In addition to duty and excise tax, imports to the United States are subject to ‘user fees.’ These fees depend on the mode of transport (sea, air, rail, road) and the type of entry (formal vs. informal). HMF is one of these ‘user fees.’
What is HMF?
HMF stands for Harbor Maintenance Fee and is collected by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for shipments imported via ocean.
Why was HMF created?
The HMF fee was created as a result of the Water Resource Act of 1986, established to share the cost for the construction of harbors, inland waterway transport, and flood-control projects. This set of rules became the basis of this ‘Customs Charge.’
When is HMF charged?
HMF is collected on imports, domestic shipments, Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) admissions, and passengers on cruise ships.
How is HMF calculated?
The fee is based on value of the shipment. HMF takes up 0.125% of the value of cargo declared on the Commercial Invoice of goods imported via ocean. HMF does not have a minimum or maximum amount of charge.
How can I avoid HMF charges?
HMF is assessed for dutiable and duty-free products, so it's nearly impossible to avoid. However, when you’re transporting your shipment via ocean to a Canadian port through Canada and into the United States, your shipment will not be subject to HMF fees.
What is MPF?
MPF stands for Merchandise Processing Fee and is implemented by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) services for most imports into the U.S. through all modes of transport. This is imposed to offset salary-related expenses, as well as other fees incurred during the processing of imports, and release of merchandise into the United States.
How is MPF calculated?
MPF is calculated at 0.3464%. The minimum amount is $26.22, with a maximum amount of $508.70. The fee is based on the value of the merchandise being imported, not including duty, freight, and insurance charges.
For informal entries (imported via mail), MPF is a set fee, which ranges between $2 to $9 per shipment.
Can MPF fees be avoided?
You can be considered MPF- exempt if your import meets ‘preferential status’ under almost all U.S. trade programs and deals.
Exempt from MPF:
- African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)
- Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA)
- Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA)
- Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR)
- Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
- North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)- now USMCA
- Australia Free Trade Agreement (AUFTA)
- Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (BHFTA)
- Chile Free Trade Agreement (CLFTA)
- Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (COTPA)
- Israel Free Trade Area Agreement (ILFTA)
- Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS)
- Oman Free Trade Agreement (OMFTA)
- Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (PATPA)
- Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PETPA)
- Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SGFTA)
Not Exempt from MPF
- Jordan Free Trade Area Agreement (JOFTA)
- Morocco Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA)