Online Tool Simplifies Tariff Assessments

A new online platform from the U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA) allows exporters to know, at the click of a mouse, tariff assessments for shipments headed to any of the countries with which the U.S.  has in place a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

With this tool, referred to as the FTA Tariff Tool, businesses and interested parties now have near-instantaneous access to tariff information for thousands of products, information that previously was available only by combing through arduous documents and legalese-laden Excel tables.

According to the ITA’s Export.gov website:

Using the tool, users can see how U.S. and FTA partner tariffs on individual products – searchable by keyword or tariff code – are treated under an agreement.  Additionally, U.S. importers and exporters can see the current tariff and future tariffs applied to their products, as well as the date on which those products become duty-free.  Finally, by combining sector and product groups, trade data, and the tariff elimination schedules, users can also analyze how various key sectors are treated under recently concluded FTAs.”

As a practical application, the ITA’s official blog Tradeology notes that, using the tool, an exporter can see “that the 20 percent tariff Peru used to charge on [a product] has been reduced to 14 percent under the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement.  Next year, the tariff will drop to 12 percent and will completely disappear in 2018.”

Compliance with trade regulations and uncertainty about the process are often cited by businesses that have yet to expand their customer bases beyond U.S. borders.  FTA’s new tariff tool will hopefully help shed a little light on the process, and help businesses realize that, with the right logistics partner on your team, expanding to new markets can be a smart, and relatively painless business strategy.

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