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livery, and presupposes a knowledge of the rate and basis of duty on whatever commodity is being shipped to the country in question; and this, in turn, must be related to the matter of safe delivery of the goods, as already mentioned. So it will be seen that the type of packing may have to be changed on the same goods when sent to different countries, if the importer is to avoid the necessity of paying a higher amount of duty on the shipment.
When duties are calculated upon the gross weight, which includes the weight of the goods and all packing, both inner and outer, the packing is dutiable at the same rate as the contents and should be as light as is consistent with safe delivery to the consignee. A few of the Latin American countries (Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and Venezuela) assess all specific duties on the gross weight, while certain other areas, notably the various parts of the British Empire, levy all specific duties on the real net weight, not to · include any packing whatsoever.
SEGREGATED COMMODITY-WEIGHT DUTIES
Other countries use the terms “gross weight,” “legal weight,” “net weight," and "legal net weight,” with special definitions of the different weights, as parts of their tariff laws, mentioning the kind of weight to be used in calculating the duty on each item in the tariff subject to specific duties. Then again there are countries, such as Italy, France, and most of the central European areas, which vary the dutiable weight with the height of the duty, goods subject to a low rate of duty being assessed on the gross weight, and those at a higher (specified and fixed) rate on the real net weight of the products. Still others provide specified tare deductions from the full gross weight which vary with the kind of product and the type of packing. Goods that are heavy in relation to packing have a lower percentage of tare deduction, and light goods in heavy packing a higher tare percentage. Goods in sacks have a low deduction, usually doubled if in double sacks, and higher in cases than in crates or baskets. This type of weight is usually termed legal net weight, while the weight of the goods plus the inner packing, such as separate cardboard boxes, excelsior, etc., is called "plain
NET AND LEGAL WEIGHT
There is more variation in the definition of the terms “net” and “legal” weight in Latin American areas, however, than elsewhere. The duty on many classes of goods in Argentina is assessed on a legal-weight basis which assumes a certain percentage of inner packing. If the goods, usually shipped to Argentina with inner wrapping, are sent without these packings, an additional 10 percent is added to the net weight of the goods, to compensate for the loss of revenue, the duties having been fixed on that basis. If the shipper fails to note on his documents the fact that the goods are shipped without customary inner wrappings, there is an additional 10 percent imposed as a fine.
The Swiss tariff is based upon the gross weight of the goods or the net weight plus a specified tare percentage of the net weight, whichever is higher.
SAVINGS THROUGH PROPER PACKING
The experience of an American exporter of soaps and toilet preparations to Brazil will serve as a practical illustration of advantages obtained by a close study of packing in relation to duties. The duties were on a legal-weight (tare-deduction) or gross-weight basis, according to packing. By eliminating practically all of the customary fancy inner packings, the duties
on the goods were materially reduced, and the cartons and other containers needed for retail packaging were sent separately, to be dutiable at the much lower rate applicable to paper, cardboard, and metal boxes.
PACKING AND AD VALOREM DUTIES
Goods dutiable upon an ad valorem basis generally absorb the cost of the packing in their total value except when it is of a kind that is dutiable separately at its own rate, although a number of countries, notably certain of the British colonies, require on the invoice an itemized statement of the costs of packing. For such goods, the cost of the packing rather than its weight must be considered in relation to the duties. This again necessitates a knowledge of the basis of duty in the foreign country, since by lowering the ad valorem cost of the packing the total amount of the duty on the whole shipment is reduced.
The relation of packing to freight charges is in itself a special study that may result in effecting very considerable savings.
PACKING TO MEET CUSTOMER'S NEEDS
A further consideration is the expressed preference of the importer. When he gives instructions regarding the size of packages, the kind of cases, the inner packing, etc., to be used, these instructions should be followed precisely. He knows the weather conditions and the effects of the climate upon the goods and is in a better position to decide such matters than the shipper, often thousands of miles away. Furthermore, he knows the demands of the local customers in regard to the packaging of the goods for retail sale, the transportation and handling facilities, the customs requirements, and disadvantages of certain forms of packing in relation to the duties. He may specify a packing case of a different size from the standard container because the latter is too large to be handled easily by the port machines or labor, or even because he expects to use the case later for an entirely different purpose. A safe rule is to make certain that the quality of the goods is that which has been ordered, and to pack them exactly according to the customer's instructions. If he orders the merchandise to be sent “knocked down,” he probably knows that the freight is based upon the cubic measurements and that the saving in freight will outweigh the labor cost of setting up the article. He may also know that in his country it may be possible to import the knocked-down articles as "parts" at a lower rate of duty.
In many countries there are special requirements as to marking both the outside packing cases and the goods themselves. These requirements vary from country to country, some making no provisions for special markings on either the container or its contents, others demanding that one or both bear certain legends.
MARKS ON ALL GOODS
For years most of the British areas were outstanding in compelling goods to bear an indication of the country of origin, if any marks in English appeared on the goods. Chief of these were, and are, British India and Ceylon, with practically the same requirements
and equally stringent in their application. No goods bearing any English words, not even watermarked sheets of paper, may be imported unless conspicuously marked in specified-sized type on their wrappings and on the articles themselves to show their source. The same regulations are in effect in Aden and in British East Africa, though probably not so strictly enforced. The acceptable legend is “Made in U. S. A.” This may be used in all of the Dominions and colonial areas, and it is found to be a good policy to mark all goods for the British Empire in that way, since practically all of these British areas prohibit anything that can be construed to indicate British origin unless bearing a counter indication of origin. In the case of goods going to the United Kingdom, inquiry should be made concerning the marking of the particular products, since there are special required ways to mark special articles.
MARKS ON SPECIFIED GOODS
With comparatively few exceptions, other countries are not so insistent that imports bear an indication of origin. The more important other countries now requiring marks of origin on some or all imports are France and the French colonies (a wide range of products with special regulations and on all goods under certain conditions), Italy (mainly certain foods), Denmark (certain goods), Norway (varying with the products), Sweden, Switzerland (matches and certain foods and food colors), Argentina (elaborate regulations), and Uruguay (not yet effective). The special regulations for particular commodities in specified areas may be obtained from the Division of Foreign Tariffs, Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, or from the district or cooperative offices of the Bureau, upon application by American firms.
MARKS ON PACKAGES
Correct and distinct markings for the outside containers are absolutely necessary to insure the safe delivery of packages to the foreign destination. They should be indelible in character and clean-cut in outline, applied either with a brush or stencil and indelible ink or paint that will not run or blur from dampness or rubbing, or they may be burnt into the wood. In some countries, Chile for example, marking with a brush is not permitted; it must be applied by stencil.
As already mentioned, it is not considered good practice to note the contents on the packing case or to apply any form of advertising on the outside, primarily because of attracting the attention of possible pilferers to desirable merchandise, and also because it prevents the shipping marks from being readily seen and this impedes the quick location of the goods in the vessel and on the docks.
In some countries, notably in Mexico, the presence of any marks pertaining to goods other than those contained in the particular case in the shipment results in a fine, so that all marks not identifying the goods should be omitted, and the marks shown on cases and documents should agree exactly.
CASE WEIGHTS AND NUMBERS
Many countries, notably certain ones of Latin America, require the gross and/or net weight to be shown along with the other necessary marks, and often the weights must be shown in kilos. Others definitely demand that packages be numbered consecutively and penalize by heavy fines shipments which do not bear consecutive numbers. It is always good practice to number packages, even when not absolutely required, and also to number them consecutively with no repetition of numbers. When two shipments are made to the same destination and consignee within a short period of time so that there is danger of both shipments being on the docks, uncleared, or stored in the warehouse, at the same time, it is advisable to take the precaution to see that the numbers on the two shipments are not the same so as to avoid confusion in clearing or storing the merchandise.
MARKS ON UNWRAPPED GOODS When goods, such as solid rubber tires, are shipped unwrapped, the marks should be stenciled indelibly and conspicuously on some part that can be readily seen. If tires are attached to rims, the marks may be applied with white paint on the inside of the rim. The use of tags on such goods is not favored, not only because the tags may become detached or illegible in shipment, but because it is necessary to turn them over and get down close to them in order to read them. Such articles are put aside until the last in order not to lose time in loading or unloading vessels, where time is always the principal thing to be considered.
BRAZILIAN MARKING REQUIREMENTS As an example of specific marking requirements on packages, those prepared for Brazil should
be marked with stencil, but either stencil or brush may be used. The marks, serial numbers, and address should be on one side of the case, and the gross and net weights (in metric units) on another side; if the manufacturer's name or brand is shown on the outside of the case, it should be on a third side. Bags containing merchandise must be marked on both sides with indelible
ink. Packages making up a single shipment should be numbered consecutively, the repetition of numbers on packages being expressly prohibited and usually penalized. The determination of whether or not there is a repetition of numbers in a shipment, however, depends upon the nature of the packing, so that in a single shipment consisting of 1 barrel, 1 case, and 1 crate, it is permissible to give each the number "1", since no confusion would result. If a shipment consists of 5 barrels, 5 cases, etc., each may be numbered from 6-1” to “5" and the corresponding numbering noted on the consular invoice. However, when a shipment consists of a single type of container, as, for example, boxes or barrels of apples, the numbers must be consecutive and no number may be repeated.
The general rule regarding consecutive numbering is waived for single products imported in lots of 50 or more uniform cases, as gasoline, kerosene, cement, etc. Numbering may also be dispensed with on such goods as girders, tubes, pipes, bars, tees, angles, or other similar articles, or iron, steel, copper, aluminum, or other metal, products and manufactures of glazed earthenware, whether shipped loose or in bundles, always provided they are not packed.