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Unlocking the Mystery: Understanding and Using Harmonized System (HS) Codes

What is HS Code?

The Harmonized System (HS) is a product classification system developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO), which was created in 1995 to help countries around the world classify imported goods. The goal of this system is to make it easier for customs officials and other government agencies to track shipments across borders, as well as for businesses that trade internationally.

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HS Codes are used by governments and businesses alike when importing or exporting products across international borders. They’re also useful if you want to know what kind of material your product contains–for example, whether it has wool in it or not–and if so, how much wool was used in its manufacture.


What is the Purpose of an HS Code?

 The purpose of an HS Code is to classify goods for international trade. The United Nations maintains a list of all of the codes and their descriptions, which can be found here. The main way that countries use HS Codes is to calculate tariffs on imported goods. A tariff is essentially a tax placed on imports by governments as a way to raise revenue for government programs or provide protection for domestic industries against foreign competition (tariffs are often controversial).


What are the Different Types of HS Codes?

 There are three types of Harmonized System codes:

  • The Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) is a system created by the United Nations, which uses four-digit numbers to classify goods by commodity type. This classification system was developed in 1968 and has been updated several times since then. It’s used primarily for statistical purposes, but it can also be helpful when you’re trying to find information about your product or service in general trade statistics. For example, if you want to know how much money was spent on coffee worldwide last year, you can look up “coffee” under SITC code 0901902050–and there will be some data available!
  • Combined Nomenclature codes are used for legal purposes; they’re part of European Union law that requires all member states’ customs administrations (and those outside Europe who trade with them) follow the same rules when classifying goods into categories based on their use or purpose before being imported into any country within its borders.


What is the Structure of an HS Code?

The structure of an HS Code is as follows:

The first two digits are a country code, which is the country or territory where the product was produced. This can be used to determine whether a product has been imported into another country and then exported back out again. For example, if you had an item made in Canada and then sold it in the United States, your customer would need to pay import taxes on that item because it was made outside of America’s borders (and therefore classified under “99999”). However if you bought something from China and then resold it in Canada without declaring its origin first (which would make sense given how far away China is), then there would be no duty imposed upon yourself or anyone else involved with this transaction because both countries share similar codes: 9999999999


What is the Difference Between Harmonized System (HS) Codes and Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) Codes?

The scope of HS Codes is much broader than that of SITC Codes. HS Codes are used to classify goods by their nature, rather than their use or destination. They are also used to identify the country of origin for each product.

In contrast, SITC Codes are only used for statistical purposes and do not provide any information about a product’s nature or origin.


What is the Difference Between Harmonized System (HS) Codes and Combined Nomenclature (CN) Codes?

  • The Scope of HS Codes

HS codes are used to classify goods for international trade. They’re also known as the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, or simply the “Harmonized System.” This system was developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in an effort to streamline global trade and make it easier for businesses to comply with customs regulations.

  • The Scope of CN Codes

CN codes are used to classify goods for domestic consumption within a country’s borders. They’re also known as the Combined Nomenclature (CN). This system was developed by the European Union (EU) in an effort to streamline intra-European Union trade and make it easier for businesses within member states to comply with national laws regarding product labeling requirements, taxes on imported goods, etcetera.


What is the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS)?

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) is a system that categorizes goods by their nature and level of processing. It’s used to determine the tariffs imposed on imported goods by countries around the world, and it’s maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO). The HTS is updated every two years to reflect changes in international trade regulations.

The first step in understanding how HS codes work is knowing what they are–and what they’re not. The HTS isn’t actually a list of products; instead, it groups similar items together into categories called “headings.” Each heading has its own unique four-digit code number that corresponds with its category name.


How to Find an HS Code?

To search for an HS Code, you can use a Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). The HTS is a list of all the products that are imported into or exported from the United States. It’s published by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).


To find an HS Code using a HTS:

  • Go to <>. This will take you directly to their website where they have all sorts of information regarding HS Codes and how they work; including how many digits each type has, what types there are etc..
  • In order to find out which code applies specifically to your product(s), look up its description under “Section” on this webpage since each section has its own unique set of digits associated with it – usually starting at “1” followed by six additional numbers separated by dashes (-). For example: 1-2-3 means Section 1 Subsection 2 Paragraph 3 Line 4 Column 5 Row 6 Space 7 Blank 8 Blank 9 Blank 10 Blank 11 Blank 12 Blank 13 Blank 14 Blank 15 Blank 16 Blank 17…etc


What is the Difference Between Harmonized System (HS) Codes and Country-Specific Tariff Codes?

The Harmonized System (HS) is a global system of commodity classification that was developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO). It’s used to classify all types of goods for international trade purposes.

HS codes are divided into 10 main categories: agriculture, animals and animal products; minerals and metals; chemicals and chemical products; textile materials; machinery and transport equipment; manufactured goods classified by material; miscellaneous manufactured articles; foodstuffs for human consumption; beverages, spirits and vinegar.

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