Buttons1 Graphic Buttons2 Graphic Buttons3 Graphic Buttons4 Graphic Buttons5 Graphic Buttons6 Graphic
Home . . Our Services . . Tariff Classification and Duty Reduction

Our services

Tariff Classification and Duty Reduction

How Tariff Classification Impacts Your Company

Every article of merchandise that is imported into a country must be “classified” in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS).  The HTS is a hierarchical list of standardized merchandise categories. Most countries have adopted the HTS, which was jointly developed and is administered by international consensus under the auspices of the World Customs Organization. Through its standardized nomenclature, the HTS promotes uniform descriptions on documents used in the international transfer of merchandise and uniform categorization for customs purposes, regardless of the country of importation.

Tariff classification is determining the tariff heading and subheading that most specifically and appropriately describes an imported article. 

The tariff classification of merchandise determines the duty rates that impact your company’s bottom line.  It also determines the applicability of special duty reduction or exemption programs, such as the Free Trade Agreements, the Generalized System of Preferences ("GSP"), etc., whether punitive tariffs or special duties (such as antidumping or countervailing duties for example on ball bearings) and other import restraints, which may limit the quantity of merchandise that can be imported (and may even determine whether a company's merchandise can be imported at all), apply to merchandise. 

Although the HTS contains over 10,000 specific product categories, there is significant room for interpretation, and disputes concerning tariff classification are common.

Proactive tariff planning will ensure that tariff classifications are not only compliant with the customs laws, but also under the lowest tariff provision possible. 

It is even possible, and permitted under the law, to structure transactions to take advantage of the best duty rate.  For example, because goods are classified in their imported condition, components can be shipped separately when lower duty rates would apply to the separate parts, and together when the duty on the set or finished good would be lower.  Sometimes the omission of a single part, or the grouping of items in a set, can have a tremendous impact on duty rates. 

Our Services

Our services include “Pre-Class” and our specialty “Fast Class” programs which ensure accurate and advantageous tariff classification with minimal effort on your Company’s part.

While U.S. Customs and Border Protection has estimated that nearly 80% of all customs entries contain errors, we have developed an efficient, reliable way to file duty refunds for misclassified products with any port of entry.

We also work with our network of international counsel to ensure that tariff classifications are harmonized, correct and advantageous on all target markets worldwide, and in some cases to have the matter reviewed by the World Customs Organization. 

We can confirm our position on tariff classification issues with the customs authorities through binding rulings and protests, and we can fix any errors discovered and minimize or eliminate penalties through prior disclosures.


  Cerny Associates.com 2008
Website Design by Black Dog Dzine