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07November 2011

Customs Attorney: My Goods Can Be Described In So Many Ways!

For Tariff Classification purposes, there are circumstances in which more than one word can describe an item. What do you do?! Well the law provides under the “General Rules of Interpretation” 2(b) that consideration is to be given to every heading that identifies an item by name, language or description. Okay, that is great but my goods can be described in more than one way.

General Rules of Interpretation 3 comes along and simplifies the identification of the goods.

Relative Specificity More SPECIFIC language is preferred over general language, thus the heading which more precisely describes the good will be used and the others will be ignored.

Composite Goods and Goods Sold in Retail Sets when a good is a mixture or a composite of different material, components, or sets Customs again uses the concept of Essential Character. In these cases, the question becomes which part of the retail set is causing you to purchase the item? To qualify as a retail set 1) there must be two or more articles with different classifications 2)a single commercial purpose and 3) packaged as ready for sale.

More Than One Essential Character What happens if the good has more than one essential character? Customs Answer: Look to the feature of the good that appears in the Tariff Schedule the last numerically.

Good Cannot be found in the Tariff Self Explanatory. Answer, General Rule of Interpretation 4 says pretend like the goods have changed to one in the tariff to which it is most akin.

Packing and Packaging Whether certain types of packaging are treated as part of the merchandise or must be classified separately. Fitted cases for example, camera cases, musical cases, gun cases, specifically designed for the particular product and have long term use are to be classified with the merchandise for which they are imported. However, if you import these separately then they would need there own tariff number.

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