Duty Rates

What is duty? In the shipping industry duty is the percentage rate that governments charge and people are required to pay in order to bring goods into a specific country. The amount of duty to be paid depends on many factors, but starts with the country that is charging the duty. Some countries charge more for one item than another even though they may be within the same category of goods. In the United States, duties are charged based on the commodity and the Harmonized Tariff Codes which are specific to that commodity. These can be found on their website and are based on materials used as well as the type, size, and general makeup of the product. If for instance a company is shipping footwear, they may need to decipher whether the product has more leather verses more plastic or if it is higher or lower in relationship to the ankle. These types of specifics can mean a difference between an additional 10% or 15% in duty costs. It is very important for designers to pay attention to these types of differences since it can be costly. If a company is importing and then exporting the goods, they may be entitled to a duty drawback which will lower their overall shipping costs. Many companies use their freight forwarders and customs brokers to assist in determining which duty rate will be charged and how to handle payments. Since they are the experts in shipping, they can help keep within the guidelines of shipping goods abroad. After all, once a container arrives at the port Customs in which ever country the goods have been shipped to will be charging duty before the goods can be picked up.