What is a staging basket?
During the course of free trade agreement negotiations, goods are sorted into various staging “baskets” or "staging categories. These baskets determine the amount of time it takes for the products within the basket to go duty-free under the agreement. For example, for all goods in the 10-Year basket will become duty-free ten years after the FTA enters into force.
What does non-linear mean?
Typically, under an FTA, tariffs on goods are reduced in equal installments (i.e., in a linear manner) over the designated period. Non-linear tariff reductions, on the other hand, take place at an uneven rate throughout the designated period. For example, a non-linear tariff elimination schedule may involve little or no tariff reductions in the initial years followed by larger cuts in the later years.
Where do I find more information about the agreements?
Why is my product duty-free with some FTA partners but not with others?
The United States has negotiated and implemented its free trade agreements over a number of years. Because of this, the tariff on a good imported under the U.S.-Peru agreement (implemented in 2009) might be different from the tariff applied on the same good if was imported under the U.S.-Australia agreement (2005).
Why are some of the tariff schedules in the database in French or Spanish?
The database contains the official tariff schedules negotiated under the various U.S. FTAs. For some countries, the schedules are in English. For others, the schedules are in French (Morocco) or Spanish (the DR-CAFTA countries and Peru).
How are agricultural products defined?
International trade agreements use the WTO's definition of agricultural products. The WTO's Agreement on Agriculture defines agricultural products by reference to the harmonized system of product classification — the definition covers not only basic agricultural products such as wheat, milk and live animals, but the products derived from them such as bread, butter and meat, as well as all processed agricultural products such as chocolate and sausages. The coverage also includes wines, spirits and tobacco products, fibers such as cotton, wool and silk, and raw animal skins destined for leather production. Fish and fish products are not included, nor are forestry products.
It is worth noting that the WTO definition of agricultural products differs slightly from USDA's definition (e.g. spirits are not included in USDA's agricultural product definition but are included in the WTO's)
For more information on USDA's definition of agricultural products see the link below.
What is an HS code?
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System generally referred to as "Harmonized System" or simply "HS" is a multipurpose international product nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).
The system comprises about 5,000 commodity groups; each identified by a six digit code, arranged in a legal and logical structure and is supported by well-defined rules to achieve uniform classification.
Many countries further separate HS six digit groups into more detailed sub-groups usually defined at the eight, nine or ten digit level depending on the country. This is the level at which tariffs are applied. Codes are no longer harmonized internationally beyond the HS six digit level (e.g. tariff line 0406.90.10 in Country A likely describes different product than 0406.90.10 in Country B).
For more information about the Harmonized Tariff system visit the link below.
I've entered the ten digit HS export code but no results are found.
For statistical purposes the United States Census Bureau tracks exports with a ten digit Schedule B code. This is not the same as the tariff line code used by other FTA partners. HS codes are only harmonized internationally at the six digit level. You may enter the first six digits of the ten digit Schedule B code in the search engine to find the tariff information you are looking for. For more information about HS codes, see HS code FAQ.
Why can't I find information on the U.S. FTA with [country X]?
Not all FTA partner information has been added to the system yet. If you need help finding information about an FTA not yet included in the system you may contact the Bilateral Agreements and Enforcement Division 202-720-4762.