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Prohibited and Restricted Merchandise in International Shipping

In respect of 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 become PROHIBITED if it does not meet to approval by a certain Government Agency's requirement. (I.e. for Cars - DOT or EPA; Food - Food & Drugs Administration; Electronics - FCC; Alcohol - ATF; Fish & Wild life etc.)

As long as an item became 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 to later then either: Conform to the regulation or Export or Destroy it.
  4. PLACE IT ON FOREIGN ZONE to later then either: Conform to the regulation or Export or Destroy it.

EXPORT of international shipping can be done in some cases with U.S. Government approval only.
Example: Obscene magazines may be exported with U.S. Government approval to a country where it is NOT prohibited.

IF RESTRICTED INTERNATIONALLY SHIPPING MERCHANDISE IS EXPORTING THEN ALL DUTY WILL BE PAID WITHOUT A REQUEST. I.e. Customs automatically refunds all duty paid for restricted items, which are exporting back after its entry.

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



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

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 requires 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 antique articles imported under 10.53 can be entered trough certain ports only.

4. Foreign Assets control. Controls assets that belongs to foreign governments and trying to be international shippied to the USA.

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 to the best interest of the United States to allow importation of such international shipping goods. This can only be done by proving that the production in the United States of these articles does not meet the consumptive needs of the United States.


8. In international shipping unfair methods of competition or unfair acts in the importation of merchandise will result in a prohibited importation. Immoral articles will be detained and a sample given to the U.S. Attorney for his consideration. Immoral internationally shipping articles 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 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 as well as Food and Drug, and a release permit is required by the regulations of HEW and must be submitted with the international shipping entry.

11. List other internationally shipping articles which 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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