Many kinds of goods imported for commercial use may be subject to a quota limit. It is the classification number of the article as identified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States and the country of origin that determine whether or not an item is subject to quota requirements.
In some cases, the quota is absolute, meaning that once the quota is filled – because the quota has reached its limit for that particular period of time – no additional quantities of that item may be imported until the next open period. Such merchandise must be warehoused or exported. Other quotas are tariff-related, which means that a certain quantity of goods may enter at a low rate of duty, but once that threshold is reached – during a specified period of time – a higher duty rate will be assessed for any additional quantities of that particular imported good. Unlimited quantities of some merchandise subject to tariff-rate quota may, however, enter at over the quota rates.
If you are importing goods for commercial use or resale, it’s a good idea to contact your local port of entry for more specific information.
Fill levels for quotas are currently posted on the CBP Electronic Bulletin Board in the file called Quota Threshold Status. Fill levels for textile items can be found in the Quota section of Importing/Exporting.
The Quota program is generally applied only to commercial importations. While the importation of many goods imported under “personal use” quantities are not affected by quota restrictions, there is one exception; made-to-measure suits made in Hong Kong, which are restricted for both personal and commercial use.