customs duty

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Duty

A tax that a country imposes on its imports and, occasionally, exports. A duty exists to make an import more expensive and to thereby encourage people to buy goods produced in their own country. Proponents of their use argue that duties discourage outsourcing of jobs to other countries and make the country more self-sufficient, but most economists agree that they are economically inefficient and some contend that they may ultimately harm the people they are intended to help. A duty is also called a tariff. See also: WTO, International trade, Globalization.

customs duty

a form of EXPENDITURE TAX which is levied by the government on foreign products imported into the country. Customs duties are used mainly to raise revenue for the government, although they can serve, like TARIFFS, to reduce domestic spending on imports. See IMPORT, CUSTOMS AND EXCISE.

customs duty

a TAX levied on imported products (see IMPORTS). Unlike TARIFFS, customs duties are used primarily as a means of raising revenue for the government rather than as a means of protecting domestic producers from foreign competition. See TAXATION.