With the recent natural disasters hitting Japan, many US residents and organizations are donating supplies to the relief efforts. While this is very generous, you must remember that there are guidelines to follow to facilitate the movement of goods. The US Census Bureau has provided guidance that applies to any goods not requiring a license, such as food, clothing and medicines.
There are four Schedule B numbers that can be used when exporting humanitarian goods, in Chapter 98 under subheading 9802:
9802.10.0000 Food products
9802.20.0000 Medicinal and pharmaceutical products
9802.30.0000 Wearing apparel (including footwear and headwear)
9802.40.0000 Donated articles, not elsewhere specified
Remember that any shipment valued over $2,500 per Schedule B number or that requires a license has to be filed in the Automated Export System (AES). There are a couple of ways to file your export information – through a forwarder or agent or through AESDirect, the Census Bureau’s free online filing system.
If you are not exporting but instead planning to import from Japan, see this blog post for current protocol for handling imports with respect to radiation concerns.