What is a HS Code..??

HS CodeYou would have seen this terminology across many trade documentation or correspondences.. What does this HS Code really mean, who uses it and what is it used for..??

HS Code stands for Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System..

This is the common standard worldwide for describing the type of commodity.. Every commodity that enters or crosses most international borders have to be declared to customs by means of a HS code.. This helps in standardizing the codes worldwide..

Here is the definition according to WCO website,

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System generally referred to as “Harmonized System” or simply “HS” is a multipurpose international product nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).


It comprises about 5,000 commodity groups; each identified by a six digit code, arranged in a legal and logical structure and is supported by well-defined rules to achieve uniform classification.

The system is used by more than 200 countries and economies as a basis for their Customs tariffs and for the collection of international trade statistics. Over 98 % of the merchandise in international trade is classified in terms of the HS.

The HS contributes to the harmonization of Customs and trade procedures, and the non-documentary trade data interchange in connection with such procedures, thus reducing the costs related to international trade.

It is also extensively used by governments, international organizations and the private sector for many other purposes such as internal taxes, trade policies, monitoring of controlled goods, rules of origin, freight tariffs, transport statistics, price monitoring, quota controls, compilation of national accounts, and economic research and analysis. The HS is thus a universal economic language and code for goods, and an indispensable tool for international trade.

The Harmonized System is governed by “The International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System”. The official interpretation of the HS is given in the Explanatory Notes (5 volumes in English and French) published by the WCO. The Explanatory Notes are also available on online and on CD-ROM, as part of a database which groups all the available HS Tools, by adding to the information on the Nomenclature, the Compendium of Classification Opinions and the Explanatory Notes, that relating to the Alphabetical Index and the Brochure on Classification Decisions taken by the Harmonized System Committee.

The maintenance of the HS is a WCO priority. This activity includes measures to secure uniform interpretation of the HS and its periodic updating in light of developments in technology and changes in trade patterns. The WCO manages this process through the Harmonized System Committee (representing the Contracting Parties to the HS Convention), which examines policy matters, takes decisions on classification questions, settles disputes and prepares amendments to the Explanatory Notes. The HS Committee also prepares amendments updating the HS every 5 – 6 years.

Decisions concerning the interpretation and application of the Harmonized System, such as classification decisions and amendments to the Explanatory Notes or to the Compendium of Classification Opinions, become effective two months after the approval by the HS Committee. These are reflected in the amending supplements of the relevant WCO Publications.

Click on the relevant sections to view the list of commodities under each Section..

Chapter 1 – Live animals
Chapter 2 – Meat and edible meat offal
Chapter 3 – Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates
Chapter 4 – Dairy produce; birds eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included
Chapter 5 – Products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included

Chapter 6 – Live trees and other plants; bulbs, roots and the like; cut flowers and ornamental foliage
Chapter 7 – Edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers
Chapter 8 – Edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit or melons
Chapter 9 – Coffee, tea, maté and spices
Chapter 10 – Cereals
Chapter 11 – Products of the milling industry; malt; starches; inulin; wheat gluten
Chapter 12 – Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits; miscellaneous grains, seeds and fruits; industrial or medicinal plants; straw and fodder
Chapter 13 – Lac; gums, resins and other vegetable saps and extracts
Chapter 14 – Vegetable plaiting materials; vegetable products not elsewhere specified or included

Chapter 15 – Animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes

Chapter 16 – Preparations of meat, of fish or of crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates
Chapter 17 – Sugars and sugar confectionery
Chapter 18 – Cocoa and cocoa preparations
Chapter 19 – Preparations of cereals, flour, starch or milk; bakers’ wares
Chapter 20 – Preparations of vegetables, fruit, nuts or other parts of plants
Chapter 21 – Miscellaneous edible preparations
Chapter 22 – Beverages, spirits and vinegar
Chapter 23 – Residues and waste from the food industries; prepared animal feed
Chapter 24 – Tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes

Chapter 25 – Salt; sulfur; earths and stone; plastering materials, lime and cement
Chapter 26 – Ores, slag and ash
Chapter 27 – Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes

Chapter 28 – Inorganic chemicals; organic or inorganic compounds of precious metals, of rare-earth metals, of radioactive elements or of isotopes
Chapter 29 – Organic chemicals
Chapter 30 – Pharmaceutical products
Chapter 31 – Fertilizers
Chapter 32 – Tanning or dyeing extracts; dyes, pigments, paints, varnishes, putty and mastics
Chapter 33 – Essential oils and resinoids; perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations
Chapter 34 – Soap, organic surface-active agents, washing preparations, lubricating preparations, artificial waxes, prepared waxes, polishing or scouring preparations, candles and similar articles, modeling pastes, “dental waxes” and dental preparations with a basis of plaster
Chapter 35 – Albuminoidal substances; modified starches; glues; enzymes
Chapter 36 – Explosives; pyrotechnic products; matches; pyrophoric alloys; certain combustible preparations
Chapter 37 – Photographic or cinematographic goods
Chapter 38 – Miscellaneous chemical products

Chapter 39 – Plastics and articles thereof
Chapter 40 – Rubber and articles thereof

Chapter 41 – Raw hides and skins (other than furskins) and leather
Chapter 42 – Articles of leather; saddlery and harness; travel goods, handbags and similar containers; articles of animal gut (other than silkworm gut)
Chapter 43 – Furskins and artificial fur; manufactures thereof

Chapter 44 – Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal
Chapter 45 – Cork and articles of cork
Chapter 46 – Manufactures of straw, of esparto or of other plaiting materials; basketware and wickerwork

Chapter 47 – Pulp of wood or of other fibrous cellulosic material; waste and scrap of paper or paperboard
Chapter 48 – Paper and paperboard; articles of paper pulp, of paper or of paperboard
Chapter 49 – Printed books, newspapers, pictures and other products of the printing industry; manuscripts, typescripts and plans

Chapter 50 – Silk
Chapter 51 – Wool, fine or coarse animal hair; horsehair yarn and woven fabric
Chapter 52 – Cotton
Chapter 53 – Other vegetable textile fibers; paper yarn and woven fabric of paper yarn
Chapter 54 – Man-made filaments
Chapter 55 – Man-made staple fibers
Chapter 56 – Wadding, felt and nonwovens; special yarns, twine, cordage, ropes and cables and articles thereof
Chapter 57 – Carpets and other textile floor coverings
Chapter 58 – Special woven fabrics; tufted textile fabrics; lace, tapestries; trimmings; embroidery
Chapter 59 – Impregnated, coated, covered or laminated textile fabrics; textile articles of a kind suitable for industrial use
Chapter 60 – Knitted or crocheted fabrics
Chapter 61 – Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted
Chapter 62 – Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted
Chapter 63 – Other made up textile articles; sets; worn clothing and worn textile articles; rags

Chapter 64 – Footwear, gaiters and the like; parts of such articles
Chapter 65 – Headgear and parts thereof
Chapter 66 – Umbrellas, sun umbrellas, walking sticks, seatsticks, whips, riding-crops and parts thereof
Chapter 67 – Prepared feathers and down and articles made of feathers or of down; artificial flowers; articles of human hair

Chapter 68 – Articles of stone, plaster, cement, asbestos, mica or similar materials
Chapter 69 – Ceramic products
Chapter 70 – Glass and glassware

Chapter 71 – Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metals clad with precious metal and articles thereof; imitation jewelry; coin

Chapter 72 – Iron and steel
Chapter 73 – Articles of iron or steel
Chapter 74 – Copper and articles thereof
Chapter 75 – Nickel and articles thereof
Chapter 76 – Aluminium and articles thereof
Chapter 77 – (Reserved for possible future use)
Chapter 78 – Lead and articles thereof
Chapter 79 – Zinc and articles thereof
Chapter 80 – Tin and articles thereof
Chapter 81 – Other base metals; cermets; articles thereof
Chapter 82 – Tools, implements, cutlery, spoons and forks, of base metal; parts thereof of base metal
Chapter 83 – Miscellaneous articles of base metal

Chapter 84 – Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances; parts thereof
Chapter 85 – Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles

Chapter 86 – Railway or tramway locomotives, rolling-stock and parts thereof; railway or tramway track fixtures and fittings and parts thereof; mechanical (including electro-mechanical) traffic signalling equipment of all kinds
Chapter 87 – Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories thereof
Chapter 88 – Aircraft, spacecraft, and parts thereof
Chapter 89 – Ships, boats and floating structures

Chapter 90 – Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof
Chapter 91 – Clocks and watches and parts thereof
Chapter 92 – Musical instruments; parts and accessories of such articles

Chapter 93 – Arms and ammunition; parts and accessories thereof

Chapter 94 – Furniture; bedding, mattresses, mattress supports, cushions and similar stuffed furnishings; lamps and lighting fittings, not elsewhere specified or included; illuminated sign illuminated nameplates and the like; prefabricated buildings
Chapter 95 – Toys, games and sports requisites; parts and accessories thereof
Chapter 96 – Miscellaneous manufactured articles

Chapter 97 – Works of art, collectors’ pieces and antiques

Chapter 98 – Special classification provisions

*** End of Article ***

57 thoughts on “What is a HS Code..??”

  1. I have with me, Bill of Lading with a HS code 1518009595 and Vietnam’s custom Form A with a HS code 15180060.
    The question are : It is for the same shipment, and both are HS code, why they are not the same? Is this normal? It is very confusing sharing the same name i.e. HS code.

    Reply
  2. FindHS.Codes is a thematic search engine developed for assisting importers/exporters to easily learn the correct customs tariff classification for the goods they intend to import or export..

    Reply
  3. HS Code is used to classify the product in import export business. It is called by different names in different countries like HSN Code in India, HTS Code in USA, NCM Code in Brazil and BTKI in Indonesia.

    Reply
  4. Hi,

    very informative article and thankyou for the updated list . I would like to know how can we calculate duty for multiple items , say I have 2 items one is showing according to the HS that it has a duty of 1% and the other is 2% .. the total duty how much shall it be on the declared value invoice by the clearing agent ? 3% or 2% or 1.5% or how much ?

    Reply
    • Hi Ali, depending on the country where you are from regulations on such calculations might vary.. Best option would be for you to discuss with customs or a certified clearing agent to understand more..

  5. Hello, I want to know more about the effect due changes that UN has recently made on the multiple CPC products of cotton and plastics that the various HS codes have been transformed to one HS code of 96190090.

    Reply
  6. What is the actual harmonized code of 4 ply offset printing blanket (in roll, not cut to shape)

    Regards

    Nd. Hazrat ali

    Reply
  7. Hi,

    Actually i want to know all process about import and export and what is HS code or etc. so could you please share me the same what i want.

    regards,

    rahul kumar

    Reply
  8. is the Turkish GTIP code the same HS code with 6 zeros added to make it the 12 digit number they use? I’ve got my products HS code, I’m just wondering if that’s what the Turkish Customs Dept does to get 12 digits?

    Reply
  9. Please treat this very urgent.
    I want to take one order for export , But the coustmer is asking for HS Code.
    I have no idea regarding this codes and all.
    Please help me.
    The material description is as follow :-
    Steel Round Bar
    Quality :- C 45 N
    Your early and positive reply in this regards will be highly appreciated.

    Reply
  10. Please treat it very urgently. I am about to import artificial jewelry from US and i want to know that what is there HS code. I have asked the importer/whole seller but they are not providing me the required information. Please help me.

    Reply
  11. Dear sir,i would. like. to know the. H s Code for our various. specialty. sugars like. Castor. sugar , demerara. sugar , Light. Brown. Sugar ,Icing. Sugar ,Lump. Sugar, Pharma. sugar used. for manufacturing various. pharma. products . Sir. l want to know when Sugar is banned in India. then our above. all specialty products are. banned by Govt. of India for exports. Whereas our quantity is very small & fetches. value. addition but still. this is a problem. how we should. be exumpeted from this problem. of ban? pl. answer & guide us how to proceed further. Awaiting. ur soonest reply. with. Regards ……. Samyak Lodha. +91-93261-92191.

    Reply
  12. Hello – Iam from Egypt –
    I have urgent shipment and need to know what’s HS CODE for the Egyptian Marble
    Please note that it’s cut and polished
    Neeed help,

    Regards,

    Reply
    • Hi I’m kausar from bangladesh and i want to import rubber shoes from china so please tell me the hs code of rubber shoes.waiting for your reply.thanks.

  13. We are in the business of animal health and there has been lot of confusion on Pure vitamins and formulated vitamins, formulated vitamins with minerals, and also somtimes with antibiotics. Kindly explain in with HS code do they fall in and why.
    Let us assume I have feedsupplement of vitamins contains formulated with number of vitamins, with or without minerals and antibiotics, kindly explain where does it falls in HScode

    Reply
  14. What is H. S. Code for Plates made of Porous Silicon Carbide? These are to be used as setter plates in Kiln or Sintering Press.

    Reply
  15. We are a furniture removal company wanting to send a consignment of used household and personal effects by sea to Luanda. Please advise what HS Code to use for this mixed load.

    Regards,

    John

    Reply
  16. What is the HS Code for exporting Aluminum Used Can Beverages to Thailand ? i would like to have the Code asap please .

    Reply
  17. any one can possible to explain. how to import the electronics good from the china, what is the formalities, with payment detail & registration details?

    Reply
  18. how to apply the HS code? , how many days to get the number? , how much we want to pay?. can i import the electronics from china?

    Reply
  19. Kindly forward me the HS Code for South Africa. (for surgical spirits )

    Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Best regards

    Lindy Van Zyl
    Electronic Technology

    Reply

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