The shipment will be subject to duty and possibly tax (e.g., VAT) on entering the destination country. Some tariff codes have a 0% rate, and many countries allow duty-free importation for temporary imports. Research and estimate duty and VAT if it's a concern For temporary exports, get a carnet, plan on posting a temporary import bond, or plan to drawback the import duty when the item is returned.
The US has two systems of 10-digit tariff codes, Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) and Schedule B. Both are based on the international Harmonized System, which provides the first 4 or 6 digits. Although the claim is that "There is a Schedule B number for every physical product, from paperclips to airplanes.", and there are about 17,000 entries, at times, particularly when dealing with low-volume research items, we seem to have items not yet envisioned in the tariff codes.
The HTS is always used for import into the U.S. It can also usually be used for exports from the U.S., supplanting the earlier Schedule B. HTS and Schedule B are similar but not always the same -- the Census Bureau has a list of HTS numbers than cannot be used for export. More information on Schedule B and Harmonized System.
- The best source of tariff code for a purchased item is the vendor or manufacturer
- The Census Dept. offers a Schedule B Search Engine or go here to browse or validate a number
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a searchable database of tariff code rulings
- findhts.com and htscode.org provide HTS search engines
|Section I||Live animals; animal products|
|Chapter 1||Live animals|
|Chapter 2||Meat and edible meat offal|
|Chapter 3||Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates|
Products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included
Dairy produce; birds eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included.
Each of these in turn subdivides into headings, subheadings, and statistical suffixes:
|Heading/Subheading||Stat. Suffix||Article Description|
|0101||Live horses, asses, mules and hinnies|
|0101.21.00||Purebred breeding animals|
|10||Imported for immediate slaughter|
|0101.90.30||00||Imported for immediate slaughter|
Finding the most appropriate HTS is a matter of working through the increasing specificity from heading to subheading to statistical suffix for the closest match.
The HTS also has appendices for chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and intermediate chemicals.