Tariff vs. customs vs. duty

Discussion in 'English Only' started by jokaec, Apr 21, 2017 at 1:50 PM.

  1. jokaec Senior Member

    Chinese - Hong Kong
    Because the increasing unfavorable balance of trade, the president decided to raise "tariff" or "customs" or "duty" to eliminate trade imbalance.


    Are they all correct? If so, which is best in this situation? Thank you. I can find the similar posts in this forum, but those posts are closed, so I posted this new question.
     
  2. Retired-teacher Senior Member

    British English
    "Customs" is wrong in this context. "Tariffs" is probably right as these are charges imposed on importers. "Duties" are taxes imposed on makers of certain products.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017 at 4:51 PM
  3. jokaec Senior Member

    Chinese - Hong Kong
    Thank you Retired Teacher.
    In this case, it looks like only “tarrif” is correct in my context. Am I right?
     
  4. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    By "raise" do you mean "increase" or "create"? "Raise a tax" could mean either.

    From the OED:

    Raise meaning 27a. To levy (a tax, etc.); to collect (a rent, a tax, etc.); to obtain, come by, make (money, profit, etc.). Also with †on (a person).
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017 at 6:18 PM
  5. jokaec Senior Member

    Chinese - Hong Kong
    I meant "increase". As far as I understand, a higher tariff is equal to more duties when talking about importing products. Why am I wrong?
     
  6. Retired-teacher Senior Member

    British English
    You aren't wrong. Tariff is the right word to use for a charge on something imported.

    (You may have heard in the news lots of discussion about whether Britain can get tariff-free access to Europe after Brexit.)
     
  7. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    The President decided to increase tariffs.
    The President decided to increase duty.
    The President decided to increase Customs duty.

    These all sound fine to me - and I work for HMRC!
     
  8. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    But they don't all mean the same. Tariffs are applied only to imports, whereas duty may be applied to all examples of a particular type of product. Your employers charge excise duty on alcohol - that's not a tariff.
     
  9. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    The word "tariff" can apply to excise duty, at least in Australia. EXCISE TARIFF ACT 1921

    I am sure it is possible to manipulate excise duty to favour domestic produce!
     
  10. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    Well, you're in the right place to know. ;)
     
  11. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    A tariff is a list of any type of charges levied on or for something - usually, but not always, related to taxation (especially of imports.)
    A duty is a tax imposed on any goods regardless of origin and which is unavoidable (legally) and cannot be reclaimed by a business other than by exporting the item. It also differs from "tax" as it is not imposed on people and is specific as to what it targets.
     
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