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Hank Selby

Articles Written By Hank Selby

What's So Important about the Harmonized System Classification?

Hank Selby | January 4, 2021 | Import Basics

For those of us who have been in the international trade arena for a while, the subject of product classification has always been interesting and, often, quite confusing.

When I started in this business more than 20 years ago, there was no single system used to classify imports worldwide. The United States used the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. (HTSUS), Europe generally used the Brussels Tariff Nomenclature, and many other countries had their own unique systems.

Sound confusing? It was!

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Everything Has a Value—to U.S. Customs

Hank Selby | February 25, 2019 | Import Basics

In my last article I discussed the importance of properly classifying products imported into the United States. As I stated, the Harmonized Tariff number determines the duty rate that U.S. Customs applies to imported products.

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Doing It by the Book: Classifying Your Goods for International Trade

Hank Selby | July 23, 2018 | Import Basics, Export Basics

In the first article I wrote for the International Trade Blog, I examined the importance of proper product classification for the importer. Accurate classification is a reasonable care requirement of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and non-compliance can result in substantial cost, both in back duties and penalties for the importer.

I noted in that initial article that proper classification requires an understanding of the rules and the process. What follows are my recommendations to anyone who has to classify product.

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Import Basics: The Generalized System of Preferences

Hank Selby | March 14, 2004 | Import Basics

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) was established by the Trade Act of 1974 as a mechanism by which U.S. trade policy can assist so called Beneficiary Developing Countries or BDCs.

Under GSP, certain articles designated by A, A*, or A+ in the Special subcolumn of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) may enter the U.S. duty free if they qualify under the GSP regulations as found in the Customs Regulations of the United States.

The theory is that by allowing certain goods to enter free of duty, the U.S. is able to support indigenous manufacturing and production and thus raise the standard of living of the beneficiary country.

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The 5 Most Common Mistakes of New Importers

Hank Selby | June 29, 2003 | Import Basics

With more than 20 years of observing new businesses try to get into international trade, I have seen many mistakes made and many companies fail. I am going to give you my perspective on what new importers, particularly those dealing in consumer goods, should not do.

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Applying to C-TPAT Makes Sense for Importers

Hank Selby | March 2, 2003 | Import Basics

Since U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in November 2001, I have been recommending to importers that they should participate.

This article will give you more information about what C-TPAT is, why you should participate, and how to apply.

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The 24-Hour Rule: New Customs Requirements for Importers

Hank Selby | January 26, 2003 | Import Basics
On February 2, 2003, U.S. Customs will be implementing the so-called “24-hour rule,” which went into legal effect on December 2, 2002. With this rule, U.S. Customs will now require carriers and non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs) to transmit certain cargo data to U.S. Customs 24 hours before the cargo is laden aboard a ship bound for the U.S. at a foreign port.

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How to Select Your Customs Broker

Hank Selby | November 10, 2002 | Import Basics
U.S. Customs Brokers are private individuals, partnerships, associations or corporations licensed by the U.S. Customs Service to prepare and file entries, arrange for payment of duties, arrange for release of goods in Customs Custody, and otherwise represent their clients in Customs matters. By U.S. law, these are the only entities that are authorized to act as agents for importers in their import business.

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An Introduction to Importing Into the United States

Hank Selby | September 29, 2002 | Import Basics

As someone who works with importers of various sizes and with different product mixes, people often ask me what they need to know to start importing.

The first thing I always point out is that U.S. customs regulations continually change. It is every importer’s responsibility to stay abreast of these changes.

With that caveat in mind, I would offer the following advice to new importers.

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Prior Disclosure: Reporting Mistakes In Your Import Entries

Hank Selby | August 25, 2002 | Import Basics

In previous columns, I discussed the concept of informed compliance under which importers in the United States are required by law to understand the U.S. customs regulations as they apply to their importations and to comply with them completely.

One major problem with this concept, however, is that the customs regulations are complicated and are constantly being changed. Moreover, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regularly issues rulings further interpreting the regulations and product classifications.

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