What is an HS Code..??

  • 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

    Chapter 1
    Live animals

    Chapter 2
    Meat and edible meat offal

    Chapter 3
    Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates

    Chapter 4
    Dairy produce; birds eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included

    Chapter 5
    Products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included

    SECTION II: VEGETABLE PRODUCTS

    Chapter 6
    Live trees and other plants; bulbs, roots and the like; cut flowers and ornamental foliage

    Chapter 7
    Edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers

    Chapter 8
    Edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit or melons

    Chapter 9
    Coffee, tea, maté and spices

    Chapter 10
    Cereals

    Chapter 11
    Products of the milling industry; malt; starches; inulin; wheat gluten

    Chapter 12
    Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits; miscellaneous grains, seeds and fruits; industrial or medicinal plants; straw and fodder

    Chapter 13
    Lac; gums, resins and other vegetable saps and extracts

    Chapter 14
    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

    Chapter 15
    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

    Chapter 16
    Preparations of meat, of fish or of crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates

    Chapter 17
    Sugars and sugar confectionery

    Chapter 18
    Cocoa and cocoa preparations

    Chapter 19
    Preparations of cereals, flour, starch or milk; bakers’ wares

    Chapter 20
    Preparations of vegetables, fruit, nuts or other parts of plants

    Chapter 21
    Miscellaneous edible preparations

    Chapter 22
    Beverages, spirits and vinegar

    Chapter 23
    Residues and waste from the food industries; prepared animal feed

    Chapter 24
    Tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes

    SECTION V: MINERAL PRODUCTS

    Chapter 25

    Salt; sulfur; earths and stone; plastering materials, lime and cement

    Chapter 26

    Ores, slag and ash

    Chapter 27

    Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes

    SECTION VI: PRODUCTS OF THE CHEMICAL OR ALLIED INDUSTRIES

    Chapter 28
    Inorganic chemicals; organic or inorgani c compounds of precious metals, of rare-earth metals,of radioactive elements or of isotopes

    Chapter 29
    Organic chemicals

    Chapter 30
    Pharmaceutical products

    Chapter 31
    Fertilizers

    Chapter 32
    Tanning or dyeing extracts; dyes, pigments, paints, varnishes, putty and mastics

    Chapter 33
    Essential oils and resinoids; perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations

    Chapter 34
    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

    Chapter 35
    Albuminoidal substances; modified starches; glues; enzymes

    Chapter 36
    Explosives; pyrotechnic products; matches; pyrophoric alloys; certain combustible preparations

    Chapter 37
    Photographic or cinematographic goods

    Chapter 38
    Miscellaneous chemical products

    SECTION VII: PLASTICS AND ARTICLES THEREOF RUBBER AND ARTICLES THEREOF

    Chapter 39

    Plastics and articles thereof

    Chapter 40

    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)

    Chapter 41
    Raw hides and skins (other than furskins) and leather

    Chapter 42
    Articles of leather; saddlery and harness; travel goods, handbags and similar containers; articles of animal gut (other than silkworm gut)

    Chapter 43
    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

    Chapter 44
    Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal

    Chapter 45
    Cork and articles of cork

    Chapter 46
    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

    Chapter 47
    Pulp of wood or of other fibrous cellulosic material; waste and scrap of paper or paperboard

    Chapter 48
    Paper and paperboard; articles of paper pulp, of paper or of paperboard

    Chapter 49
    Printed books, newspapers, pictures and other products of the printing industry; manuscripts, typescripts and plans

    SECTION XI: TEXTILE AND TEXTILE ARTICLES

    Chapter 50
    Silk

    Chapter 51
    Wool, fine or coarse animal hair; horsehair yarn and woven fabric

    Chapter 52
    Cotton

    Chapter 53
    Other vegetable textile fibers; paper yarn and woven fabric of paper yarn

    Chapter 54
    Man-made filaments

    Chapter 55
    Man-made staple fibers

    Chapter 56
    Wadding, felt and nonwovens; special yarns, twine, cordage, ropes and cables and articles thereof

    Chapter 57
    Carpets and other textile floor coverings

    Chapter 58
    Special woven fabrics; tufted textile fabrics; lace, tapestries; trimmings; embroidery

    Chapter 59
    Impregnated, coated, covered or laminated textile fabrics; textile articles of a kind suitable for industrial use

    Chapter 60
    Knitted or crocheted fabrics

    Chapter 61
    Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted

    Chapter 62
    Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted

    Chapter 63
    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

    Chapter 64

    Footwear, gaiters and the like; parts of such articles

    Chapter 65

    Headgear and parts thereof

    Chapter 66

    Umbrellas, sun umbrellas, walking sticks, seatsticks, whips, riding-crops and parts thereof

    Chapter 67

    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

    Chapter 68

    Articles of stone, plaster, cement, asbestos, mica or similar materials

    Chapter 69

    Ceramic products

    Chapter 70

    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

    Chapter 71

    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

    Chapter 72
    Iron and steel

    Chapter 73
    Articles of iron or steel

    Chapter 74
    Copper and articles thereof

    Chapter 75
    Nickel and articles thereof

    Chapter 76
    Aluminum and articles thereof

    Chapter 77
    (Reserved for possible future use)

    Chapter 78
    Lead and articles thereof

    Chapter 79
    Zinc and articles thereof

    Chapter 80
    Tin and articles thereof

    Chapter 81
    Other base metals; cermets; articles thereof

    Chapter 82
    Tools, implements, cutlery, spoons and forks, of base metal; parts thereof of base metal

    Chapter 83
    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

    Chapter 84
    Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances; parts thereof

    Chapter 85
    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

    Chapter 86
    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

    Chapter 87
    Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories thereof

    Chapter 88
    Aircraft, spacecraft, and parts thereof

    Chapter 89
    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

    Chapter 90

    Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof

    Chapter 91

    Clocks and watches and parts thereof

    Chapter 92

    Musical instruments; parts and accessories of such articles

    SECTION XIX: ARMS AND AMMUNITION; PARTS AND ACCESSORIES THEREOF

    Chapter 93

    Arms and ammunition; parts and accessories thereof

    SECTION XX: MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES

    Chapter 94

    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

    Chapter 95

    Toys, games and sports requisites; parts and accessories thereof

    Chapter 96

    Miscellaneous manufactured articles

    SECTION XXI: WORKS OF ART, COLLECTORS’ PIECES AND ANTIQUES

    Chapter 97

    Works of art, collectors’ pieces and antiques

    SECTION XXII: SPECIAL CLASSIFICATION PROVISIONS;

    Chapter 98

    Special classification provisions

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