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    Ordering judo gear from overseas

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    Cichorei Kano

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    Ordering judo gear from overseas

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Thu May 08, 2014 8:51 pm

    Regularly people inquire on this forum about ordering internationally. I have warned for this many times as depending on the country it can become a nightmare. I have ordered judo stuff from Japan to the US or to the UK, no problem, usually arrives within 3 days delivered at your home as easy as it can get. Some places it can get a lot worse. Here's an account of a recent order for a belt for student who is expected to and hopefully will this weekend pass an exam for rokudan.

    The order was placed with the Kôdôkan shop well in advance. Destination was the EC. Ordering and processing at the Kôdôkan Internet shop was straightforward and efficient. They got promptly back to check with the embroidering and I provided the name both in Western script as well as the correct reading in katakana. Because the person has a relatively long name the embroidering kind of skyrocketed the costs for the belt which were approximately 98 euros or $137, shipping not included. Shipping was another 52 euros or $73 for express delivery using EMS.

    The belt was finished earlier than expected and they informed me of pending shipping and I received tracking information the next day.  

    The tracking information shows it took just 2 days to make from Tokyo to the country of destination. Still pretty efficient, the Japanese, when it comes to that. Then the local bureaucracy started. The belt was then stuck in customs for not less than 3 days. It left the next day to the post office. Then was processed in the post office only the day after early in the morning, but the post-office decided to keep it nevertheless to the day after before sending it out for distribution. So, all in all about 9 days ... 2 days from Japan to the country of destination, and 7 days in local to cover the 25 km (16 miles) between the international airport entry where customs are and my city. Customs then decided to add another 42 euros ($59) on top for import taxes and administrative processing. I inquired with them and the upper limit of costs (costs of the item + shipping costs included) that they will let pass without levying import taxes is 25 euros or $35. Probably won't apply to many goods which someone orders internationally. I also asked them why when I travel by plane I am allowed to import something like 150 ($209) or 200 euros ($279) of goods bought abroad for free, but why this amount is only 25 euros or $35 ?  They told me they had no idea.

    So to give you an idea, the costs of the belt in total amounted to something like 190 euros ($265): about 98 euros ($137) for the belt, about 52 euros ($73) in shipping costs, and about 42 euros ($59) in customs costs and yes, the 42 euros ($59) are not charged just on the actual of costs for the belt but on the costs for the belt AND on the shipping costs. So you basically also pay taxes on the stamps and wrapper.

    So here you have an exact and detailed true example, not just a polished version from a company or seller. This is just for a belt. If it were a gi, import taxes would have been way higher and so would be shipping due to the weight. Also note that despite express delivery it still took 10 days even though the international trip took only 2 days and it was on a nonstop flight without any further need to be transferred to a connecting or domestic flight. So, it's as straightforward as international transport can possibly get.

    Is there a way to avoid this ?  Yes, there are three ways to avoid this:

    1. Have it brought with by someone who travels in person from Japan to your country. He could take much more without being submitted to taxes since they appear to apply different maximal allowable tax-free imported goods.
    2. Have it transported to a friend in a neighboring country also within the EC that does not apply the same rules and that does not stop packages with goods of limited costs and have it then send to you by him/her. The second shipment then comes from within the EC and no taxes will be levied to that, making the double shipment cheaper and likely quicker than the direct international shipment to your address.
    3 Instead of having it shipped by post, pay extra for having it shipped by DHL or FedEx. For reasons unknown to me, packages that are transported by these companies somehow are treated differently. Perhaps this is because they use their own dedicated customs service and these people actually have a brain, I do not know. I have had several shipments by these courier companies to the same country and not a single one was taxed. Conversely, every single shipment I have received by post from outside of the EC has been taxed, UNLESS the piece is so small that it can fit within padded envelope and is likely considered as just 'mail'. In any case, despite the extra costs for FedEx or DHL, it often turns out cheaper because as you can seen the import taxes that were charged to me when using ordinary or express mail were roughly one third of the total price.

    And of course customs also opened the package to inspect it manually. You would think that these days they have scanners and narcotics dogs for automated processing of small innocent packages like this and would only need to actually open those that trigger an alarm, right ? Nope, not here. It is still done the exact same way as when I for the first time I ordered a gi by mail directly from Japan I think back in 1992. At that time I was so stupid to think that it would be cheaper than ordering it through a specialized jûdô shop in France which was one of the few that in the 1970s and 1980s would carry true Japanese gi.

    Anyhow, good luck, be warned.


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    Jihef

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    Re: Ordering judo gear from overseas

    Post by Jihef on Fri May 09, 2014 12:41 am

    CK, I feel your pain.
    The same exact thing happened to me a couple of years ago.
    Embroidered (Gift) belt, also from the KDK shop… embroidery & delivery no problem, but just like you, I had to go and get it myself, just to have to pay some taxes at the Post Office…
    banghead 
    Next time, I will ask someone in Japan, and have it FedExed or DHL to me…


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    Julia rodriguez

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    Join date : 2014-05-14
    Location : USA

    Re: Ordering judo gear from overseas

    Post by Julia rodriguez on Wed May 14, 2014 2:09 am

    Guys try this site. I personally use this site for online ordering of judo equipments and never face any trouble. I hope you will also enjoy this site http://www.greenhillsport.com.
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Ordering judo gear from overseas

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Thu May 15, 2014 1:53 am

    Julia rodriguez wrote:Guys try this site. I personally use this site for online ordering of judo equipments and never face any trouble. I hope you will also enjoy this site http://www.greenhillsport.com.

    You are missing the point. The issues raised here have nothing to do with the shop, person or manufacturer selling the material, but with the customs, and how strictly they apply customs law.
    Secondly, of course that YOU are not facing any trouble. You ARE NOT in the EC, but in the US, which is exactly the point !  The value that you are allowed to import tax-free depends on the country and also is not the same for the US as it is for the EC. In the US that value is also different for visitors and residents/citizens, but that differentiation is obviously not made when importing something by mail, only when importing as a traveler.

    US customs do not stop ordinary international shipments by post or EMS, and most countries in the EC do not either. For example, the UK doesn't, and the Netherlands don't either. But some do. And if you reside in one of these countries, or don't reside but nevertheless as destination elect one of these countries, then you are screwed as I described. I assure you that EC customs that stop material from Japan also stop material from the US or from any other country outside of the US. In other words, the point you raise is moot.


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    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."
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    NBK

    Posts : 1128
    Join date : 2013-01-10
    Location : Tokyo, Japan

    Re: Ordering judo gear from overseas

    Post by NBK on Thu May 15, 2014 1:58 am

    The European obi makers, underwater basket weavers, and other dying industries are so happy they are protected by a bureaucracy several times larger and more expensive than themselves!

    NBK

    Taijutsuka

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    Join date : 2015-01-23

    Re: Ordering judo gear from overseas

    Post by Taijutsuka on Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:43 pm

    Cichorei Kano wrote:US customs do not stop ordinary international shipments by post or EMS, and most countries in the EC do not either. For example, the UK doesn't, and the Netherlands don't either. But some do. And if you reside in one of these countries, or don't reside but nevertheless as destination elect one of these countries, then you are screwed as I described. I assure you that EC customs that stop material from Japan also stop material from the US or from any other country outside of the US. In other words, the point you raise is moot.

    I know I'm bumping an old thread but I thought it best to do so here with the information everyone else has provided as well.

    I wanted to add that in the UK they do indeed stop packages. I ordered dôgi trousers from Isami and I had to pay not only taxes but fees that were more than the tax account, because the Royal Mail did me the 'courtesy' of paying customs before charging me. (So bureaucrats are making money off of transferring money between government departments, as usual.)

    Better still, the idiots at customs misread the shipping label to double the price. I submitted an appeal, the postage of which cost a few pounds in itself...

    Next time I order budo equipment from Japan, I'm having it sent to America.

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