Imported Face Masks Change their Tariff Code

It seems like ages ago when I offered advice about how to import N95 masks in this blog. The advice was prepared in response to members’ requests because they were importing masks in the early stages of Covid-19.

That column relied on government interpretations to announce a tariff code for importing masks, and it provided guidance on the application of China-specific import tariffs, as well. All of the codes came from the HTSUS, or the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

The blog article directed members to tariff code 6307.90.9889. At the time it was published it was the right tariff code. Just seven short months later (or perhaps not so short) that tariff code is not only wrong – it no longer exists.

Unbelievably, we are on revision twenty-seven of the 2020 HTSUS. Our prior code for masks, 6307.90.9889 appears to have been terminated as of July 1, 2020.

So what is the new code? Tariff code 6307.90.98xx from the HTSUS applies to “Other made up articles, … face masks”  This was the correct eight-character code for N95 masks when the earlier article was published and remains the correct eight-digit code.  The issue we face is in identifying the correct ninth and tenth digits in the tariff code (for statistical reporting purposes).  

Change twenty seven to the 2020 HTSUS now quotes four tariff codes under the general rubric of face masks:

  • 6307.90.9845 – N95 respirators 
  • 6307.90.9850 – Other respirators 
  • 6307.90.9870 – Other face masks: Disposable
  • 6307.90.9875 – Other face masks:Other

Note that the statistical reporting numbers (the last two digits) are different for each of these line items.

This illustrates an important feature of legal compliance: the rules change. And it is incumbent on us to make sure we continue to comply with the new rules, even after they have changed.

About Jason Dickstein
Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. Since 1992, he has represented aviation trade associations and businesses that include aircraft and aircraft parts manufacturers, distributors, and repair stations, as well as both commercial and private operators. Blog content published by Mr. Dickstein is not legal advice; and may not reflect all possible fact patterns. Readers should exercise care when applying information from blog articles to their own fact patterns.

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