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Tariff vs. Duty – What’s the Difference?

Tariff vs. Duty

Difference Tariff vs. DutyIt seems like such a simple question, but oftentimes a professional involved in international trade can’t tell you the difference.

A Tariff directly relates to the harmonized tariff system codes (HTS) which imported/exported products are classified under. HTS codes let U.S. Customs know what tariff rate should be charged to specific products, this mainly applies to imports over exports.

Let’s say I’m an importer of “knotted carpets and textile floor coverings.” I classify my product under the HTS code 5701.10.9000, the corresponding U.S. tariff would be the taxed percentage, which in this case is 4.5%.

A Duty is the actual amount of money paid on the imported/exported product. Although, the actual tax reference is the same thing, the import duty paid on “knotted carpets and textile floor coverings” depends on the quantity imported.

For example, if I imported $200,000 worth of the product to the United States last month, my duties would then be $9,000.

Most professionals use the terms interchangeably, which is correct, but in certain cases one is more appropriate than the other.

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