Customs Policy and Tariffs

Importing duty-free products with the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill

The Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) serves the purpose of making commercial producers more competitive by facilitating the import of intermediate products that are not available on the domestic market as well as products which can be imported duty-free in accordance with the manufacturer.  The bill includes approximately 2,000 provisions, which limit or suspend customs duties for certain products. This leads to cost reductions for US companies. The MTB is updated annually and limited to a certain period of time. Each provision included in the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill refers to a material or product that can either be imported duty-free or with a limited customs tariff.

Each provision is required to be

1. non-controversial – meaning there is no competing product available on the domestic market.

2. administrable– meaning it has to be clearly formulated and thereby practicable for every customs officer.     

3. The potential loss of duty must remain lower than 500,000 USD.

German companies with headquarters in the US have the opportunity to put forward suggested provisions for the MTB through their respective member of Congress or alternatively through the Committee of Ways and Means in the House of Representatives and the Finance Committee in the Senate. After the deadline for the submission of provisions, the Subcommittee on Trade in the House of Representatives holds an open period for public comment.

As for 2013, there currently is no request for the submission of suggested provisions, since no decision has been made on the MTB of 2012, which is included in the US Job Creation and Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2013.  

All important information as well as the provisional MTB can be found under the following links:

EU and USA sign customs deal

Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) in the EU and members of the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in the U.S. will enjoy lower costs and simplified procedures in their transatlantic activities as a result of a mutual recognition agreement signed on May 4. Companies involved in transatlantic trade will benefit from faster controls and streamlined procedures for customs clearance. This will enable authorities to improve security and better focus on risk areas. The program will start to be implemented from July 1, 2012.

There are currently nearly 5,000 companies approved as Authorized Economic Operators in the EU, approximately 10,000 C-TPAT members operate in the United States.

Please click the links below for more information on how to apply for authorization in Germany and C-TPAT membership in the U.S.

Website of German Customs

Website of US Customs Border Protection

An electronic course which is designed to help companies learn the relevant facts about the new Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) legislation and the process of becoming an AEO is available here.