One of my clients just imported a Juyo I sent him in Germany. As per all the previous messages I wrote on this, it was declared at 9706.00.00 (antiques more than 100 years).
In all countries this qualifies for duty free. In some countries like the UK it also qualifies straight out for reduced VAT rates of 5% instead of 20%. Lucky.
The customs broker changed this one during processing to 9705.00.00.90.3 and I changed it back. But it seems for Germany, if the item is a significant historical specimen this code is appropriate and triggers the reduced VAT rate from 19% to 7%. So after I changed it back to 9706 it was changed again to 9705.00.00.90.3
This title is:
US Hs Code - 9705 : Collections & collectors' pieces of zoological, botanical, mineralogical, anatomical, historical, archaeological, palaeontological, ethnographic or
And is one of the three slots you can place a sword. (One is 9307 I think... swords and bayonets)
I thought 9705 was the best code to use for gendai or shinsakuto since they qualify as ethnographic works of art (since sword smiths are licensed by the Ministry of Education and embody transmission of a traditional art).
That makes shinsakuto duty free, but say a Japanese style sword made in China will not be duty free, it falls under 9307.
If you are in Europe it pays to be in touch with customs and find out if one of these codes improves your tax situation as you could use either the 9705 or 9706 section to declare an antique Japanese sword. Probably if it is of significant value or Juyo in a place like Germany then there is an easier argument to be made that it is actually a significant artwork.
The way this code works...
9705 is the heading.
00.00 is the subheading (for all).
After this is a type code indicting the material. My client said his passed in type .90.3 but there is no such subsection in US code. I think the subsections could be country dependent. In the USA it would be 9705.00.00.91 (the 91 meaning "Other" ... if it were gold menuki it would be 9705.00.00.30 for gold).
Anyway just a tidbit that may be worth a few thousand dollars to European collectors.
Canada has no reduced VAT (HST) exception and no VAT in the USA of course (yet!!!!)