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Freight from the USA

Prohibited and Restricted Merchandise in International Shipping

In international shipping-certain merchandise is either prohibited or restricted from entering the commerce of the United States. It can be international shipping QUOTA (For example, absolute quotas establish a specific quantity of merchandise that can enter the United States. After this amount has been entered, no additional amount of these same international shipping articles can enter the commerce of the United States until a new quota amount has been established.); RESTRICTED; PROHIBITED; merchandise produced in a foreign country using CONVICT or FORCED LABOR, etc.

RESTRICTED international shipping merchandise becomes PROHIBITED if it does not meet approval by a specific Government Agency's requirement. (I.e., for Cars - DOT or EPA; Food - Food & Drugs Administration; Electronics - FCC; Alcohol - ATF; Fish & Wildlife, etc.)

As long as an item becomes prohibited, there are 4 (four) choices only:

  1. EXPORT it;
  2. DESTROY it on the Customs supervision or;
  3. PLACE IT INTO A BONDED WAREHOUSE no later than either Confirming the regulation or Exporting or Destroying it.
  4. PLACE IT ON THE FOREIGN ZONE for later. Either Conform to the regulation or Export or Destroy it.

International shipping can be exported in some cases with U.S. government approval only.
Example: Obscene magazines may be exported with U.S. Government approval to a country that is NOT prohibited.

IF RESTRICTED INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING MERCHANDISE IS EXPORTED, ALL DUTIES WILL BE PAID WITHOUT A REQUEST. I.e., customs automatically refunds all duty paid for restricted items exported back after entry.

Examples of international shipping-restricted merchandise:
1. TEST QUESTION: Switchblade international shipping knives are prohibited importation, except if imported for or by a branch of the U.S. Army or entered by an individual for his personal use if that individual has only one arm (a popular test question).
2. International shipping lottery tickets ARE allowed to be moved within the USA but NOT allowed for importation.
3. White phosphor in international shipping matches is prohibited because it becomes explosive if put together.
4. Abortion printed materials in international shipping are legal for printing by some organizations in the USA but NOT allowed for importation.



Some questions on the exam RELATED TO TEXTILE can look like HTS questions. However, THOSE QUESTIONS ARE RELATED TO RESTRICTED OR PROHIBITED MERCHANDISE. Always look at 12.130-132, which are questions related to textiles.

For example, it states:
(2) Contains 50 percent or more by weight of cotton or man-made fibers, or any textile fibers subject to the terms of any textile trade agreement; or
(3) Contains 17 percent or more by weight of wool; or
... Silk does not count, etc.


Miscellaneous for international shipping Prohibited and Restricted Merchandise:

1. See the front page of CFR 12 to see what is restricted.

2. 19CFR 12.26 says: ...wild animals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mollusks, etc. ARE PROHIBITED for international shipping..., but then it designates that a permit is required for the export ...unless there has been issued and presented in connection with entry a proper U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit authorizing the import transaction...

3. In international shipping, only antique articles imported under 10.53 can be entered through specific ports.

4. Foreign Assets control. Controls assets that belong to foreign governments and try to ship them to the USA internationally.

5. Obscene and immoral matter. Seizure; disposition of international shipping seized articles; Prohibited films 12.40 - 41

6. Any internationally shipping merchandise produced in a foreign country using convict or forced labor CANNOT be imported into the United States unless it can be established that it is in the best interest of the United States to allow the importation of such international shipping goods. This can only be done by proving that the production of these articles in the United States does not meet the consumptive needs of the United States.


8. In international shipping, unfair methods of competition or unfair acts in importing merchandise will result in prohibited importation. Immoral articles will be detained, and a sample will be given to the U.S. Attorney for consideration. Immoral international shipping pieces encompass obscene books or reading material, as well as articles advocating treason or insurrection against the United States.

9. Special requirements enforced by Customs are required for international shipping of milk and milk products issued by HEW and for meat and meat products issued by the Department of Agriculture's Meat Inspection Division.

10. Tea importations are subject to the standards of the Tea Act of 1897 and Food and Drug, and the regulations of HEW require a release permit and must be submitted with the international shipping entry.

11. List other internationally shipping articles that may fall under the restricted or prohibited category:

Cheese, Milk, and Dairy Products Fruits,
Vegetables and Nuts
Livestock and Animals
Meat and Meat Products
Plant and Plant Products
Poultry and Poultry Products

Arms, Explosives, and Implements of War
Radioactive Materials
Nuclear Reactors

Household Appliances
Flammable Fabrics

Radiation & Sonic Equipment (medical x-ray, etc.)
Radio Frequency Devices

Biological Drugs
Biological Materials
Narcotic Drugs and Derivatives
Drug Paraphernalia

Gold and Silver
Counterfeit Articles
Monetary Instruments (over $10,000)

Toxic Substances
Hazardous Substances

Textile Products

Trade Names


Foreign Asset Control against Cambodia, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Laos
Obscene and Immoral Matter
Petroleum and Petroleum Products
Products of Convict or Forced Labor
Steel and Machine Tools
Pre-Columbian Items
Cultural Property and Ethnological, Murals, Paintings.
Architecture and Sculptures from Peru, Guatemala, Italy (Roman), Greece, Cyprus, Mali, Bolivia, Cambodia, and Honduras.

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