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As of 12:01 a.m. Monday, thousands of cargo containers stacked on ships bound for the U.S. and pallets of Chinese products loaded into the cargo holds of airplanes just got more expensive.
The 10-percent levy on the declared value of goods U.S. importers buy from Chinese suppliers will add new complications, along with higher costs, as buyers and sellers across trans-Pacific supply chains complete the nuts-and-bolts of how and when the new tariffs are handled.
Customs brokers said they were working overtime in the days leading up to the new tariff deadline, filing entry paperwork for shipments from China and hoping those electronic filings would be processed before the midnight cutoff.
“This is all done electronically and has been for years,” said Marianne Rowden, president of the American Association of Exporters and Importers. Once the tariffs go into effect, the funds are withdrawn directly from the importer’s bank account as soon as the products enter U.S. commerce.
Customs broker A.N. Deringer Inc. handles the duty payments for many of its customers via electronic transfer and bills the importers later. But it has been encouraging its customers to set up their own transfer accounts with U.S. Customs so the broker doesn’t have to front the funds.
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