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January 17, 2022 / 0 min read - Last updated: October 21, 2022
Section 321 is actually a shorter name for “Section 321(a)(2)(C) of the Tariff Act of 1930,” and is the statute that covers the regulations for importing low-value shipments (LVS) below the United States’ de minimis of $800 USD into the U.S. (including Puerto Rico). A low-value shipment under Section 321 is a type of informal entry that allows streamlined clearance and release of shipments into the U.S. by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), free of duty and tax. The U.S. informal entry threshold is $2500 USD, but Section 321 LVS clearance only applies to shipments that fall below the U.S. de minimis value of $800 USD. Here’s a summary of Section 321 and the $800 de minimis:
Essentially, imports valued at less than or equal to $800 USD clear customs quickly with no duty or tax incurred.
Bottom line – Whether you are a U.S. business importing from abroad, or a non-U.S. business selling internationally and absorbing the landed cost, you can save money and time on imports, giving your business a competitive edge. This high de minimis value can benefit your business and make importing into the U.S. a much smoother, faster, and less daunting process – one can buy a lot for $800! Plus, keep in mind that this $800 is only the cost of goods; it does not include shipping. Leveraging Section 321 by keeping your U.S. imports below $800 can save you a lot of money and time. Here are the benefits:
While you cannot escape all of the fees that accompany international trade, both retailers and shoppers can minimize duties, taxes, fees, and delays by importing and exporting strategically to reap the benefits of the $800 U.S. de minimis.
Like every good thing, Section 321 has some limits to keep in mind, but these are common for most countries’ low-value shipment statutes (or laws).
*Note: The following goods are exempted from this restriction and are eligible for Section 321: Cosmetics, dinnerware, radiation-emitting non-medical devices, biological samples for laboratory testing, food (excluding ackees, pufferfish, raw clams, raw oysters, raw mussels, and foods packed in airtight containers stored at room temperature)
Good news! Normally your carrier will act on your behalf, and clear your goods through customs. Your low-value ecommerce shipments (as long as the items aren’t restricted or dangerous) shouldn’t take much time to clear through customs. Contact your carrier representative for any questions you may have about the Section 321 clearance process. Happy importing!
A never-ending interest in solving international logistics and global trade challenges through IT solutions has allowed me to work with companies to decode cross-border. With a background in IT product management, education, and advanced customs certifications, 'going global' is an obtainable goal for Zonos' retailers.