What is an HS Code..??
You would have seen this terminology across many documentation or correspondences.. What does this HS Code really mean, who uses it and what is it used for..??
HS Code stands for Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System..
This is the common standard worldwide for describing the type of commodity.. Every commodity that enters or crosses most international borders have to be declared to customs by means of this code.. This helps in standardizing the codes worldwide..
Here is the definition according to WCO website,
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System generally referred to as “Harmonized System” or simply “HS” is a multipurpose international product nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).
It comprises about 5,000 commodity groups; each identified by a six digit code, arranged in a legal and logical structure and is supported by well-defined rules to achieve uniform classification.
The system is used by more than 200 countries and economies as a basis for their Customs tariffs and for the collection of international trade statistics. Over 98 % of the merchandise in international trade is classified in terms of the HS.
The HS contributes to the harmonization of Customs and trade procedures, and the non-documentary trade data interchange in connection with such procedures, thus reducing the costs related to international trade.
It is also extensively used by governments, international organizations and the private sector for many other purposes such as internal taxes, trade policies, monitoring of controlled goods, rules of origin, freight tariffs, transport statistics, price monitoring, quota controls, compilation of national accounts, and economic research and analysis. The HS is thus a universal economic language and code for goods, and an indispensable tool for international trade.
The Harmonized System is governed by “The International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System”. The official interpretation of the HS is given in the Explanatory Notes (5 volumes in English and French) published by the WCO. The Explanatory Notes are also available on online and on CD-ROM, as part of a database which groups all the available HS Tools, by adding to the information on the Nomenclature, the Compendium of Classification Opinions and the Explanatory Notes, that relating to the Alphabetical Index and the Brochure on Classification Decisions taken by the Harmonized System Committee.
The maintenance of the HS is a WCO priority. This activity includes measures to secure uniform interpretation of the HS and its periodic updating in light of developments in technology and changes in trade patterns. The WCO manages this process through the Harmonized System Committee (representing the Contracting Parties to the HS Convention), which examines policy matters, takes decisions on classification questions, settles disputes and prepares amendments to the Explanatory Notes. The HS Committee also prepares amendments updating the HS every 5 – 6 years.
Decisions concerning the interpretation and application of the Harmonized System, such as classification decisions and amendments to the Explanatory Notes or to the Compendium of Classification Opinions, become effective two months after the approval by the HS Committee. These are reflected in the amending supplements of the relevant WCO Publications.
Below are the basic sections and chapters..
For broader info, visit http://www.cargoinfo.co.za/customs/customstree.asp..
The standard categories are upto 6 digits Example 6401.10 – Footwear incorporating a protective metal toe-cap..
Depending on the various countries they can add more digits making it 8 or 10 digits..
SECTION I: LIVE ANIMALS; ANIMAL PRODUCTS
Meat and edible meat offal
Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates
Dairy produce; birds eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included
Products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included
SECTION II: VEGETABLE PRODUCTS
Live trees and other plants; bulbs, roots and the like; cut flowers and ornamental foliage
Edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers
Edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit or melons
Coffee, tea, maté and spices
Products of the milling industry; malt; starches; inulin; wheat gluten
Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits; miscellaneous grains, seeds and fruits; industrial or medicinal plants; straw and fodder
Lac; gums, resins and other vegetable saps and extracts
Vegetable plaiting materials; vegetable products not elsewhere specified or included
SECTION III: ANIMAL OR VEGETABLE FATS AND OILS AND THEIR CLEAVAGE PRODUCTS; PREPARED EDIBLE FATS; ANIMAL OR VEGETABLE WAXES
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
Preparations of meat, of fish or of crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates
Sugars and sugar confectionery
Cocoa and cocoa preparations
Preparations of cereals, flour, starch or milk; bakers’ wares
Preparations of vegetables, fruit, nuts or other parts of plants
Miscellaneous edible preparations
Beverages, spirits and vinegar
Residues and waste from the food industries; prepared animal feed
Tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes
SECTION V: MINERAL PRODUCTS
Salt; sulfur; earths and stone; plastering materials, lime and cement
Ores, slag and ash
Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes
SECTION VI: PRODUCTS OF THE CHEMICAL OR ALLIED INDUSTRIES
Inorganic chemicals; organic or inorgani c compounds of precious metals, of rare-earth metals,of radioactive elements or of isotopes
Tanning or dyeing extracts; dyes, pigments, paints, varnishes, putty and mastics
Essential oils and resinoids; perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations
Soap, organic surface-active agents, washing preparations, lubricating preparations, artificial waxes, prepared waxes, polishing or scouring preparations, candles and similar articles, modeling pastes, “dental waxes” and dental preparations with a basis of plaster
Albuminoidal substances; modified starches; glues; enzymes
Explosives; pyrotechnic products; matches; pyrophoric alloys; certain combustible preparations
Photographic or cinematographic goods
Miscellaneous chemical products
SECTION VII: PLASTICS AND ARTICLES THEREOF RUBBER AND ARTICLES THEREOF
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)
Raw hides and skins (other than furskins) and leather
Articles of leather; saddlery and harness; travel goods, handbags and similar containers; articles of animal gut (other than silkworm gut)
Furskins and artificial fur; manufactures thereof
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
Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal
Cork and articles of cork
Manufactures 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
Pulp of wood or of other fibrous cellulosic material; waste and scrap of paper or paperboard
Paper and paperboard; articles of paper pulp, of paper or of paperboard
Printed books, newspapers, pictures and other products of the printing industry; manuscripts, typescripts and plans
SECTION XI: TEXTILE AND TEXTILE ARTICLES
Wool, fine or coarse animal hair; horsehair yarn and woven fabric
Other vegetable textile fibers; paper yarn and woven fabric of paper yarn
Man-made staple fibers
Wadding, felt and nonwovens; special yarns, twine, cordage, ropes and cables and articles thereof
Carpets and other textile floor coverings
Special woven fabrics; tufted textile fabrics; lace, tapestries; trimmings; embroidery
Impregnated, coated, covered or laminated textile fabrics; textile articles of a kind suitable for industrial use
Knitted or crocheted fabrics
Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted
Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted
Other made up textile articles; sets; worn clothing and worn textile articles; rags
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
Footwear, gaiters and the like; parts of such articles
Headgear and parts thereof
Umbrellas, sun umbrellas, walking sticks, seatsticks, whips, riding-crops and parts thereof
Prepared feathers and down and articles made of feathers or of down; artificial flowers; articles of human hair
SECTION XIII: ARTICLES OF STONE, PLASTER, CEMENT, ASBESTOS, MICA OR SIMILAR MATERIALS; CERAMIC PRODUCTS; GLASS AND GLASSWARE
Articles of stone, plaster, cement, asbestos, mica or similar materials
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
Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones,precious metals, metals clad with precious metal and articles thereof; imitation jewelry; coin
SECTION XV:BASE METALS AND ARTICLES OF BASE METAL
Iron and steel
Articles of iron or steel
Copper and articles thereof
Nickel and articles thereof
Aluminum and articles thereof
(Reserved for possible future use)
Lead and articles thereof
Zinc and articles thereof
Tin and articles thereof
Other base metals; cermets; articles thereof
Tools, implements, cutlery, spoons and forks, of base metal; parts thereof of base metal
Miscellaneous 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
Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances; parts thereof
Electrical machinery and equipment and 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
Railway or tramway locomotives, rolling-stock and parts thereof; railway or tramway track fixtures and fittings and parts thereof; mechanical (including electro-mechanical) traffic signalling equipment of all kinds
Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories thereof
Aircraft, spacecraft, and parts thereof
Ships, boats and floating structures
SECTION XVIII: OPTICAL, PHOTOGRAPHIC, CINEMATOGRAPHIC, MEASURING, CHECKING, PRECISION, MEDICAL OR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS AND APPARATUS; CLOCKS AND WATCHES; MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; PARTS AND ACCESSORIES THEREOF
Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof
Clocks and watches and parts thereof
Musical instruments; parts and accessories of such articles
SECTION XIX: ARMS AND AMMUNITION; PARTS AND ACCESSORIES THEREOF
Arms and ammunition; parts and accessories thereof
SECTION XX: MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES
Furniture; bedding, mattresses, mattress supports, cushions and similar stuffed furnishings; lamps and lighting fittings, not elsewhere specified or included; illuminated sign illuminated nameplates and the like; prefabricated buildings
Toys, games and sports requisites; parts and accessories thereof
Miscellaneous manufactured articles
SECTION XXI: WORKS OF ART, COLLECTORS’ PIECES AND ANTIQUES
Works of art, collectors’ pieces and antiques
SECTION XXII: SPECIAL CLASSIFICATION PROVISIONS;
Special classification provisions