Understanding the structure of the tariff schedule and how products are classified is important to all importers. All goods imported into the United States are subject to duty or duty free entry in accordance with the appropriate classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”).
Importers may qualify for special, lower duty rates if the merchandise satisfies the requirements of a duty-free program, e.g., NAFTA, GSP, CAFTA, etc., or duty preference program, e.g., American Goods Returned, American Goods Assembled Abroad, etc.
The tariff schedule is divided into sections and chapters that separate merchandise into broad product categories. In determining the classification of any product, the importer must be familiar with the legal and explanatory notes that define the scope of each chapter, section, heading or subheading, prior Customs rulings and any decisions issued by the Court of International Trade. Determining the correct classification can often be a difficult task.
Importers must exercise reasonable care in classifying its products. Importers are encouraged to consult a licensed customs broker or attorney for competent advice with regard to classification. Reasonable reliance on such experts may be cited as a mitigating factor or as a defense against penalties for imposed for the misclassification of goods.
For more than 30 years, Simon Gluck & Kane LLP has assisted its clients with the proper classification of imported merchandise. Our services range from conducting full-line reviews of imported merchandise, to a more individual analysis in which the classification of only one item is concerned. We work with our clients to ensure they receive the lowest legal duty rate on their imported merchandise. We always advise our clients to do it right – classify correctly – in order to avoid fines and penalties for failing to do so.