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Any duty when importing from Hong Kong to NY?

Leonard Forte , Feb 15, 2007; 05:36 p.m.

I'd like to buy a nikon lens from a Hong Kong dealer. Will there be any duty or tax if importing into NY state? Has anyone bought nikon lenses from Hong Kong? I'm aware that it will come with international warranty (probably 1 yr) Thanks


Juanjo Viagran , Feb 15, 2007; 06:51 p.m.


I bought a compute component from Hong Kong and receive it at my door steps in NY w/o having to pay a thing. Same from UK and Canada...don't know from elsewhere.

Shun Cheung , Feb 15, 2007; 07:35 p.m.

I bought a compute component from Hong Kong and receive it at my door steps in NY w/o having to pay a thing

If you don't even need to pay for the component or lens, I'll buy two. :-)

Juanjo Viagran , Feb 15, 2007; 08:55 p.m.


should I explain what I meant ..! nahh

Michael Dakin , Feb 16, 2007; 06:30 p.m.

I am not an expert, I only very infrequently import items to the USA, and I've never imported a lens from Hong Kong, but this is what I know.

First off the person sending the package needs to put a customs declaration onto it (this is basic and is required and any business that does this regularly will do it automatically but if you are dealing with an individual he/she might not be aware of it. You can get that customs form at any post office in the world.) If it does not have a declaration it will likely be rejected when it arrives to the USA and sent back.

It can be cheaper to use the "International Mail System" (USPS in the USA) rather than courier services (FedEx, UPS, etc.) The savings result because items that come in via "mail" that are valued less than $200 (or $100 if gift) are generally delivered with the duties WAIVED. This waiver is not possible with courier delivery and you do pay duties on the items worth less than $200. Also, I believe that the couriers must hire customs brokers to get the packages through customs and they pass that cost on to you.

The courier's "shipping and handling" fee generally does NOT include the duty and fees associated with the customs broker your courier hires for you. I have heard these customs brokers fees can get exorbitant (sometimes effectively doubling the price of the item being imported). Thus I have ONLY used the international mail system.

All items worth over $2000, some items worth over $250 and possibly all items in some categories (textiles?) need to be "Formally Imported". This process requires that YOU or a customs broker that you hire fill out paperwork to import the item before the item can be delivered/picked up.

I believe the USPS charges $5 or so on top of the duty to deliver the item. (Or $0 if the duty was waived by customs.) You (not your wife, kid, secretary, etc.) must sign for the delivery and pay the fee and duty.

Take everything I have said with a grain of salt (this is a complex process in general, and I'm not a customs broker or a frequent importer)! Review the US Customs website:

Andrew Robertson , Feb 17, 2007; 04:44 a.m.

You need to check with customs. Getting a package to your door doesn't necessarily mean you haven't smuggled the item in.

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