What is HS code?

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The HS (Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System) is an international system of names and numbers for classifying traded products created by the World Customs Organization and used in determining tariffs on items shipped internationally.

The HS is based on the fundamental principle that goods are classified by what they are and not according to their stage of fabrication, use, "made in" status or any other such criteria.
The HS nomenclature is logically structured by economic activity or component material. For example, animals and animal products are found in one section; machinery and mechanical appliances, which are grouped by function, are found in another.
The nomenclature is divided into 21 Sections, which, in general, group goods produced in the same sector of the economy.
Each Section is comprised of one or more Chapters with the entire nomenclature being comprised of 97 Chapters.
HS codes have been established along the following hierarchical logic;
• HS-2 refers to the Chapter
• HS-4 refers to the Heading
• HS-6 refers to the Subheading
For example, product code 060110 refers to Chapter 6 (Live trees and other plants: bulbs, roots, etc…), Heading 01 (Bulbs, tubers, tuberous roots…dormant, in growth or in flower, etc….), and Subheading 10 (Bulbs, tubers, tuberous roots…. Dormant).
Further subdivisions (HS-8, HS-10, and HS12) are made by individual countries and trading blocks according to their specific tariff and statistical needs. These "final" product codes are contained in the particular Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the world.
The tariff and tariff-related provisions (e.g.- numerical codes and article descriptions) are presented in tabular format containing several columns. In those columns are contained the headings, subheadings, statistical annotations, article descriptions and rates of duty.

Browse and search HS Codes for free from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using the HS Code Handbook.
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