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USA defers import duties for US businesses hit by COVID-19

The US government has announced that US businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting government orders, will be able to defer payments of a limited range of import tariffs for 90 days.

This exemption will not apply to the tariffs on more than $360bn of Chinese imports that were imposed by the US in December 2019.

It will also not apply to levies imposed by the US against imports of steel and aluminium over the past two years.

“This payment flexibility will be available only for importers with a significant financial hardship and will apply to payments for goods imported in March and April,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement.

To qualify, companies also have to show a 60 percent decline in gross receipts for the comparable period in 2019, and the losses must result from partial or full closure due to government order, according to a Federal Register notice.

An eligible importer does not need to file additional documentation with CBP for this relief but must maintain documentation as part of their books and records establishing that they meet the requirements for relief.

If you currently use periodic monthly statements (PMS) to consolidate the payments of customs duties and fees for eligible shipments to be paid on a monthly basis, please contact your respective broker to amend the PMS ahead of midnight on 20th April 2020.

You can find the Customs and Border Protection's Duty Postponement FAQ here.

For further information, please contact your local Woodland representative or get in touch with our Woodland US customs team here. 

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