Importing furniture to the United States is relatively easy. Duties are low or free; your biggest cost by far will be shipping. Regardless, be sure to declare whatever you are importing and provide a detailed description, as this will help the customs officials and thus speed up the customs process.
Duties on Furniture
Most furniture can be imported to the U.S. duty free, including seats, tables, beds, desks and shelves of any standard material. Furniture made from endangered plants or upholstered with endangered animals is illegal and therefore prohibited, except in certain cases where special permission is obtained prior to importing.
Duties on Bedding
Mattresses will be assessed at 3% if they are made with rubber, plastic or cotton, and a 6% duty if they are made from other materials, unless they are from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, Peru or Singapore, in which case there is no duty. Pillows and cushions made from cotton are assessed a 5.3% duty, or 6% if made from other materials, unless they are from any country previously listed, excluding Morocco (2.3%) or Australia (3%). Quilts, comforters and similar items carry a 12.8% duty, though they are duty free if imported from any country previously listed excluding Australia (3%) and Morocco (5.7%).
U.S. Trade Regime
The United States has a liberalized trade regime designed to make business transactions fast and easy. U.S. companies and representatives have been championing this model around the world for decades, pushing for free trade agreements and pressuring its trading partners to reform their business laws. As a result, the United States has very low duties for most product categories, and almost no duties for products coming from trading partners with special status.
Calla Hummel is a doctoral student studying contraband in international political economy. She supplements her student stipend by writing about personal finance and working as a consultant, as well as hoping that her investments will pan out.