A tariff or duty (the words are used interchangeably) is a tax levied by governments on the value including freight and insurance of imported products. Different tariffs are applied on different products by different countries.
Last Published: 12/2/2016

National sales and local taxes, and in some instances customs fees, will often be charged in addition to the tariff. The tariff, along with the other assessments, is collected at the time of customs clearance in the foreign port. Tariffs and taxes increase the cost of your product to the foreign buyer and may affect your competitiveness in the market. So knowing what the final cost to your buyer is can help you price your product for that market. In addition, your buyer may ask you to quote an estimate of these costs before making the purchase. This estimate can be made via email, phone or in the pro forma invoice.

Some countries have very high duties and taxes; some have relatively low duties and taxes. If your product is primarily made in the U.S. of U.S. originating components it may qualify for duty-free entry into countries with which the U.S. has a free trade agreement (FTA). We currently have FTAs with more than 20 countries. Targeting FTA countries is a good market entry strategy because buyers pay less tariff for goods made in the U.S. compared with similar goods from countries without FTAs. Here are the steps for finding and calculating estimated tariffs and taxes. Keep in mind that what you get from this process is an estimate. Only the customs officers in the country where the goods clear can make the final determination.

Finding Your Tariff Rate:

Once you know classification number or an HS (harmonized) code for the product you are exporting, you can look up the corresponding tariff (duty) rate by consulting tariff resources listed below.  If you need help with locating your HS code, “Look up your HS code” at the end of this page.

The tariff resources listed (public and private) are not exhaustive; however, they can help you estimate tariff rates for your shipment.  Remember that the actual tariff rates will be determined by the importing country Customs and may, therefore, differ on occasion from your estimate.  Also, the tariff rates do not include other charges such as Value Added Taxes of other fees collected by Customs or shippers that comprise the total cost of a landed shipment including purchase price, freight, insurance, and other fees up to the port of destination. To learn more, visit tariff and import fees and Calculating Tariffs.

After reviewing the resources presented here, you may have more questions about free trade agreement countries or country markets with multiple taxes, fees or charges in the country’s national currency.  Your shipper, or a freight forwarder should be able to assist you with your search. To locate broker a shipper, you may want to contact FedEx, UPS, DHL, or other vendors that would help you locate duty and taxes including Shippers Association and the National Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association. 

Additional useful resources:  

To look up value added taxes by country, see Value Added Taxes
Express shipments may be exempt from duties and/or taxes.  For the list of exemptions consult the de Minimis regime for low value express shipments worldwide.
Look up your HS code:

The first step in determining duty rates (also referred as tariffs) is to identify the Harmonized System or Schedule B number for your product(s). Once you know your product’s Schedule B or HS number (the first six digits of the 10 digit Schedule B number), you can determine the applicable tariff and tax rates for a specific foreign country.

The Census Bureau sponsors a free online tool called the Schedule B Search Engine and an instructional video to help you classify your products.  If after viewing the video you remain unsure of the best HS number for your product, you can phone U.S. Government commodity classification experts at 1-800-549-0595, option 2.

Guam

As a U.S. territory, Guam has no duty or quota requirements applicable on shipments to Territory of Guam.
However, there are fees and other requirements that apply to the type of importation and business.
  1. $5.00 procession fee for all shipments of cargo entering the Territory;
  2. Business license required prior to engaging in any business issued by the Department of Revenue and Taxation;
  3. 4% gross receipt tax on all merchandise sold in Guam.
  4. 4% use tax on all items imported for personal or business use.

Puerto Rico

As a U.S. territory, shipments to Puerto Rico are not considered exports so duties are not applied.  There is, however, a state sales tax of 5.5% and a municipal sales tax that can vary from 0% to 1.5 percent. Thus, taxes on consumption (levied to the end user) will vary from 5.5% to 7%.

U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI)

U. S. origin items shipped to the USVI are exempt from duties; however they will be subject to an excise tax. These taxes range from 0 to 6%. A few items, like cigarettes, are taxed at a higher level. Alcoholic beverages are subject to a flat rate based on volume.
Non-U.S. origin goods will be subject to a duty equal to the difference between the 6% the USVI normally levies on imports and whatever duty was paid on these items when they entered the U.S.( If there was a 5% duty charged at entry into the U.S., there would be an additional 1% charged upon entry into the USVI.)

For additional information about excise taxes, you can call the USVI excise tax office on 340-773-3766.

Other U.S. Territories

Shipments to US Territories are NOT considered exports. There are fourteen US territories and possessions:
  • American Samoa,
  • Baker Island,
  • Guam,
  • Howland Island,
  • Jarvis Island,
  • Johnston Atoll,
  • Kingman Reef,
  • Midway Islands,
  • Navassa Island,
  • Northern Mariana Islands,
  • Palmyra Atoll,
  • Puerto Rico,
  • Virgin Islands (US) and
  • Wake Island.

Prepared by the International Trade Administration. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



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