You 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 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 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 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 26 – Ores, slag and ash
Chapter 27 – Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes
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 40 – Rubber and articles thereof
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 45 – Cork and articles of cork
Chapter 46 – Manufactures of straw, of esparto or of other plaiting materials; basketware and wickerwork
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 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 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 69 – Ceramic products
Chapter 70 – Glass and glassware
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 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 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 91 – Clocks and watches and parts thereof
Chapter 92 – Musical instruments; parts and accessories of such articles
Chapter 95 – Toys, games and sports requisites; parts and accessories thereof
Chapter 96 – Miscellaneous manufactured articles
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