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HS Codes: A Beginner’s Guide for Imports and Exports

As we know, HS codes are crucial for both importing and exporting goods, yet they are frequently challenging to comprehend. You must accurately categorise your products with an HS code when they cross borders whether you work in the import-export industry.  The Harmonized System Code or HS code which stands for Harmonized Tariff Schedule code, is another name for it. More than 200 nations around the world accept and use the HS code description and coding system, which was developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) to classify commodities into around 5,000 commodity groups. In this article, we will discuss the overview of HS codes and its impact on Export Import business.

What is HS Code?

HS, or the "Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System," is an acronym for the Harmonized System. All commodities must have an HS Code for international transportation; these codes, which are typically 6 to 10 digits long, were created in 1988 by the World Customs Organization (WCO). The Customs Tariff Act in Australian law is responsible for enforcing the system. Also, it is a numerical categorization method created and maintained by the World Customs Organization for the classification of traded goods (WCO). Customs officials use it all around the world to identify things when determining duties and taxes and for generating statistics.

Each of the thousands of HS Codes identifies a particular type of product. Using the number assigned to the specific commodity, all customs departments can quickly identify these goods.

Each HS code has a unique structure as follows:

  • A six-digit identification code
  • Five thousand commodity groups
  • Those groups feature 99 chapters
  • The chapters themselves then have 21 sections

An international statistical standard known as the Harmonized System (HS) is used to compile information on international trade and determine tariffs and customs taxes. The majority of all items traded abroad are categorised using the HS Code, which serves as the basis for import tariffs. Also, it is must to obtain the Import Export data to evaluate the market trends

Therefore, the HS code of a commodity must be stated on the commercial invoice in order for it to be lawfully imported into a country. Each product in a package must also have a unit of measurement listed so that it may be quickly recognised and handled by customs officers during export or import.

Why is HS Codes Important?

Before moving to HS code, there is also crucial to understand the accurate Custom Data or Trade Data to gain market information.  Then You should get the best of your knowledge and ability, assign the proper HS code to your product despite all the complexities and drawbacks of the HS code system. This is due to the dangers associated with hastily assigning HS codes:

Risk of Wrong Duty Rates

Duty rates and HS codes are closely related. The financial health of a corporation may be seriously harmed by either failing to assign an HS code or providing an inaccurate HS code. One of the most important steps in the shipping process understands duty tariffs. In addition to ordinary duty rates, antidumping and countervailing duties are also strongly related to HS codes.

Regulatory Risk

The threat of regulatory interference also exists for shippers. Instantaneous HS code assignment is a risky process that could lead to decreased accuracy. An importer may be assessed duty overages or fines for failing to comply with the duty requirements of inaccurate HS codes.

Risk of Delays and Fees

When consumer’s brokers are unable to correctly classify a shipment and identify the commodity and its corresponding HS codes before the ship arrives, they may face delays and storage fees.  

How is the HS Code used?

In addition to using HS codes to determine what commodities are being sent, customs authorities also utilise them to apply the appropriate customs duties, taxes, and rules. In order to compile data on international trade and establish tariffs, governments also employ HS codes. Also, Over 200 nations that have signed on to the Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, generally known as the "HS Convention," use HS codes widely.

Additionally, private sector companies and international organisations use HS codes. Controlled products, taxes, rules of origin, policies, transport data Export Data , freight duties, national accounts, controls, price monitoring, research, and analysis are all tracked, updated, and optimised using them.

The HS code is therefore seen as a crucial tool for worldwide trade, a universal economic language, and a system for coding commodities.

  • The HS code is organised as follows:
  • The Chapter is represented by the first two digits.
  • The Heading is represented by the next two digits.
  • The Subheading is represented by the final two digits.

HS Code update in 2022

Every five years, WCO commits to conducting a thorough evaluation of the current HS coding scheme. These tests are meant to keep the HS up to date when new product lines and technological advancements occur as well as to provide information on emerging product streams and developing problems.

A few adjustments have been made as a result of the most recent 2022 revisions to the HS system. Approximately 351 revisions could have a substantial impact on 12% of all EU laws. Customs Tariff Act 1995, Customs Act 1901, Customs Tariff Regulation 2004, and Customs Regulation 2015 must all be amended in order to be put into effect.

There are now headings for unmanned aerial vehicles and 3D printers (drones)

  • For smartphones and electric and hybrid heavy-duty motors, new subheadings have been introduced. Additional remarks have also been added to define the scope of smartphone devices.
  • Toxic electronic waste has been classified separately (85.49) rather than being included under "Electronics" in order to track its transit.
  • The code's reaffirmed commitment to health in light of the requirement to use diagnostic tools to combat the spread of infectious diseases
  • The Code's efforts to address important social and environmental issues (such as the classification of electrical and electronic waste)

How to Find Right HS Code for Import Export Your Product's

Finding the right HS Code for your product is crucial, there are

several steps to find the right HS code for your business.

  • Visit the website;
  • The HS code pages for numerous  nations will display;
  • Now, specify country's name or flag that has the unique HS code
  • A list of  various customs tariff codes will emerge
  • Finally, choose on the country's flag and  HS code search using the product name

At each level, i.e., the 2-digit, 4-digit, 6-digit, and 8 to 10 digit level, the HS code of any product is furnished. You might use a product description or a two-digit chapter code to search the HS code.


So a unique code is given to each product by the worldwide categorization system known as the HS code. This makes it possible for you to appropriately classify things, which in turn aids firms in deciding on the proper customs duties and other trade laws for importing or exporting commodities. It is important to engage expert customs brokers to determine if the HS Code on your commercial invoice is correct. A Seair Exim Solution is a platform where you can obtain your product specific HS code. They also provide Import Export data, Global trade data, and provide you updated HS Code to improve your business growth.

  • Seair Exim
  • 04-Oct-2022

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