International Shipping: Fees & Costs


We saved costs as the last criteria to discuss because, while they may be high, if you pick the right countries and products, your target customers may be happy to pay them for you.


International Shipping Costs to Consider

  • Customs duties, taxes, and fees: You will have to pay some combination of duties, taxes, and fees which are based on a number of factors for most international shipments:
    • Duties: Also called tariffs, customs duties are imposed by most countries on most items entering the country.
    • They vary widely not only by country, but by where the shipment originated, what it contains, its intended use, and its value. Be sure to understand the relevant duties for the countries you are evaluating as targets.
    • Taxes: Many countries charge a Value Added Tax (VAT) or a General Sales Tax (GST)—in addition to customs duties—that can depend on all the same variables applied under a separate set of rules. Be sure to understand how these taxes apply to your products.
    • Fees: Some countries apply separate fees to cover the costs of moving your product through the customs clearance process. The USPS® and all carriers also independently impose their own flat-rate fees—which vary country by country—for facilitating the process.
    • Duty Calculator Available Here
  • Shipping costs: There’s no escaping the fact that international shipping costs are high, especially for heavier items and quicker/more trackable delivery methods. However, as with duties, taxes, and fees, customers may be quite happy to pay them in order to get your product. In the “Optimizing costs” section we provide some select comparisons of various carriers’ costs.

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