This document answers frequently asked questions regarding international trade of electrical products. For further information or to submit a question, please contact NEMA’s international trade staff Craig Updyke.
- How do I find out what tariffs or other taxes a foreign government might charge on my product?
- How do I contact a U.S. Foreign Commercial Service representative for a particular country?
- How do I find out what the U.S. tariff is on a product?
How do I find out what tariffs or other taxes a foreign government might charge on my product?
- HTS Code: The first step toward answering this question is determining the HTS (Harmonized Tariff System) code for the type of product you are talking about. Each product traded across international borders falls into a 6, 8 or even 10-digit HTS category. The first 6 digits of the code are standardized worldwide, while additional numbers are used by some governments to further distinguish products in certain categories. In the U.S., HTS numbers are also called Schedule B and HS Tariff Classification numbers. To find tariff information, the HS number up to the 6-digit level is required.
Also, the U.S. Census Bureau's Foreign Trade Division website can be consulted to classify products in the Harmonized System. If you have trouble classifying your product and need assistance, you can call the Census Bureau at (301) 457-1084.
Tip: The first two numbers of the HTS code tell you the chapter of the product.
If your country of interest is not listed there, call the U.S. Trade Information Center at 1-800-USA-TRADE (1-800-872-8723), press 3 for tariff rates, and ask a commercial counselor to assist you. It helps to have your country and HTS number ready. The counselor should also be able to tell you what other charges or taxes will apply.
How do I find out what the U.S. tariff is on a product?
- HTS Code: The first step, as above, is finding out the proper Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code for the product in question. (See first bullet under previous question.)
You can access a file containing a list of NEMA-member products and their 6-digit HTS categories by using the link to the right.
- U.S. Resources: Armed with the proper HTS number, you should direct your internet browser to the U.S. International Trade Commission and select one of the choices under the heading “Current Tariffs” to access the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule.
Once you have found your product type in the schedule, you may see as many as three numbers in the columns to the right under “Rates of Duty." The first column is the MFN tariff, which is the tariff due on products from most countries around the world. The second column, which often reads "Free," is reserved for tariffs applied to goods from countries with which the U.S. has a free or preferential trade agreement. (These countries include Canada, Mexico, Israel, Jordan, and many Caribbean and less-developed economies.) The third column is for products from countries that do not have normal trading status with the U.S. (Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, and North Korea).
Tip: The first two numbers of the HTS code tell you the chapter in which you will find the product.
How do I contact a U.S. Foreign Commercial Service representative for a particular country?