The International Trade Blog

Hank Selby

Articles Written By Hank Selby

What's So Important about the Harmonized System Classification?

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

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

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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The 5 Most Common Mistakes of New Importers

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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What Is an Assist?

In an earlier article (Everything has a Value—to U.S. Customs), I stated that the value of any type of assist must be added to the transaction value of imported merchandise in order to obtain the correct value for customs duty purposes.

I went on to say that this was an extremely complicated subject. In fact, the whole subject of assists is so complicated that they are the first subject covered in the official Customs Valuation Encyclopedia.

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