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Harmonized System (HS) Codes Explained










What is an HS code and how is it different from an HTS code? 

Harmonized System (HS) Codes are another numerical mode of standardizing the import and export of goods. HS Codes classify traded products and are used globally by customs authorities to determine duties and taxes based on product classification. The system is enforced by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and gets updated every five years. 

HS codes are unique ten-digit codes which vary based on set commodity standards. To differentiate between countries, the last four digits are changed based on the import country, while the first six digits remain unchanged.  

A whole 10-digit number is referred to as a harmonized tariff schedule of (HTS) code when importing into the U.S.A. 

Note: the complete 10-digit number is unique to each importing country and must be reported in full to the importing customs authorities. As an importer of record, you must ensure that you report the correct 10-digit code. An incorrect 10-digit number can lead to fines, penalties, delays and in some cases criminal charges. 

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