How to Choose Between DDP and DDU/DAP

Before deciding which party to be responsible for paying duty and tax, you need to understand the meaning of DDP and DDU/DAP, as well as the pros and cons

Before you make your first sale to overseas customer, you’ll need to decide who is responsible for duty and tax. 

What does DDU / DAP mean

Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU): the duty and tax will be paid by the recipient when it arrives in the destination country

What does DDP mean

Delivery Duty Prepaid (DDP): the duty and tax will be paid by the shipper. Spaceship will charge back the shipper when we receive the tax invoice from the appointed carrier. Typically, the cost will be issued in 3 to 4 weeks time after delivery.


DDU is more affordable for sellers. You might be able to win customers at lower prices on your website and eCommerce platforms.

On the other hand, it is important to ensure customer understand their responsibilities to pay duty and tax to avoid troubles.



More affordable for the seller

Customers may be shocked by customs fees

Easier costing computation for sellers

May lead to additional delays

  Customer may refuse to pay the import fee and cause additional return fee to shipper.


DDP provides a much faster and more convenient experience for both parties. 

Because import duties and taxes are hard to determine until your parcel arrives at customs, you will have to get an estimation and review the final cost in the invoice issued. 

Most express courier charge additional service fee for DDP.  You can check additional surcharge

before selecting the carrier.  You may also save the DDP handling fee by standard shipping option like CheckOut Express.



Reduces risk of product abandonment, poor product reviews, customer complaints, and/or return-shipping fees

Couriers can take on customs clearance on your behalf—for a fee. This can be expensive, or be counted as a percentage of the product price

Ensures that your shipment will clear customs and make it to your buyer with better customer experience 

More risk involved for the seller when clearance is delayed, storage is needed, or goods are damaged in transit

Be aware of de minimis value

Most countries set a tax threshold for shipped parcels. A higher tax applies only if a parcel exceeds what’s called the de minimis value. This value impacts how many item and at what product price sellers can ship without tax.

For example, in Unite States, shipments below US$800 are mostly tax-free. 

You can refer to this link for more import information. 

Include DDP fee in your product price

If you choose to offer DDP, you can offset some of the costs by including a portion of tax in the price of a product, and another portion in your shipping fees. This distribution lessens the perceived added impact for customers.  For more information, you can refer to the additional surcharge

Set clear shipping terms

You could collect your DDP fee from the customers, but make sure to tell them why they’re paying more. You could include a note at checkout, on their purchase slip, or in a FAQ section to explain that the added fee ensures safe and timely parcel delivery.

As for DDU, please get your customers’ acknowledgment and consent for those extra fees before processing their orders. They may feel bad about paying extra, but knowing they’re doing business with an honest online seller is reassuring for them.


Last Updated:  21 Feb 2023