What is a tariff?

A tariff or duty (the words are used interchangeably) is a tax levied by governments on the value including freight and insurance of imported products. Different tariffs are applied on different products by different countries. The average duty worldwide is about 5 percent. National sales and local taxes, and in some instances customs fees, will often be charged in addition to the tariff. The tariff, along with the other assessments, is collected at the time of customs clearance in the foreign port. Tariffs and taxes increase the cost of your product to the foreign buyer and may affect your competitiveness in the market. So knowing what the final cost to your buyer is can help you price your product for that market. In addition, your buyer may ask you to quote an estimate of these costs before making the purchase.

Here are some additional tariff resources that include information that may be of use to you.


Back to Basics of Exporting

Do I need an export license to export my goods, technology or services? What other Export Compliance steps do I need to take?

What documentation do I need to prepare for exporting?

What is Free Trade Agreement (e.g., NAFTA, CAFTA, TPP, Panama FTA, KORUS, etc.)? Is it possible if my foreign customers pay less or no duties when they import?

What Federal Government agencies regulate the exports and imports?