Little Pro on 2017-07-18
HS Code is also known as Harmonized System (HS) Commodity Code. It is a system developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) to help national customs and statistical authorities classify commodities. Each commodity or product will be assigned with a HS code, which is then used by Customs authorities and statistical agencies to monitor and control the import and export of commodities through customs tariffs and the collection of info on international trade. In this article, we will summarize the structure of HS Code and show you how to determine HS code for chemicals.
Most of countries use an 8-digit or 10-digit classification system, with the first 6-digit adopting the Harmonized System developed by the WCO and the last 2 or 4 digits representing a further breakdown in commodity classification to meet domestic needs. The Harmonized System (HS) comprises 21 Sections covering 97 Chapters. In each chapter, there are headings, sub-headings and notes for each heading and sub-heading.
The structure of an 8-digit or 10-digit HS Code is listed as follows:
The picture below is a screenshot of the HS codes for some common organic chemical substances listed in Chapter 29 Organic Chemicals.
Note: Different countries might assign different HS codes for the same product. However, the first 6 digits of a HS code for a product are usually the same since most of countries have developed their commodity classification system based on the Harmonized System (HS).
Chemicals and chemical products are listed in the Section VI of the Harmonized System – Products of the Chemical or Allied Industries. There are 11 chapters related to chemicals and chemical products (Chapter 28 to 38). They are listed as follows:
If you wish to see the quick break-down of each chapter above, you may go to http://www.foreign-trade.com. However, if you wish to read the notes for each chapter or (sub-)heading and confirm whether an HS code covers your product, you are recommended to consult national commodity classification handbook. Reading the US version of the Harmonized System is also good start.
Determining right HS Code for a chemical product is not as difficult as you think. You need to gather the following info as a minium requirement.
Important note: Notes for each chapter, heading or sub-heading are very important. The notes include definitions and clarifications of certain terms and products and also exclude some products. For example, the notes of Chapter 29 state that it does not cover ethyl alcohol (heading 22.07 or 22.08).
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