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Everything You Need To Know About Import Costs From Japan

Before importing products from Japan, it's a good idea to determine what your import costs will be. Find out how to determine what your costs will be and what benefits are available when importing from Japan.
January 9, 2022
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Last Modified: August 9, 2023

Japan has been a top trading partner of the U.S. for many years. They have provided goods like vehicles, machinery and optical and medical instruments. Like every other country, there are duties and tariffs imposed on their goods. So, before you start importing you need to be familiar with what import costs from Japan will be like.

Import costs from Japan depend on what products you bring into the U.S. and what their value is. When you pay duties for an import from Japan, you will need the HTS code for your products. Fortunately, duties and tariffs for Japanese imports are cheaper due to the U.S. and Japan free trade agreement.

Our guide below will give further details about what you need to know about import costs from Japan.

Do I Have to Pay Import Costs on Products from Japan?

Depending on the type of product you plan to import, you will have to pay a customs duty on goods shipped from Japan if they are for commercial use. Certain goods are duty-free according to the harmonized tariff schedule of the U.S. (HTSUS), whereas other goods do require duty to be paid.

Since duty taxes can vary from product to product, be sure to research the goods you want to import so you won’t be penalized if you don’t pay a duty. If you want to learn more about HTS codes, then check out our article where we cover all the basic information that you need to know about them. 

Depending on what you plan on importing, we may have more information available. Whether you’re importing cars or video games from Japan, we have articles to help you out!

Are There Any Free Trade Agreements Between the U.S. and Japan?

The HTSUS is where you should go if you want to find out duty rates for imports. When you look at HTSUS codes you will see a column labeled as “special.” Under this column there will be a list of countries the U.S. has free trade agreements with and the applicable duty under that agreement. If you need to look up HTSUS codes you can do so on our website using our HTS code lookup tool.

Fortunately, the U.S. and Japan have an established free trade agreement that has been in effect for almost two years. The agreement was made so that the U.S. and Japan would have better trade access to each other’s agricultural and industrial markets.

As part of the agreement, Japan has committed to either phasing out most of its tariffs, reducing tariffs, or giving lower duty rates depending on the number of imports. America is holding up its end of the agreement by making 90 percent of its food and agricultural imports duty-free or giving them preferential tariff access.  

If you want to import agricultural and industrial products from Japan then this trade agreement is great news. Agricultural and industrial imports will have either no duty fees or reduced ones. Make sure that when you import agricultural products from Japan you follow the correct filing procedures:

  1. Make sure that the goods you import fall under the agreement. 
  2. When you import a product(s) that fall under the agreement, you will have to pay the applicable duty
  3. Afterward, you will need to acquire a preferential tariff retroactive claim in. You can do this by filing a post summary correction (PSC), in which you will request a refund.
  4. On your entry you must put the indicator ‘JP’ with the eligible tariff number that is included with a product that qualifies under the agreement.

To claim the preferential tariff treatment prescribed by the trade agreement, you must first meet the following requirements:

  1. The country of origin must have a ‘JP’ indicator
  2. The country of export must have a ‘JP’ indicator
  3. The Indicator ‘JP’ has to be placed in front of the eligible tariff number for the claim to be successfully processed

When you file for preferential tariff treatment, you will use the Automated Commercial Environment, or ACE. ACE is the system that members of the international trade community use to report their imports and exports. 

Lastly, goods that have preferential treatment will still have merchandise fees attached to them.

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How Are Import Costs From Japan Determined?

The duty rates of the U.S. are simply percentages that are created based on the complete purchased value of the goods that were bought from a foreign country. 

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) uses HTSUS to determine the duty rates of imports. The HTSUS serves as a manual where all of the applicable rates and statistical categories of various products can be found at. 

Don’t forget that the free trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan has reduced or eliminated duties on certain imports originating from Japan.

How Much Are Import Costs from Japan?

Since Japan uses different methods to determine the duty of a product, it is hard to give a definitive number to how much the duties are. It all comes down to the total purchase value of your import when you bought it from Japan. 

How to Calculate Import Costs from Japan

If you’re looking to find out how much your imports from Japan will cost, the process is fairly straightforward. The steps are as follows: 

  1. First, you will need to find out what the HTS code is for your shipment
  2. Multiply the percentage by the total amount of the goods signified by the HTS code. 
  3. Afterward, divide that number by 100

When you calculate the duty rates for imports originating in Japan you should take into account the free trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan. Thanks to this free trade agreement, you will find that imported agricultural and industrial goods will be cheaper. 

Of course, you have to make sure your products are accurately classified with the correct tariff classification from the HTS. This is often one of the most challenging aspects of the importing process. Thankfully, our Licensed Customs Brokers can assist you with this confusing and difficult task.

During our 1-on-1 consultations, our customs experts obtain detailed information about your imports. With this information, our team can locate and provide the correct HTSUS tariff classification for your goods.

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Are Products From Japan Subject to Import Tariffs?

As we have already discussed, the U.S. and Japan free trade agreement have reduced or eliminated tariffs on Japanese products

However, this free trade agreement does not apply to imported Japanese vehicles. The U.S. and Japan have a substantial automobile trade deficit. To make up for the gap, the U.S. government currently imposes a 2.5 percent tariff on imported cars of Japanese origin.  

Does Japan Have Active Antidumping or Countervailing Duties?

Before we get into Japan’s antidumping and countervailing duties, we will first explain what dumping and countervailing are.

Dumping is when companies manufacture goods and then export them at prices much lower than they normally would. To defend their economy, the government will apply antidumping duties to these types of products when they are imported. 

Countervailing duties on the other hand are tariffs that are used to offset subsidies. These subsidies would usually be made to producers in the exporting country. Countervailing is meant to create an equal playing field where both domestic and foreign producers of a particular good can sell it at lower prices.

Get Help Importing From Japan

As you can see, there’s a good amount to know when it comes to importing goods from Japan. Having an experienced and reliable customs broker can help you with this added responsibility.

When it comes to importing, we’re the team of experts you can trust. At USA Customs Clearance, powered by AFC International, we have the know-how to make sure that your imports make it into the country smoothly and efficiently regardless of where they come from. 

On our consulting page, you can schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with one of our customs brokers. Our experts will help you calculate and understand your import costs from Japan. If you aren’t ready for a consultation, then contact our team and they can guide you to your next step.

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22 comments on “Everything You Need To Know About Import Costs From Japan”

  1. I am looking to buy a motorcycle helmet for around 750-800usd. What would the costs be to bring it into Wisconsin ,from Japan? Thanks, Mike

  2. I’m looking into buying a camera lens for personal use on eBay for around $500 USD. Will there be any import fees on this?

  3. I want to buy a preowned handbag that will be for my own personal use. The bag was originally made in Spain and is selling around $1800USD. Will there be a customs tax and if so about how much would it be?

  4. II am considering purchasing an audio amplifier from Japan. Item cost is 14,500 USD. What are the expected costs I would incur for Customs or any other fees.

  5. hello, if i buy a tube amp worth 400 usd from ebay from japan. do i have to pay custom tax if i ship to california?

  6. I want to purchase off eBay a carved wooden carp the purchase price is $200.00 two hundred dollars. It will be in my apartment. How much would the duty fee be and when would I pay them?

  7. I am interested in buying some used clothes from an online retailer in Japan. They would be for my personal use. Would I have to pay customs duty on them ( under $800)?
    I cannot find an answer on any of these pages. Please advise. thank you.

  8. Im looking to purchase a $25k watch from Japan to US – any idea what the import duties would be on that?

    Thank you –


  9. I would like to purchase five (5) golf clubs (irons 6-7-8-9-& wedge) from Japan. Can you give me a general estimate on import fees for these used clubs. The purchase price is $450. Thank you

    1. I’m thinking of buying a used Roland cube amplifier from a seller in Japan. Cost approximately 170.00. Are there custom fees from Japan. If so what % fee would it be?

  10. I want to purchase a Louis Vuitton watch for $882.64 . It is used and I want to purchase it from ebay ( japan) . I don’t know if I have to pay custom duty fees or extra taxes . Please let me know . Also I need to know where I have to pay it ? I have to pay in post office ? Please let me know asap. Thank you

    1. I want to buy a 158.00 dollars necklace from eBay . The necklace is being sold from Japan . I need to find out what the import duties , taxes and charges are before I buy it

  11. Can you give me a quote on the custom’s tax for a used designer jacket shipping from Japan? the jacket is valued at $2,500 US dollars.

    Thank you

  12. Any idea at all about any tariffs on an item called an “usu”? It is for personal use, the cost is $800. It is made of stone and is a traditional way to make a food called mochi. I realize that this is not a commonly imported item, so no worries if there is not a clear answer available.

  13. Are customs or VAT charged if I buy a pre owned Swiss watch from a seller in Japan with a value of around $3000US?

    1. I am thinking of buying a watch from Japan. What costs
      would I incur for Customs or any other fees. Thanks!

  14. Is there an Affiliate Support Channel to facilitate Import Trade Transactions among individual Clients?

    Gary Moodie

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