Customs is a term used in international shipping referring to the duties, fees or taxes charged on items being shipped from one country to another. Costs can vary depending on the location and whether the shipment is an import or export.
Either the seller or the buyer of the shipment must pay customs duties, fees or taxes. Most of the time, the party responsible for payment is prearranged in the shipper and receiver’s terms of sale. Terms will typically require the buyer of the shipment to pay. This is called Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU).
If a shipment is DDU, the buyer pays any applicable customs duties, fees or taxes when the shipment arrives at customs, and before the shipment can be delivered. However, if the shipment is designated Delivery Duty Paid (DDP), the seller then must pay. Typically, merchants ship DDP and pass the up-front cost to the consumer. In some cases, there are no duty fees depending on the location of the shipment.
Inaccurate descriptions of shipped goods can result in customs delays or unexpected charges. Be sure your description is thorough and accurate, and use correct harmonized tariff codes.