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12-12-2009, 10:13 PM   #1
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USA duties on Japanese lens

So many quality used lenes can be picked up from japan and I want to pick some up on ebay. However I never imported anything from another country.


If the lens is around 800 bucks how much of a duty am I looking at?
When do I pay it?
Can I pay it on delivery?
I am not running a business if that even matters.

12-13-2009, 12:27 AM   #2
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You can look up the duty. The tariff tables are available online. Japan has most-favored nation status, so the duty on a lens imported from Japan should be comparatively low. I did a quick look-up and the HTS (tariff) code is 90021190. The duty rate should be 2.3%. This should also be the case for most lenses of Asian manufacture that may be legally imported to the U.S.. The big exception is Singapore where no duty is collected.

Duty is due at the border and is paid by the importer (you). The exporter cannot do this for you. Customs will hold your goods at the border until duty is paid. You can contract for a customs broker to take care of the details. That is one advantage of using a shipper such as UPS as opposed to sending the item via international air mail. UPS will charge a premium price however for this service.

Duty is assessed based on the value of the goods. Value can be determined a number of ways. These include what you paid and what it might sell for in the U.S.. Generally, price paid is the norm unless it seems unreasonably low.

There may be a exception for items imported for personal use under a certain value, though I am not up on those regulations. Here is a link to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Web site:
CBP.gov - home page
You might be interested in the "not purely legal" ploy used by resellers of Russian goods. You have a private individual in another country to make the purchase. They send you the lens duty-free via international e-mail as a "gift". This is a good thing for Russian lenses since the duty on lenses from there is 45%. Ouch!

Steve

(My last job was customs-related...)

Last edited by stevebrot; 12-13-2009 at 12:45 AM.
12-13-2009, 01:28 AM   #3
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from my experience of imported goods from Japan, the duties that I paid for are pennies. usually they send the item via EMS or their national postal service. the price is usually around 16-19 dollars, but not more than. it is also insured btw and not disclosed as a gift. if it were a gift, I would pay no duties of any sort.

you should avoid buying goods that are shipped via UPS. they charge you double. you pay for the shipping fee, then they let you pay again for the same amount when they deliver the item at your doorstep. I hate UPS ! whatta buncha scumbags.

btw, EMS delivery is usually 2-4 days. the maximum is 7 days if the customs are too lazy to do their job. the longest that my item stayed on the customs is 2 weeks, because they thought that the item I bought was sort of a weapon.

Last edited by Pentaxor; 12-13-2009 at 01:34 AM.
12-13-2009, 01:48 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
from my experience of imported goods from Japan, the duties that I paid for are pennies. usually they send the item via EMS or their national postal service. the price is usually around 16-19 dollars, but not more than. it is also insured btw and not disclosed as a gift. if it were a gift, I would pay no duties of any sort.

you should avoid buying goods that are shipped via UPS. they charge you double. you pay for the shipping fee, then they let you pay again for the same amount when they deliver the item at your doorstep. I hate UPS ! whatta buncha scumbags.

btw, EMS delivery is usually 2-4 days. the maximum is 7 days if the customs are too lazy to do their job. the longest that my item stayed on the customs is 2 weeks, because they thought that the item I bought was sort of a weapon.
You live in Canada, eh? The OP lives in the U.S.

Our laws are similar, but not identical and the customs tariffs are almost assuredly different. Pennies for you, dollars for us. Again, I don't know what the limits are for duty-free import for personal use. The OP should contact U.S. customs for the details. If duty is due, the rate to import a lens from Japan would be 2.3% of value with the amount to be determined by U.S. customs at the border.

Steve

(What is EMS? Express Mail Service?)

12-13-2009, 02:09 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
You live in Canada, eh? The OP lives in the U.S.

Our laws are similar, but not identical and the customs tariffs are almost assuredly different. Pennies for you, dollars for us. Again, I don't know what the limits are for duty-free import for personal use. The OP should contact U.S. customs for the details. If duty is due, the rate to import a lens from Japan would be 2.3% of value with the amount to be determined by U.S. customs at the border.

Steve

(What is EMS? Express Mail Service?)

Yes, EMS is Express Mail Service. I believe regardless whether the importer is from the U.S., Canada or any parts of the world, Japan (EMS) seems to get low tax duties as compared to being shipped by other couriers. I had been in Europe and the Mid-East Asia, and had shipments delivered to those areas via EMS that didn't really pay much duties at all. I don't know why, but they just charge less. the worst courier I had encountered in my life was the Royal Mail Service (U.K.). aside from the insane duties, one package of mine didn't got delivered for more than 2 months. just when I called and told them that I was going to file a report of mishandling from their staff, my package got delivered 4 days after. that was the beginning and the end for anything to do with Royal Mail. I prefer shipping via Fedex from then on.
12-13-2009, 07:44 AM   #6
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There can be excellent second hand Pentax lenses in Japan, but with a word or two of caution. One is the exchange rate. It really stinks right now. BUt one can make quick conversion to see how good of a deal it really is. Right now a dollar buys about 87 yen. It used to be, not too long ago, that a dollar was well worth over 100 yen. Second is that there is I feel an infinite problem of buying a second hand lenses unseen. Also consider that Japan is a very humid country, relatively speaking, and that fungus on the lenses are very common. Also, in the event that you wish to either exchange or return, it may take an act of God to make that happen, primarily due to language problems (not just that, of course).

Having said that, if you have an opportunity to visit there, know where to go, and if no language issues, oh boy you can find some awesome deals. I got my FA 77 ltd silver 2 months ago for about $580 U.S, and it was rated 9.0 although it looked brand new and I have had no problems with it. At the store I saw DA 40 ltd for about $140. A*, if you can find them, are also a bit cheaper, although I have seen A* 135 , never used, still in the original box, for 2G. A clean A* 85 you may be able to score well under $1,000.

Hope it helps.
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