I plan to import on a commercial basis late this year a newly developed consumer product that uses Light Emitting Diodes and gentle vibration to revitalize facial skin. This is a consumer product similar to hair dryers and the Sonicare toothbrush that draws less than 500 W and is rechargeable with an electric charger. What will be the duty on these products?
It can be especially difficult to assign a Harmonized Tariff Number to manufactured goods, especially those based on an emerging technology because the Harmonized Tariff Schedule may not specifically account for the item being imported. As this is a manufactured or refined product, it will be found in the later chapters of the Tariff (as opposed to imports like wheat, steel, etc. which are found in earlier chapters). The more refined a good, the further back it will be listed in the tariff. This prevents us from classifying your LED skin-care tool as simply an article of plastic or metal.
My first thought with this was to look in section XVIII, chapter 90 of the tariff which covers medical items. After looking at your description again, you’ve listed it as a consumer item and not a medical tool which makes this chapter unsuitable. Chapter 90 covers medical devices like dentist drills, medical diagnostic tools and other items you might find in a doctor’s or veterinarian’s office.
From there, the next logical choice is Section XVI, chapter 85 which encompasses
Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles
The unit contains a light-emitting diode (which is specifically accounted for in the tariff), but it also vibrates and functions as a hand-held appliance. Based on your description, I believe the essential character of the item is less an LED, and more an appliance or piece of electrical machinery. With this assumption, I would classify this item under:
8509.80.0095 – which provides for electromechanical domestic appliances, with self-contained electric motor, and parts thereof, other appliances, other.
Assuming your import is coming from a country that maintains normal trade relations with the United States (China, India, Great Britain, etc.) this item carries 4.2% duty rate and is eligible for several reduced rate of free trade programs.
Other things to consider are the possible import restrictions placed on consumer cosmetic devices by the FDA as well as the possible implications of shipping hazardous materials in the form of rechargeable batteries.
Please note: This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not specific legal advice. As an importer, it is your responsibility to meet all the legal requirements for importing goods.