How Do I Value My Products for International Shipping?

Customs clearance is an important aspect of international shipping. All shipments moving through customs need to be properly documented and labeled, one of the most important factors is the product’s declared value. This is the what the shipper determines the goods are worth.  

Declared value is important because it is used to calculate taxes and duties. All shipments will go through customs valuation when being imported, this is the process that customs takes to determine the value of the goods, thus the import fees that will be applied. Declared value is an important part of customs valuation.  

Many ecommerce brands may not know how to value their products properly for customs clearance. But assigning the correct value to your products is critical. Any missing or incorrect information will result in fines or held shipments.  

Understanding the best way to value your products, common issues to avoid, and how to properly label your shipments will ensure smooth customs clearance.  

How is Declared Value Calculated for Customs Clearance  

As you fill out your commercial invoice and other customs documentation, it’s important to properly assign a declared value.  

The basic approach to calculating declared value is to use the price of goods actually paid by the shipper. If this price is not known, use the following methods of customs valuation.  

According to the World Trade Organization (WTO) every country must use one of the following approved methods of customs valuation.  

  • Transaction value—the price that is actually paid by the importer, plus any other costs or expenses incurred.  
  • Transaction value of identical goods—apply the value of goods that are identical and being imported by the same producer into the same country.  
  • Transaction value of similar goods—apply the value of goods that function similarly and are made in the same country, being imported to the same country.  
  • Deductive value—based on the unit price which the goods are sold in the country of import.  
  • Computed value—based on the aggregate cost of producing the goods (this is a very rare method).  
  • Fall-back method—if no other method can be used, customs will use any available data to determine a value.