What are HS/HTS codes used for?

Harmonised system (HS) code is a common standard world over for describing the type of product that is shipped internationally. Each product that crosses or enters international borders has to be declared to customs using HS code.

Whether you are shipping apples or sophisticated machinery, it is a legal requirement to assign a six digit HS code.

HS/HTS codes are used by custom authorities and other regulatory bodies to monitor and control the international trade of commodities. These are also used by statistical agencies to compile trade data. These codes are important because they are used in:

  • Customs tariff, i.e. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS)·        
  • Rules of origin
  • Collection of international trade statistics
  • Transport tariff and statistics
  • Collection of internal taxes
  • Monitoring controlled goods such as narcotics, weapons etc.
  • Trade negotiations
  • Customs controls and procedures

These codes are not only useful for government agencies, but for companies as well. They help identify trade opportunities overseas and calculate the total cost of imported goods.

Failure to classify the products correctly can lead to various problems including:

  • Seizure of goods
  • Non-compliance penalties
  • Denial of import privileges
  • Border delays

Having an accurate tariff classification helps ensure that all your shipments are fully compliant with international trade regulations.