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11/06/17 How to Locate and Use HS Codes for Imported Goods into the US

Article - November 6, 2017 By

Low Profile Explosion Proof LED Light - 2x2 Lay-In Troffer -Class 1 Div 1&2 -Paint Spray Booth Rated

How to Locate and Use HS Codes for Imported Goods into the US

US-based businesses that work with imported goods from other countries must adhere to proper record-keeping practices in order to streamline compliance with tariff or duty rates. To ease the complications of managing millions of imported goods entering the US, including industrial lights, the World Customs Organization (WCO) created a system for the classification of traded products.

One of these specifications is the Harmonized System or Harmonized Tariff Schedule – HS Code or HTS Code. For compliance, goods that are imported or exported on an international level should come with a proper HS Code.

Do I Need the HS Code, HTS-US Code or Schedule B Code?

As mentioned earlier, the HS Code is primarily useful for identifying tax rates for imported goods entering the US. In application, the HS Code is recommended for looking up classifications of imported products from vendors located in other countries.

The HTS Code is a ten-digit specification issued by the US International Trade Commission, with the first six digits bearing the same format as the HS Code and the last used for other classification purposes. HTS Codes are mostly used by US-based importers.

The Schedule B Code is also a set of ten digits, like the HTS Code. However, this set of numbers is only applicable to US-based exporters. Moreover, US-based government institutions may use Schedule B Codes to track and monitor exported goods. But unlike the HTS Code, this classification is managed by the US Census Bureau (not the US International Trade Commission).

Where Can I Find the HS Code?

The HS Code consists of six digits (also known as heading/subheading). Individuals should be able to find the HS Code in commercial invoices. After locating the set of numbers, simply head over to the official HTS site ( and enter the code in the search field.

According to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule System External User Guide, individuals can use the search functionality to view HTS releases, look into the HTS database and export information related to HTS data. It is important to point out that the HTS website does not allow users to perform partial searches using common words. Additionally, individuals will be unable to look into specific notes in various chapters and sections.

Structure and Example of HS Code

The six-digit structure of HS Codes include the following components:

• Chapter HS

• Heading HS

• Subheading HS

Using the following HS Code example: 1006.30; it would be possible to determine the following:

• Chapter 10 – Cereals

• Heading 10.06 – Rice

• Subheading 1006.30 – (specific classification of rice, in this case semi-milled/wholly milled that is polished/glazed)

Entering the HS Code “1006.30” in the official HTS website will generate the corresponding HS Code, Article Description, Unit of Quantity and Rates of Duty. From here, one could download the entire chapter for future reference.

How Reliable is the HS Code?

The HS was developed in 1988 and is considered to be accepted internationally by over 180 countries/territories worldwide. Moreover, it is acknowledged by over 98 percent of international traders. Serving as a standardized language for code of traded goods, this comprehensive system is used by millions of businesses, government institutions and large organizations.

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