Import duty? This is my experience in importing bikes and bike parts (for the last 10 years)
1. Some items are duty free- derailluers, chains and rubber tires and tubes come to mind immediately.
2. Some items are assessed with a 10% duty, known as the Wald Tax- baskets, kickstands, one pc cranks, cottered cranks etc. Anything that was made in the US during the 60/'s and 70's will probably fall into that.
3. Some items are between the two, based on the whims of Customs (or Homeland Security or whatever they call it these days) and various lobbying groups outside the bike industy (see below), like frames (but forks are free.....) computers, steel wire, bolts and nuts.
4. Some things, like raw steel tubing are currently assessed a 40% tarrif (so much for NAFTA and the WTO).
5. A copy of duty rates that pertain to bikes is available through the BPSA for like $2,000 for non members (and it is really the only concise source for the correct HTS #'s).
6. If you do a lot of importing with many shipments via air and ocean it is better to find a customs broker and have them itemize all the goods for you. UPS, fed ex, etc in my experience just adds 10% to your bill for duty since there is a general heading for bikes and parts that customs asseses. If this is a one shot deal, then just eat the 10% duty and add it to your freight and brokerage costs.
7. It is up to you- the importer of record- to submit an accurate duty for the stuff you import. The broker will not be held responsible and Customs like the IRS assumes you are guilty until you prove your innocence. And like the IRS, ignorance of the law is not an excuse, especially if you are caught more than once. This ususally requires you to look up the HTS number and make a note of it on the commercial invoice. Doing this will save you and the broker lots of grief.
8. When you fly back into the US, you have to make a declaration of goods you are carrying on you, outside fo your personal possessions. if the total is under $400.00 then they wave you on. if it is more than that, you are hit with a 10% duty based on the declared value. Customs expects you to declare samples but from my experience no on ever does that. Now if you have 450 'samples' of bikes sitting in a container in Long Beach CA, well they will think something is fishy and wil probably impound the ctr, Xray it for explosives and human cargo and then see where the duty falls and then you will pay fines on top of that.
There is no nutshell with Customs, its more like a nut grove.
Tom Martin Oakland CA I know way too much about this stuff, or maybe just enough to get myself in trouble.
> Ha! I just went through import hell and can tell you from experience
> that there's import duty on everything (and I mean everything). It
> doesn't matter what it is, how old it is or how worn out it is,
> everything from vintage cheese to vintage lightweights and a million
> things you've never even thought of, U.S. Customs will want to tax it.
> In my experience, you normally don't get hit with duty in the US unless
> you're getting a big crate/container shipped to you via a port. With
> air, I've never paid duty on anything, so air is the way to go. I don't
> think they have enough people to track all that air stuff, but big
> packages and crates that travel surface by boat that are worth anything
> (and they will find out what that value is) gets the full treatment
> these days including x-rayed and opened as needed.
> I think the minimum duty is 2.5 percent. The worst is the brokerage and
> port fees though, not Customs per se. If your declared value is under
> $2,000, you can act as your own broker by filling out all the forms
> yourself, I think.
> Greg Fletcher
> Foothill Ranch, CA
> PS: If you live in the US and order from the US and you're paying VAT
> out of the UK, you're getting scammed by the merchant- I've had to have
> a little "talk" with a couple of businesses that tried to charge me on
> that before. They should know better, so don't fall for it.
> > Is there a import duty for "USED" bike equipment? I do not think so,
> > otherwise you would could be liable for the European VAT. It is my
> > understanding that the VAT only applies to new items purchased in
> > Europe...---