Did you know that Nepal has a special Trade Preference with the US? Customers in the US can import 77 different kinds of items from Nepal completely duty-free. Did you know that Purnaa's baseball caps are included in this program?
In 2015 Nepal suffered a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which was the largest earthquake in Nepal in over 80 years and caused more than 9,000 deaths. That same year, the US passed a landmark bill called the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, which updated many import rules. In response to the earthquake and as an attempt to boost the economy of Nepal through trade, the US added a section to the bill to establish the Nepal Trade Preference.
So What Does It Mean for Buying Baseball Caps from Nepal?
It's easy. If you are in the US and you purchase any items from Nepal that fall under the Nepal Trade Preference program, these items should be duty-free. Purnaa's new Sublimated Cap offering is included.
How Do I Know which Items Qualify?
In international trade, every product can be categorized with a numeric code, usually called an HS code, short for the Harmonized System of Classifications. The Nepal Trade Preference Program includes 77 different HS codes, which are shown below. These can be looked up at the US Harmonized Tariff Schedule (https://hts.usitc.gov/), where you'll find an "NP" code in the Special column to show that these products are duty-free under the Nepal Trade Preference. The items in the trade preference generally fall into these broad categories...
Many kinds of handbags - 4202-4203
Various carpets - 5701-5705
Scarves and shawls - 6117-6204
Gloves and other accessories - 6216-6217
Hats and other headgear. - 6504-6505
How do I make sure I get Duy-Free Treatment when Importing?
When buying a qualifying product, request your supplier in Nepal to include the proper HS code on each line item of the invoice and packing list and also annotate qualifying items with "NP" to highlight it falls under the trade preference. Make sure your customs broker or courier company is also aware that these products fall under the Trade Preference so that they declare them properly when submitting the clearance forms. US customs should automatically treat these items as duty-free, though you will still need to pay clearing charges to your customs broker or courier company.
Because Nepal is the only country with this special Trade Preference, US customs officials may not be familiar with this program and may still try to charge duties. We have had a few customers who had to pay duties to release their goods because the items were misclassified. When this has happened, the customers were able to apply for and receive a refund.
How Much Does it Save Me? Depending on the material used in the cap, baseball caps have an import duty in the US of 6.8%-8.5% plus up to $0.31/kg. Purnaa's sublimated caps are made with polyester, so they fall under 6505.00.60 and the Trade Preference saves 7% plus $0.20/kg.
Depending on the type and material make-up, other products in the trade preference program have duties ranging from 1.2%-20%. You can look up their specific rates at https://hts.usitc.gov/.
What if I'm not in the US?
While the Nepal Trade Preference program is only applicable for importing to the US, many other countries give duties discounts to Nepali-made goods based on Nepal's status as a Least Developed Country. Each importing country has its own process, so please you'll need to do some research about what programs are in effect and what extra forms you might have to submit to receive any discounts.