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Exporting & Importing Goods/USA Import of Goods for Purpose of Repair from Goods Previously Exported to Germany


We have been having problems getting our products that need to be repaired back into the USA duty-free.  

We previously sold a Germany company a product with a HTS#901190000, duties and taxes were paid at that time.  The German customer needs our product to be repaired (we are repairing it free of charge & it doesn't improve the product, just puts it back to a working state), so they are trying to ship it back to us in the USA.  The problem is we do not know what HS code to give them to receive duty-free entry into the USA for us to repair it.  We used to use the code of 9801001012 but that apparently is a HTS code only and will not work in Germany.  The HS Codes do not have a chapter 98.

Do you know how to get previously exported items back into the USA from Germany for repair without being charged duties and taxes?

ANSWER: Hi Stacy,

I want to be sure I have this correct.  The item was made here in the United States and Germany is shipping to your company for repair and return?  The HTS for that would be 9801.00.1012 upon import into the U.S.  For the return to Germany they should be able to use 9802.00.4040 to indicate they exported it for repair and return and then also the 9011.90. number to identify the item itself.  I can only speak for import into our country but there needs to be some value assigned on the repair, however small and they should only pay duty on the repair value.  That is how it works in our country.

If you need further assistance with this please let me know.

Best regards,

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QUESTION: Hi Lisa, thank you for your response.  

The item was made here in the United States and Germany is shipping to our company for repair.

I agree that the HTS says to use a 9801.00.1012 for return shipments that need to be repaired.  The problem is my Germany customers are saying they can not use that code, that whatever common carrier (UPS, DHL, Fedex, TNT) they use will not except it.  You can also see in the HS code (world version) that there is no chapter 98.  So I guess I am looking for what HS code to use?


Hi Stacy,

For the return to the U.S. that code is the right code, period.  If their carrier refuses to use it tell them that you will clear via another broker.  Now, when it goes back to Germany I suggest you use a regular freight forwarder, not a courier.

This website only gives us 2 or 2 back and forth answers to each other.  Can you please start a new message to me in "private" mode?  I'll give you my contact info and we'll get this straightened out.


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Lisa Madrid


I have over 20 years of experience in import transportation and customs clearance. I am not able to answer export related questions but can assist with imports into the United States.


I have been a licensed Customs Broker since 1996 and have been working for the freight forwarding industry for 24 years. I currently have my own business as an import consultant offering advice to importers in area of Customs regulatory compliance and am partnered with several prominent Customs attorneys.

CCBFA (Chicago Customs brokers and Forwarders Association) OWIT (Organization of Women in International Trade) ITAGC (International Trade Association of Greater Chicago)

Licensed as Customs Broker, issued 1996 NCBFAA Certified Customs Specialist

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