The customs import duty rate is a tax on goods brought into the United States from international destinations. This includes a passenger bringing goods in her luggage or a person mailing goods into the United States. These taxes deter outside companies from infringing on opportunities for American businesses and workers.
The customs duty rate is a percentage of the value of the item that a person brings into the country. The customs import duty rates in the United States vary depending on the product and are determined by the Harmonized Tariff System. The U.S. International Commission-Tariff Database offers an interactive system for people to look up approximate duty rates of individual items.
A person does not need to pay duties on everything she brings to the United States internationally. There are exemptions on alcohol and tobacco under a certain quantity. For example, a person does not need to pay a duty on tobacco as long as she carries 200 cigarettes or less. There are also duty-free shops located in many airports that don't require any additional taxes or duties at purchase or in customs. If a person does bring in goods that require a duty, she must pay that duty in American currency before exiting through the Customs and Immigration area of the airport.