Duties & Taxes

When transporting goods across international borders, shipments are subject to duties and taxes as determined by customs in the destination country. A shipment must go through an import procedure as determined by custom’s law in the destination country whether if it’s a gift or not.

The shipment is cleared through customs based on the origin country, the value and quantity, but not its purpose. Dutiable shipments are subject to a customs duty, which is a tariff or tax imposed on goods when transported across international borders. The calculation of duties depends on the assessable value of a dutiable shipment. For the purpose of this calculation, dutiable goods are given a classification code that is known as the Harmonized System code.

This system has been assigned by the World Customs Organization and continues to evolve.


This is a Latin term and is a shortened version of the expression “de minimis non curat lex” meaning “the law does not care about very small matters.”

It is often considered more efficient to waive very small amounts of duties and taxes rather than collect them.


DHL Express is the international specialist in shipping, with extensive knowledge and experience of dealing with customs topics worldwide. For your peace of mind, we provide a wide range of customs support for standard as well as non-routine customs-clearance processes. By making sure that clearance is a smooth and efficient process, we ensure your shipments arrive as quickly as possible, and leave you free to focus on your core business. We have prepared an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document to aid you in your understanding of customs clearance process.

Click here for the FAQ.


The often-changing, diverse trade regulations and requirements around the world create complexities and challenges in shipping. DHL Trade Automation Services provide detailed and streamlined visibility to critical trade information. We enable businesses – from small start-ups to large, multi-national enterprises – to effortlessly navigate through the international trade process and increase regulatory compliance. With access to millions of trade rules, DHL Trade Automation Services provide the information you need to ensure complete and accurate customs paperwork; landed cost estimates; and efficient transit of your goods.



“Incoterms” is a trademark of the International Chamber of Commerce Incoterms® rules and trade terms are recognizes and accepted as the standard for international trading and are regularly updated as commercial conditions change.

Familiarity with Incoterms® rules will ensure you purchase goods from manufacturers abroad in accordance with applicable regulations, documentation and procedures.

You can read more about global Incoterms® rules and trade terms by visiting the International Chamber of Commerce website, which includes an FAQ and an explanation of Incoterms® rules.


DHL Express has been a global expert in international trade for well over 40 years and now processes several million customs entries every day. As one of the world’s largest customs brokers, we use local expertise to understand diverse customs regulations.

That’s why, with DHL as a partner for your small business, its in-house experts are well positioned to help you navigate the complexities of customs compliance and all of the related terminology and guidelines. Understanding the processes and terminology involved will help you enter markets and build a long-term foundation for successful international trade.


The most important thing to know about exporting is that no business is too small to develop a base of international customers. The opportunities for growth through export are significant: International Enterprise Singapore reports that the country’s non-oil domestic exports grew by 23% in 2010. The following guides offer the information you need to join other business owners like you who are earning money in the global marketplace.

Exports play a key role in every country’s strategy for sustainable economic stability and growth. Businesses of any size can take advantage of the revenue-generating potential that export activity offers. The following resources support your company’s participation in this profitable area of the global economy.


Imports serve two important purposes. In addition to satisfying the global consumer’s appetite for goods not manufactured domestically, they provide domestic businesses with raw or partially finished materials needed to produce merchandise for re-export. Businesses of any size can take advantage of the revenue-generating potential that import activity offers. The following resources support your company’s participation in this profitable area of the global economy.