Harmonized Commodity description or HS Code is an international product nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO). The code came into effect in 1988. There are over 5000 commodities identified by a 6 digit code supported by well-defined rules to achieve uniform classifications. The HS Code is used by over 2000 countries as a basis for their custom duty and collecting their trade data and statistics. The HS-Code has classified 98% of commodities around the world.
The WCO maintains the HS Code. The WCO organizes the HS Code into 21 sections, sub-divided into 99 Chapters. The 99 Chapters are further sub-divided into 1244 headings and 5244 sub-headings. The organization periodically updates the codes with changes in technology and trade patterns via a Harmonized System committee. The HS Committee prepares updates on the HS code every 5-6 years.
The HS Code has 6 digits. The first two digits of the code designate HS Chapters. The second two digits show the heading and the last two digits show the sub-headings. Individual countries have HS Code extended by 10 digits for imports and 8 digits for exports. The first 6 digits of the country are common with the international HS Code standards.
The HS System is used by governmental agencies, private firms, and international organizations. The HS Code is widely used by customs authorities to monitor, update, and control goods. Custom authorities determine custom duties and determine the rule of origin. Tax authorities use it to determine internal taxes. Custom Authorities can determine risk assessment, information technology and compliance of the product while the commodity is being stored in the customs shed. Governments use the code to determine internal taxes. HS Code is used to compile traffic statistics, freight tariffs, and transport statistics. International organizations use HS Code data around the world to collect trade statistics, economic research, and analysis. The data is also used by an international organization such as the World Trade Organization. HS Code is an invaluable instrument for international trade and coding for commodities.
Importers and exporters must be careful while selecting the HS code of the product they wish to trade. Incorrect codes result in a delay in customs clearance and cost you time and money.
The HS Code in India is called the ITC (Indian Trade Classification) or Indian Tariff Code. It is based on HS Codes. The ITC Code has been adopted in India for import-export operations. The code uses 8 digits ITC HS Code to suit the national trade requirements. Any changes or addition to the code is carried out by DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade). The standard is modified periodically.
The ITC has two schedules:-
Schedule 1- describes the rules and procedures for the import of goods. Schedule 1 has 21 sections. Each section is divided into chapters. There are 98 chapters. Each chapter is further subdivided into sub-headings where Schedule1 has 3 policy status described:-
Schedule 2 gives guidelines for export policies. Meanwhile, schedule 2 has 97 chapters. The export policy has the following provisions:-
China joined the WCO in 1992. China used a 10 digit HS Code. From 2018 the China Custom Code changed its code to a new 13-digit HS Code in 2018. The first 8-digits are for import and export code for China, the 9th and 10th are customs supervisor additional numbers and 11-13 are for inspection and quarantine. It is important to understand the special requirements of product classification in China to avoid incorrect classification.
E.g. HS Code for KVM Switch is 854370999999.
Mexico HS code is called TGIE implemented and is based on HS code established by the World Customs Organization. The TGIE is a classification system of commodities with 8 digits that may be amended to 10 digits.
The first 8 digits will continue to be the tariff and establish the older duty. The two new digits will be added for statistical purposes. It is to identify commodities subject to countervailing and anti-dumping quotas. The structure is similar to the US Hs code system.
HS Code Russia
HS codes applicable in Russia are ten-digit codes. The first six digits are common to the other codes. The last four digits are unique to the Russian system used all across the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States)
The Indonesian HS code is also referred to as Buka Tarif Kepabeanan Indonesia to BTKI HS Code. It used to be a ten-digit code, but as of 2017, it is now an eight-digit code. This is in line with AHTN (ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature). While the first six digits are in line with the global HS Code nomenclature, the last two are unique to AHTN. For example, the HS Code for frozen fish is 03047100.
HS Code of Vietnam
HS Code Vietnam uses an eight-digit HS code compliant with AHTN as Vietnam is a member country of ASEAN. For example, HS Code for cotton shirts is 62052000.
HS Code of Kenya
Kenya uses an eight-digit code where, like other standards, the first eight digits of the HS Code are common with other countries and the last two are unique to Kenya.
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