS”). While seeking assistance from expert counsel is a best practice, under the CBP Modernization Act, an importer of record (“IOR”) is the sole party responsible for determining the correct classification of imported goods (and thereby paying the correct amount of customs duties). An IOR must use reasonable care in classifying its product at the time of entry. Should an importer misclassify their products and not pay the appropriate duties to CBP at the time of importation; the importer is exposing itself to potential CBP penalties under 19 U.S.C. 1592.  The process of classifying goods can be a tedious process and may require time and research to arrive at the correct HTSUS number for any one product.

This blog expands our prior blog, Crash Course in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, and provides additional detail on the classification process and tips for importers to use when deciding on a classification its customs broker will declare to CBP.  Importers are encouraged to attend the webinar How to Build and Maintain an Effective Import Compliance Plan on October 6, 2021 (and on-demand) for best practices on how to build and maintain an import compliance plan by addressing common risks associated with the import process – including product classification.

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USTR Announces China 301 Tariff Exclusion Extensions for COVID-Related Products

On December 29, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced long-awaited extensions to a limited set of previously granted exclusions (for COVID-related products), that were set to expire on December 31, 2020. Meanwhile, importers across non-COVID industries are continuing to await guidance on their tariff exclusion extensions that are set to expire on December 31, 2020.

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BREAKING NEWS: U.S.-China Phase 1 Deal is Officially Signed

On January 15, 2020, U.S. President, Donald Trump, and Chinese Vice Premier, Liu He, signed the U.S.-China Phase 1 Deal in the White House. The partial trade deal is an eight-part agreement consisting of 94 pages.

Simultaneously, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published a Federal Register Notice announcing tariff changes in accordance with the President’s direction (tweeted December 13, 2019) to modify the action taken pursuant to the Section 301 investigation.

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India removed from GSP, potential problems permeate

After the Trump Administration officially revoked India’s participation in the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) on June 5, 2019, India announced that it intends to implement tariffs on roughly 30 HTS-listed items. The items-which include many agricultural goods, such as almonds and apples- would be subjected to 70% duties upon entry.

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PAYING CHINESE TARIFF’S & YOUR COMPETITORS AREN’T?

Now that the Section 301 tariffs are effective, importers are required pay additional duties – but not all are doing so. We found that while some importers know their product is subject to one of the 3 Chinese tariff lists, they are either using HTS’s not on the list (even though that is not the correct HTS for their product), or using an HTS subject to additional tariffs, but, not paying the additional tariffs. If you are an honest importer paying the correct amount of additional duties, this may leave you unable to compete in the current market.

If you’ve noticed that some of your competitor’s pricing has not been affected by the additional tariffs and you have been forced to increase your prices to stay in business, you have an option to help equal the playing field.

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