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Understanding Section 9801 of the United States Harmonized Tariff Schedule (USHTS)

Section 9801 of the United States Harmonized Tariff Schedule (USHTS) is a crucial aspect of international trade regulations. It outlines provisions for the treatment of returned goods, goods repaired or altered in the United States, and certain other situations where customs duties may be modified or exempted. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of Section 9801 USHTS, its purpose, key provisions, and its significance in international trade.

The Purpose of Section 9801 USHTS

Section 9801 USHTS serves several important purposes:

  1. Promotion of Trade Facilitation: One of the primary objectives of Section 9801 is to promote trade facilitation by allowing goods to re-enter the United States without incurring import duties or taxes under specific circumstances. This encourages cross-border trade and supports economic activity.
  2. Encouraging Repair and Alteration Services: Section 9801 promotes repair and alteration services within the United States. When goods are repaired or altered domestically, they may be eligible for duty exemptions or reductions, which can incentivize businesses to invest in these services domestically.
  3. Minimizing Double Taxation: Section 9801 helps avoid double taxation by exempting goods previously exported from the United States from import duties upon their return.


Key Provisions of Section 9801 USHTS

Section 9801 USHTS contains several provisions that determine when and how goods may qualify for duty exemptions or reductions:

  1. Returned Goods: Goods exported from the United States may be returned without payment of customs duties, provided they meet specific criteria. These goods must be identified as U.S. origin, and their return must occur within three years of the original export.
  2. Repair and Alteration: When goods are repaired, altered, or improved within the United States, they may be eligible for reduced or exempted import duties. The work performed must substantially improve the goods, and the cost of repair or alteration must exceed their value after repair.
  3. Value Added Rule: The value added to the goods through repair or alteration must exceed 50% of their value after repair to qualify for duty exemption or reduction.
  4. Record-Keeping: Importers and exporters must maintain detailed records to demonstrate that goods meet the requirements of Section 9801, including proof of export and evidence of repair or alteration.


Significance in International Trade

Section 9801 USHTS plays a significant role in international trade for various reasons:

  1. Cost Savings: It allows businesses to save on customs duties, making international trade more cost-effective and competitive. This is especially crucial for industries reliant on repairs, alterations, or re-exports.
  2. Encouraging Domestic Repairs: Providing incentives for repair and alteration services in the United States, which leads to job creation and economic growth.
  3. Trade Facilitation: The provision for returning goods without incurring duties simplifies cross-border trade processes, reducing administrative burdens for importers and exporters.
  4. International Supply Chains: Section 9801 facilitates international supply chains by allowing for the movement of goods without unnecessary tax burdens, thereby promoting global trade.


Section 9801 of the United States Harmonized Tariff Schedule is a critical component of international trade regulations. It serves to promote trade facilitation, encourage domestic repair and alteration services, and minimize double taxation. Importers, exporters, and businesses engaged in cross-border trade should be aware of the provisions of Section 9801 USHTS to maximize its benefits and ensure compliance with U.S. Customs regulations. Understanding and properly applying Section 9801 can lead to cost savings, support of domestic industries, and facilitation of smoother international trade operations.

Contributor: Jordan Peterman

About Allyn International

Allyn International provides high quality customer-centric services and solutions for the global marketplace. Allyn's core products include transportation management, logistics sourcing, freight forwarding, supply chain consulting, tax management, and global trade compliance. Allyn clients range from small local businesses to Fortune 500 firms. Allyn conducts business in more than 20 languages and has extensive experience in both developed and emerging markets. Highly trained experts are positioned throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Allyn’s regional headquarters are strategically located in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.A., Shanghai, P.R. China, and Prague, Czech Republic. For more information, visit


(CBP, Customs & International Trade Law)


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