Harmonized System – Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System…

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) of tariff nomenclature is an internationally standardized system of names and numbers for classifying traded products developed and maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO) (formerly the Customs Co-operation Council), an independent intergovernmental organization with over 170 member countries based in Brussels, Belgium.

The HS is a six-digit nomenclature. The first four digits are referred to as the heading. The first six digits are known as a subheading. Countries that have adopted the Harmonized System are not permitted to alter in any way the descriptions associated to a heading or a subheading nor can the numerical codes at the four or six digit level be altered. This is what keeps the Harmonized System harmonized.

Individual countries may extend a Harmonized System number to eight or ten digits for customs purposes, and to eight or ten digits for export purposes. More than 200 countries, customs and economic unions, representing more than 98% of world trade, use the HS as a basis for:

* Customs tariffs
* Collection of international trade statistics
* Rules of origin
* Collection of internal taxes
* Trade negotiations (e.g., the World Trade Organization schedules of tariff concessions)
* Transport tariffs and statistics
* Monitoring of controlled goods (e.g., wastes, narcotics, chemical weapons, ozone layer depleting substances, endangered species)
* Areas of Customs controls and procedures, including risk assessment, information technology and compliance.

Codes have been revised through the years. So if it’s necessary to reference a code related to a trade issue from even a few years ago, one has to make sure the definition set being used matches the code.

Section I: Live Animals; Animal Products

Section II: Vegetable Products

Section III: Animal or Vegetable Fats and Oils and Their Cleavage Products; Prepared Edible Fats; Animal or Vegetable Waxes

Section IV: Prepared Foodstuffs; Beverages, Spirits, and Vinegar; Tobacco and Manufactured Tobacco Substitutes

Section V: Mineral Products

Section VI: Products of the Chemical or Allied Industries

Section VII: Plastics and Articles Thereof Rubber and Articles Thereof

Section VIII: Raw Hides and Skins, Leather, Furskins and Articles Thereof; Saddlery and Harness; Travel Goods, Handbags and Similar Containers; Articles of Animal Gut (Other Than Silkworm Gut)

Section IX: Wood and Articles of Wood; Wood Charcoal; Cork and Articles of Cork; Manufacturers of Straw,of Esparto or of Other Plaiting Materials; Basketware and Wickerwork

Section X: Pulp of Wood or of Other Fibrous Cellulosic Material; Waste and Scrap of Paper or Paperboard; Paper and Paperboard and Articles Thereof

Section XI: Textile and Textile Articles

Section XII: Footwear, Headgear, Umbrellas, Sun Umbrellas, Walking Sticks, Seatsticks, Whips, Riding-Crops and Parts Thereof; Prepared Feathers and Articles Made Therewith; Artificial Flowers; Articles of Human Hair

Section XIII: Articles of Stone, Plaster, Cement, Asbestos, Mica or Similar Materials; Ceramic Products; Glass and Glassware

Section XIV: Natural or Cultured Pearls, Precious or Semiprecious Stones, Precious Metals, Metals Clad With Precious Metal, and Articles Thereof; Imitation Jewelry; Coin

Section XV: Base Metals and Articles of Base Metal

Section XVI: Machinery and Mechanical Appliances; Electrical Equipment; Parts Thereof; Sound Recorders and Reproducers, Television Image and Sound Recorders and Reproducers, and Parts and Accessories of Such Articles

Section XVII: Vehicles, Aircraft, Vessels and Associated Transport Equipment

Section XVIII: Optical, Photographic, Cinematographic, Measuring, Checking, Precision, Medical or Surgical Instruments and Apparatus; Clocks and Watches; Musical Instruments; Parts and Accessories Thereof

Section XIX: Arms and Ammunition; Parts and Accessories Thereof

Section XX: Miscellaneous Manufactured Articles

Section XXI: Works of Art, Collectors’ Pieces and Antiques

Section XXII: Special Classification Provisions; Temporary Legislation; Temporary Modifications Proclaimedpursuant to Trade Agreements Legislation; Additional Import Restrictions Proclaimed Pursuant to Section 22 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, As Amended

Chapter 98
Special classification provisions
Chapter 99
Temporary legislation; temporary modifications proclaimed pursuant to trade agreements legislation; additional import restrictions proclaimed pursuant to section 22 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, as amended

On-line presentation of the custom statistical data