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New US tax on mini truck imports?

Discussion in 'Mini Lounge' started by steve_nagoya, Apr 27, 2008.

  1. steve_nagoya

    steve_nagoya Member

    Hey all,

    I've heard from an US importer that there is a new government tax on trucks. It was supposedly started a couple of weeks ago. Anyone know more?

  2. ATVtruck.com

    ATVtruck.com New Member

    Import tax is here. Maybe worse. The word is that US Customs is changing the classifaction of mini trucks. This new classifaction will impose a 25% duty on your F.O.B. price. The really scary thing is that this new classifacation is will subject all mini truck shipments to scrutiny from the EPA and DOT. I am hoping of the best but unless someone fights this mess the mini truck businnes will be ending soon. We can pay the tax but the EPA and DOT are not exactly rolling out the welcome mat for kei trucks.
  3. steve_nagoya

    steve_nagoya Member

    I think/hope that is a little pessamistic. After all, if the government is making duty money, why would they want to stop a good thing?
  4. We're talking about the government - they don't think that far in advance. they see the opportunity to make tax revenue, not giving any thought to what it might do in the "long term".:frustration:
  5. steve_nagoya

    steve_nagoya Member

    Hey there,

    I was thinking more about this, and I think the government would continue to just continue to tax the imports. But, if people in EPA and DOT would take a serious look at how the trucks could be used on the road in ALL states, wouldn't that make the fuel crunch a little bit better?

  6. greg0187

    greg0187 Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, but they cant open their eyes. Anyone effected by the strike on the west coast today?

  7. volkswagen50

    volkswagen50 Member

    Does anyone know anyone who has actually paid 25% import duty yet? The current import duty/tariff schedule doesn't have anything listed as that high of a rate with the exception of goods from Cuba or North Korea. The highest otherwise was 11%. This was in Section 17, chapter 87. This is the current tariff schedule effective 4/16 of this year.

    What is the exepmtion that allows them to currently come into the country? I tried to find it but can't. Greg
  8. apparently this classification is only happening at two ports here in the states so far. I have a container being cleaned at port and it appears as though it's going to make it through without the duty, so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed. However, I have one that left port on the 29th that i'm very concerned about, but at this point it appears to be business as usual and I haven't heard anything about it being hit with a duty but that could change with the wind. If this duty happens it could add a minimum of 450.00 per truck
    Last edited: May 1, 2008
  9. It looks like it takes affect 60days after the ruling so if anyone was lucky enough to do a transaction that will squeeze in during that time you're lucky!
  10. Acerguy

    Acerguy Moderator Staff Member

    :mad: Jeez...I don't believe this. I mean what is the big deal with these trucks that there are some special interests out there that feel they are such a threat? I mean most of the UTV's come from Japan already don't they? Who's driving this? Is it Polaris, John Deere, Kawasaki, etc??? :frustration:
  11. volkswagen50

    volkswagen50 Member

    Freemont, which two ports? Tariffs are based on where the imported item comes from, and what it is. Not where it lands. We need some more information. Which two ports, who said it, where did they get their information.

    When I imported classis Minis, I heard all the same sort of rumors about all sorts of stuff with Minis. I'm not saying anyone is wrong here, but it's all rumors until there is a page to read from the various government entities.
    60 days from what ruling? Believe it or not, these sort of things MUST be posted and available for public response prior to being applied. John Deere can't just call his favorite lobbiest, pressure some official, and insto presto: high tariffs. It takes time. Now if all that has been going on, why didn't anyone know about it?
    If someone has some concrete information , knows a custom official to call, customs broker that they use (usually knows first) that can answer a few questions, then lets get some answers!
    I'm under the impression that previous import duties on these trucks was 2.5%, a ten fold increase seems very out of line with the relative small amount being imported. I'm sure it's not unprecidented, but it just SOUNDS wrong. I'd bet the tariff on Japanese cars that are new isn't as high and they directly compete with the US market.
    We need facts and info before we panic. ( I just looked, Jap cars are 2.5%, tractors are 0%, why isn't John Deere screaming about that?)
  12. I received this info this morning from our clearing house that handles all of our import/export paper work to get things into the country. I didn't ask which two ports, I didn't care as the one I'm going through wasn't one of them. My stuff is currently stuck in Tacoma washington but to date haven't heard anything about being hit with a duty own them. Customs is pretty much its on entity from port to port, no one talks to each other and they seem to be acting totally unilaterally from port to port. Here's a link that gives some more info:

    e just need to take it one day at a time and see what happens, the lawyers at the brokerage house I use are going over every document they can to see what can be done to avoid this.
  13. Wolfman

    Wolfman Member

    You do realize that you are talking about an entity that is capable of screwing up literally everything it ever even THINKS about touching, right?

    I'm sitting here in limbo on the future of my own minitruck here in TX with their sudden about face regarding registering them, as I watch gas prices steadily climb upwards here, and I'm quickly coming up on the renewal of my tags. :frustration:
  14. MichTrucks

    MichTrucks Moderator Staff Member

    From what I read we are clasified as 8709 and the current duty is FREE as of HTS dated 2008 rev 2. Am I missing something here? As a side note, does everone read the import requirements that say 2005 is the last year vehicle we can be importing? Short of stripping out the engine and trans, and importing the parts, as some other importer is doing!
  15. Nipponway

    Nipponway New Member

    Import Tariff classifications

    You are right Steven, in my last shipment that was just released in
    Memphis, TN. Upon releasing it, the Import Specialist, Isaac
    Mendyuk, issued an Informed Compliance Notice in regards to the mini work
    trucks. In that notice, he states that due to Custom Bulletin & Decisions
    Vol 40 No 33, from August 9, 2006, the duty for these types of trucks should
    be classified in 8704.31 instead of 8709.19. Thus, required 25% duty.

    It is my understanding that this was a proposed action but has not yet been
    placed into action. Due to this that would mean that rulings HQ
    964598 and HQ 965246 would still be in effect, covering the classification
    of this type of vehicle.
    Here is the link to that ruling that passed on August 9, 2006.
  16. U didn't actually have to pay the 25% duty did you? The 2006 notice is old news and until this week hasn't been an issue, it was like an idea that was thrown against the wall that didn't quite stick. from reading the links it appears as though the mini truck trend may be over before it ever really got started. It looks like it's a matter or interpretation at the port regarding classification rulings
    Last edited: May 2, 2008
  17. Nipponway

    Nipponway New Member

    Confused Custom Examiners

    Yes, After arguing back and forth with examiner and agents supervisor while the container was in the intensive hold, we had to pay the duty at that point and file a protest to possibly get the money back from Uncle Sam later hopefully. I want to add that it seems that every ports custom examiner seems to make their call about the tariff classification disregarding every argument. I had a container cleared just today Friday 5/2/08 from Long beach port, LA without any duty.
  18. I've got one stuck in Seattle but only because they found some dirt on a few of them and they needed to be steam cleaned AGAIN before they were released. Thus far no issues with the new duty on them, just re cleaning, I have another that will probably hit land late next week so we'll see how that goes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed because that is a expensive container coming in.
  19. Nipponway

    Nipponway New Member

    Initial cleaning

    Trucks could be detailed clean inside out at time of loading them but when the examiner inspects them 15 days later at at a 40 degree angle inside the container some times the engine oil, battery, or other fluid leaks out resulting expensive steam watch of the whole container. So try not to have any fluids at time of export. That's one expense you can control.
  20. volkswagen50

    volkswagen50 Member

    So the skinnyis no large duty if you have a good broker who can argue well? Sounds about right. Something else that seems to be, stuff clearing customs at a port have a far better chance of getting in under the free duty classification rather than the 8704. The hitch being the part about warehouses and short distance transport where as the 8704 is really for trucks that are used on highway. Even in 8704 there is a provision for offighway use (dumpers) that gives it free duty.
    I personally would NEVER have a shipment cleared locally or in the interior of the country. The Customs men there do not see the volume of goods that a port Customs man would and they tend to err on the side of cash. When I sold Minis, a Customs man from the local branch (in Ma) came by to see how to tell a newer (80's-90's) mini would look different from a older mini. He wanted to see if the one coming into his port was a newer one on a older VIN number. I was kinda vague, really telling him that there was no sure fire way to tell aside from fuel injection and airbags being on it. The NY port customs guy was totaly different. He saw a dozen or so a week and even when a Mini 25 came in (1984 anniversary model) on a older vin, he didn't care. High volume ports will always clear more stuff, quicker and with less scutiny, mud not withstanding. If you use a customs broker from the same port and the broker says its under 8709.19, the customs guy will most likely let it fly based on the knowledge that the broker is going to do the right thing. They tend to get along well that way. I would never try to clear customs by myself. It's worth the few hundered dollars to have someone do it and avoid the hassle.
    I'm glad to hear that the Aug 9th, 06 letter doesn't really apply.
    Also, the duty is based on what you paid, not retail value, correct? so it wouldn't be the end of the world.
  21. TetsuKuma

    TetsuKuma Member

    If it did come to pass the dealers would pay, then add it to the cost...
    end result being those of us who buy and use would pay more for another mini. With gas prices climbing almost weekly it will be a moot point sooner than later as the added expense for import fees would certainly be recovered over a few months use.
  22. Legal issues hitting the Minis as well as new tariffs

    As of April 07, we were informed by our customs broker that a 25% tariff was being considered to be imposed on the Minis. We were also informed that this tariff COULD be made retroactive for up to 1 year from the date of import with the bill being the responsibility of the importer alone. My point is here, If you didnt make enough profit on your units to cover the tariff, and were working on a slim margin, you could be in some deep financial dodo.

    The licensing of these vehicles in various states has been fumbled by our variious legislatures and of course as previously stated, they have screwed it up which is no big surprise to anyone. Now I hear that some of the states that allowed licensing are rescinding that decision once again leaving the minis out in left field like a red headed step child.

    The Mini market place in the US has grown dramatically with new people just finding out about them daily. A Junior college in our area is using them instead of the Cushman industrial type vehicles. a Machine shop is using them in their plant. On and on we can go.

    Gentlemen, if you wish to protect your interest and further this industries growth, We all need to band together in an association and spend the money to represent this industry as it should be and stop all the BS from Customs, EPA, DOT, and each state legislature.

    I am retired from an industry that was being pushed around by Federal and State legislators. As soon as we banned together, it was amazing how quickly our voice was heard and how quickly our view point was put into action by legislators.

    It is like the old Fram oil filter commercial---"You can pay me now or You can pay me later!"

    Who is the first to step up to protect our business?:
  23. Wolfman

    Wolfman Member

    I'm all ears, as I have no clue WHERE to start. It would be my goal to get these trucks legal for ON road use at the federal level as well, so we can end this yes/no nonsense.
  24. volkswagen50

    volkswagen50 Member

    I'm more than willing to help, make calls, that sort of thing. I would suggest we start with this Customs flap. We'd need some history first. What other trucks coming in, from where, are subjected to the 25% duty (8704), and what ones come in under 8709.19. So that we can draw a comparison of use. Customs own regulations say that if no specific line in the tarriff schedule fits, then the one closest resembling your item is to be used. That also includes intended usage.

    I would not bother trying to get the trucks street legal at the federal level. It will never happen because of safety issues. The motorcycle arguement, while making sense to us, will not work. There would be no way of assuring that every buyer of the truck through it's lifespan would be acutely aware of it's lack of safety in comparison to autos legaly for sale. The crash test standards will keep this truck off the road legally at the federal level. The 25 year or older loophole for antiques is as far as it will go. Gas crunch or not.
  25. LAZ 1

    LAZ 1 New Member

    You might want to check out the Canadian Association of Vehicle Importers:
    Different country, different governments [ Provincial / Federal ] , different regulations ... similar stupidity
  26. Mini Truck Import Tariff

    I have also been notified by my Customs Broker regarding this "reclassification" . I have been told that a few Brokers have recently involved their respective attorney's to challenge this decision. It appears that the US Customs people were not expecting the intense volume of these Mini "work trucks" and the Customs Import Compliance folks are now attempting to change things...This will put a big damper on dealers and could put many of us out of business....It also sounds to me that it is very possible that it could be imposed without much notice.
    I urge anyone that has any new confirmed information on this potential disaster please share it with us here.
    TRAX and HORNS likes this.
  27. Craktskull

    Craktskull New Member

    WOW.....just joined here and read this thread. Not up to speed here but probably will be in the next couple of weeks......I tend to just compulsively soak up as much info as I can when I find something of interest.

    I feel your plight. I'm an American citizen living in the Philippines since my retirement almost 3 years ago. The 'mini's' - as you call them, are all over the place here, but we also don't have anything near the infrastuctrure to run these things greater than about 80kpm. Safety factors are not a concern. Nor are traffic regulations. While the traffic laws are based on post WWII American occupation standards and have been kept relatively recent, laws here are seen as mostly "a suggestion". No enforcement.....blah, blah, blah.

    Anyway.....the point of this post is this: I'll be more than willing to help out (although I really can't do anything from here except sign a petition or voice my concerns).

    Perhaps someone could create a website with all the pertinent applicable laws and recent rulings (even anectodal histories of past duties). Possibly coordinate all US suppliers (and Canadian) to suggest inclusions in this website and get the word out. I know you have a short timeframe before you're screwed as dealers, so you'd have to work fast.

    I, for one, would hate to see this resource get banned. They're fun to drive, have great fuel economy, easy to maintain, park on a nickel.....etc, etc. They have a niche in American society that cannot be fulfilled by anything else at this time...

    Sorry for the long rant.....rum is cheap in the Philippines
  28. kimmy

    kimmy New Member

    I don't quite understand what is going on..but I can tall you we have paid all import taxes, shipping , and tariff. WHY do they keep wanting more? if you ask me....its all "POLTICAL" !
  29. wade

    wade New Member

    I don't know much except what I have read hear but don't know if I should buy a mini truck or not. I would hate to buy one and then were not able to have them here in the states and not have parts to keep the trucks we have going.
  30. MichTrucks

    MichTrucks Moderator Staff Member

    I don't think they will not be allowed into the US. The talk here is about the change in customs duty being charged on importing them. Parts are parts, and I don't feel you will be seing any problem getting stuff for the trucks. It you currently don't own one I would be thinking that getting one now is going to be cheaper that waiting for the duties to increase. That will be added to what you will be paying in the future.
    That's my thoughts.


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