US tariff for Panama hat gift?
February 15, 2011 7:20 PM   Subscribe

Will two Panama hats sent as gifts from Ecuador have exorbitant tariffs through US customs?

I have a friend from Ecuador who can ask relatives to send me some local handicrafts.

I have requested a sweater and two superfine Panama hats. I was told each would cost $400US in Montecristi, Ecuador.

What can I expect to pay US Customs for these gifts from Ecuador when they arrive on US soil?
posted by ayc200 to Work & Money (3 answers total)
I've been to Ecuador many times & have come back loaded with gifts and have never had to pay customs. Of course on my forms I say I only spent $150 . Are they coming packed in a suitcase by a non-shady looking US citizen arriving by plane or coming by mail? It's not really clear in your question.
posted by HeyAllie at 8:06 PM on February 15, 2011

I am not a licensed customs broker, and if you want a definitive answer, get in touch with one (and get in touch with the post office as well!). However, from my position as an amateur Customs enthusiast:

19 CFR 145 deals with mail importations. Note that if the value of the shipment exceeds $2000, you will have to go through formal "Entry" procedures at the port of entry. Avoid that.

HTSUS code 6504.00: "Hats and other headgear, plaited or made by assembling strips of an material, whether or not lined or trimmed; of vegetable fibers, of unspun vegetable fibrous vegetable materials, of paper yarn or of any combination thereof:

Sewed: 6%
Not Sewed: $0.94/dozen and 4.6%

In the "Special" column, you'll note that the code "J" is included in the list of trade programs qualifying for free entry. "J" is the code for the Andean Trade Preference Act countries....which includes Ecuador. Yay!

The customs form from sender should state value and country of origin clearly.
posted by holterbarbour at 8:39 PM on February 15, 2011

Many Ecuadorian goods have been eligible for duty free treatment under the General System of Preferences and/or the Andean Trade Preference Act, but those programs are currently expired. There's hope that Congress will extend them soon, and make the extensions retroactive to the beginning of the year. If that happens you might be entitled to a refund of any import duty you pay. That would be something to check with customs (or your customs broker) about before you make entry. It might be worth your while to wait until the programs are reinstated before having the items shipped.

In the meantime, presuming that the hats are made of a plaiting material, you're most likely looking at a duty rate between 4.6% and 6.8%, depending on the specific material and the construction of the hats. See page three, heading 6504 (Hats and other headgear, plaited or made by assembling strips of any material, whether or not lined or trimmed) here.

There's not enough information to even guess about the duty rate on the sweater. Customs is really specific about classifying wearing apparel, and the duty rates are all over the place. It could conceivably be 30% or higher. Some factors are the type of fabric, the construction of the garment, and whether it's made for a man, woman or child. It will likely be covered in HTS Chapters 61-63 here.
posted by Balonious Assault at 8:40 PM on February 15, 2011

« Older Should I provide a W-2 to a potential new employer...   |   Misplaced aggression and Cat Crazies - What to do? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.