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I have purchased a lot of expensive stuff from Japan in the past and for whatever reason never been assessed import duty to the USA.  Sometimes you just get lucky I guess.  I understand that there has been a tariff change and the duty assessed is different now.

I recently purchased a $900 lens from Japan and encountered a new wrinkle.  FedEx was acting as broker for the import and held the item until I completed a Customs and Border Protection form I had never seen before.  I'm kinda thinking that the fellow in Japan may have incorrectly completed a customs declaration and given CBP the impression I was a dealer and not a private individual.  The Total FedEx bill was $283 on a $900 item.  Using an online duty calculator that seems to be about the correct amount on $900..

I'm curious if anyone else has recently (like the last 6 months) imported to the USA something selling for over $800 and what their experience might have been.  While I'm ok with paying my taxes (or at least as much as anybody is ever ok with paying taxes :) ), this is important as it now reverses the pricing equation to the point that individual Japanese imports may be more expensive than just buying from a USA retailer.  Which I suppose the purpose of import tariffs anyway :)

Edited by Good To Be Retired
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You can check here: https://hts.usitc.gov/current?utm_source=live&utm_medium=live&utm_term=usa import tariff camera&utm_content=undefined&utm_campaign=(not set)&gclid=undefined&dclid=undefined&GAID=1682633257.1592926918

Have a look at Section XVIII, chapter 90.

Additional tariffs are due for goods coming from China for the well known reasons, and some European Countries, due to the problem of the subsidies payd to Airbus.

 

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13 minutes ago, Fgcm said:

You can check here: https://hts.usitc.gov/current?utm_source=live&utm_medium=live&utm_term=usa import tariff camera&utm_content=undefined&utm_campaign=(not set)&gclid=undefined&dclid=undefined&GAID=1682633257.1592926918

Have a look at Section XVIII, chapter 90.

Additional tariffs are due for goods coming from China for the well known reasons, and some European Countries, due to the problem of the subsidies payd to Airbus.

 

Thank you for directing me to the relevant regulations.  I think. :)

I really should try to read and understand that clarifying information, but at my advanced age, there may not be enough time left to read all that :) 

Edited by Good To Be Retired
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I ordered an MS Optics lens from Japan last week for ~$1,100. It shipped with FedEx and arrived a day later without being held, and I haven't received any request for additional duties as of yet. That said, I did order a watch from Japan that shipped with FedEx a few months ago, and the watch arrived without being held, but I got a follow-up letter in the mail asking me to pay duty some weeks later. So I'll have to wait and see I guess! 

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40 minutes ago, brandnew2 said:

I ordered an MS Optics lens from Japan last week for ~$1,100. It shipped with FedEx and arrived a day later without being held, and I haven't received any request for additional duties as of yet. That said, I did order a watch from Japan that shipped with FedEx a few months ago, and the watch arrived without being held, but I got a follow-up letter in the mail asking me to pay duty some weeks later. So I'll have to wait and see I guess! 

My recollection when ordering an MS 73 from Bellamy at JCH a while ago was that the paperwork maybe didn't clarify the value completely.....not at my behest though. I received a duty request and paid it but from memory it was less than I had anticipated - though working out the correct duty seemed almost wilfully opaque at the time.

I wonder if there is a dollar level above which Duty owed must be paid first i.e. FedEx do not pay on your behalf and reclaim from you later?

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3 hours ago, Good To Be Retired said:

Thank you for directing me to the relevant regulations.  I think. :)

I really should try to read and understand that clarifying information, but at my advanced age, there may not be enough time left to read all that :) 

Good point 😉

 

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I have to pay duty on camera items coming from the US and, if the value is over $600, I have to engage a customs agent and pay his fee as well. I can buy from anywhere in the EU without having to pay any duty and, up to this, I have not had to pay duty on items coming from the UK, but that situation might change soon. 

Unless we have universal free trade, import duties and taxes are inevitable. What was that old saying about death and taxes? 

William

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In January II bought a $4,000 film camera from a dealer in The Netherlands and I had to pay about $35 in import fees to Fed Ex.  The Fed Ex invoice indicated about $25 was for them acting as the import agent.  I did not expect that charge but what bothered me the most was having to complete the import form for Fed Ex.  That form required my social security number and it concerned me because there are so many scammers in the world so I called Fed Ex to verify the requirement.  

I thought the USA tariff applied to electronic cameras but I was not going to haggle over the $35 fee.  

Ray

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I’m curious about this also, the system appears to have inconsistencies in practice as it has in the past.  I haven’t read the regulations but think the country of origin of the product is tariffed rather than the country shipped from.  I’m receiving an M macro adapter from Europe to the US soon and don’t know it that’s considered an optic or not. Taxed or tax free?  

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2 hours ago, darylgo said:

I’m curious about this also, the system appears to have inconsistencies in practice as it has in the past.  I haven’t read the regulations but think the country of origin of the product is tariffed rather than the country shipped from.  I’m receiving an M macro adapter from Europe to the US soon and don’t know it that’s considered an optic or not. Taxed or tax free?  

From my reading I believe that you are correct in your evaluation of the country of origin being a deciding factor, rather than the country from which it is being imported.

I also agree with the lack of consistency, or in the case of FedEx, lack of competency. :)   I get this mental image of a FedEx employee with a Magic 8 Ball calculating duty.

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2 hours ago, RayD28 said:

In January II bought a $4,000 film camera from a dealer in The Netherlands and I had to pay about $35 in import fees to Fed Ex.  The Fed Ex invoice indicated about $25 was for them acting as the import agent.  I did not expect that charge but what bothered me the most was having to complete the import form for Fed Ex.  That form required my social security number and it concerned me because there are so many scammers in the world so I called Fed Ex to verify the requirement.  

I thought the USA tariff applied to electronic cameras but I was not going to haggle over the $35 fee.  

Ray

What brand of camera?  The duty seems exceptionally low.

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I think it's arbitrary.  I was fortunate not to incur any customs on used gear imported into the US from Hong Kong last year.  The shipper specified "used equipment coming back from repair" on the manifest, which could have helped.  You can ask for it.

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