Import Taxes are a Tool of Lobbyists and Politicians
The Harmonized Tariff Code is a list of import taxes (a.k.a. duties or tariffs) based on extremely detailed product classifications and countries of origin. It is literally thousands of pages long. If you ever look through it (a great cure for insomnia), it becomes obvious that every bit of it has been negotiated by lobbyists and politicians. Here’s just one of the 99 chapters for your reading pleasure.
This could easily be simplified and de-politicized.
If the Harmonized Tariff Code were eliminated and replaced with a flat 5% import tariff on all goods, that would raise $135 billion a year, which is nearly $100 billion more than is currently raised with the complex HTC. It would also significantly cut down on paperwork and wasted time. Some US importers would end up paying more than they do now, but worst case, it would only be a 5% increase. Other US importers would end up paying less than they do now. However, most importers would love a simple system that is fair to all, which a flat 5% tariff system certainly would be.