US Customs HTS Code

US Customs HTS Code

How to Find the Right US Customs HTS Code for Your Products

If you are importing or exporting products to or from the United States, you need to know the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code for your products. The HTS code is a 10-digit number that identifies the product category, subcategory, and specific product for customs purposes. The HTS code determines the duty rate, trade agreements, quotas, and other import or export requirements for your products.

In this article, we will explain what the HTS code is, how to find it, and why it is important for your business. We will also provide some tips and resources to help you avoid common mistakes and save time and money on your international trade transactions.

What is the HTS Code?

The HTS code is part of the Harmonized System (HS), a global classification system for goods that is used by more than 200 countries and territories. The HS consists of six digits that identify the product group, chapter, heading, and subheading. The first four digits are the same for all countries that use the HS, while the last two digits may vary depending on the country’s specific tariff schedule.

The United States adds four more digits to the HS code to create the HTS code, which is more detailed and specific. The first two additional digits are called statistical suffixes, which are used for statistical purposes and do not affect the duty rate. The last two additional digits are called tariff rate suffixes, which indicate the applicable duty rate and any special trade programs or preferences that may apply to the product.

For example, let’s say you want to import coffee beans from Colombia. The HS code for coffee beans is 0901.11. The US HTS code for coffee beans from Colombia is 0901.11.0010. The first six digits are the same as the HS code, while the last four digits indicate that the product is subject to a duty rate of 0% under the US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA).


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How to Find the HTS Code for Your Products?

There are several ways to find the HTS code for your products, depending on your level of expertise, time, and budget. Here are some of the most common methods:

  • Use an online HTS lookup tool. There are many free or paid online tools that allow you to search for the HTS code by entering a product description or keyword. Some of these tools include:
  • The US International Trade Commission (USITC) HTS Search Tool: This is the official source of the US HTS codes and duty rates. You can search by keyword, description, or HTS number, and view detailed information about each product category and subcategory. You can also download the entire HTS database in PDF or Excel format.
  • The Census Bureau Schedule B Search Engine: This tool helps you find the Schedule B number, which is similar to the HTS code but used for export purposes. You can search by keyword or browse by chapter or category. You can also download the entire Schedule B database in PDF or Excel format.
  • The World Customs Organization (WCO) Harmonized System Database: This tool provides access to the HS codes and descriptions for all countries that use the HS system. You can search by keyword or browse by section or chapter. You can also view explanatory notes, amendments, and correlations between different versions of the HS.
  • Hire a customs broker or consultant. If you are not familiar with the HTS system or have complex or high-value products, you may want to hire a professional to help you find the correct HTS code and duty rate for your products. A customs broker or consultant can also assist you with other aspects of customs clearance, such as filing entry documents, paying duties and fees, obtaining permits and licenses, and complying with regulations.
  • Contact the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or other relevant authorities. If you are unsure about the HTS code or duty rate for your products, you can request a binding ruling from CBP or other relevant authorities in your destination country. A binding ruling is a written decision that provides certainty and guidance on how CBP or other authorities will classify and treat your products for customs purposes. You can apply for a binding ruling online through CBP’s eRuling system or by mail.

Why is the HTS Code Important for Your Business?

The HTS code is important for your business because it affects several aspects of your international trade transactions, such as:

  • Duty rate: The HTS code determines how much duty you have to pay when importing or exporting your products. Depending on the product and country of origin or destination, you may be eligible for lower or zero duty rates under various trade agreements or preferences.
  • Trade compliance: The HTS code helps you comply with various trade regulations and requirements that may apply to your products, such as quotas, antidumping duties, countervailing duties, safeguards, sanctions, embargoes, and other restrictions.
  • Trade data and analysis: The HTS code helps you access and analyze trade data and statistics that can help you identify market opportunities, trends, and risks. You can use trade data to compare your products with competitors, evaluate your market share, monitor your trade performance, and optimize your pricing and sourcing strategies.
  • Trade documentation and reporting: The HTS code is required for various trade documents and reports that you have to submit or maintain when importing or exporting your products, such as invoices, packing lists, bills of lading, entry forms, export declarations, and origin certificates.

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Tips and Resources to Help You Find the HTS Code for Your Products

Finding the HTS code for your products can be challenging and time-consuming, especially if you have a large or diverse product portfolio. Here are some tips and resources to help you find the HTS code for your products more easily and accurately:

  • Use clear and specific product descriptions. Avoid using vague or generic terms that may apply to multiple products or categories. Include relevant details such as the product name, model number, size, shape, color, material, function, use, and origin.
  • Use multiple sources and methods. Do not rely on a single source or method to find the HTS code for your products. Cross-check and verify your results using different tools, databases, websites, publications, experts, or authorities.
  • Keep up with changes and updates. The HTS system is constantly changing and evolving to reflect new products, technologies, markets, and trade policies. Stay informed of the latest changes and updates to the HTS system by subscribing to newsletters, alerts, or notifications from relevant sources such as CBP, USITC, WCO, or trade associations.
  • Seek professional advice. If you have any doubts or questions about the HTS code or duty rate for your products, consult a customs broker or consultant who can provide you with expert guidance and assistance. You can also request a binding ruling from CBP or other authorities to obtain certainty and clarity on how they will classify and treat your products for customs purposes.

Trends in US Customs HTS Code Industry

The US Customs HTS Code industry is a vital part of the international trade system, as it provides the tariff rates and statistical categories for all merchandise imported into the United States. The HTS Code is based on the Harmonized System (HS), which is the global system of nomenclature applied to most world trade in goods . In this blog post, we will analyze some of the trends in the US Customs HTS Code industry, based on the data from the US International Trade Commission (USITC) .

Increase in HTS Code Revisions

One of the trends that we can observe is the increase in the number of revisions of the HTS Code over time. According to the USITC, the HTS Code was enacted by Congress and made effective on January 1, 1989, replacing the former Tariff Schedules of the United States. Since then, the HTS Code has been updated regularly to reflect changes in trade patterns, product classifications, and tariff rates. The USITC maintains and publishes the HTS Code (in print and online) pursuant to the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 .

The latest version of the HTS Code is the 2023 Revision 10, which was published on July 24, 2023. This revision contains several modifications made by Presidential Proclamations and other notices, as well as by the World Customs Organization (WCO) Recommendation concerning amendments to the Harmonized System Nomenclature . The 2023 Revision 10 has a total of 22,457 items, which is an increase of 1,072 items from the previous revision (2022 Revision 9) . This shows that the HTS Code industry is constantly evolving and adapting to the changing needs of international trade.

Decrease in Global Demand for Certain Products

Another trend that we can observe is the decrease in global demand for certain products that are classified under specific HTS Codes. This can be inferred from the tariff rates and trade data that are available on the USITC website . For example, one of the products that has experienced a decline in global demand is steel. Steel is classified under Chapter 72 of the HTS Code, which covers iron and steel and their derivatives. According to the USITC data, the total value of imports of iron and steel products under Chapter 72 was $19.6 billion in 2020, which was a decrease of 23.4% from $25.6 billion in 2019 . This indicates that there was less demand for steel products in 2020, possibly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on industrial production and construction activities.

Another product that has seen a drop in global demand is cotton. Cotton is classified under Chapter 52 of the HTS Code, which covers cotton and cotton articles. According to the USITC data, the total value of imports of cotton products under Chapter 52 was $4.8 billion in 2020, which was a decrease of 28.6% from $6.7 billion in 2019 . This suggests that there was less demand for cotton products in 2020, possibly due to the decline in consumer spending on clothing and textiles amid the COVID-19 crisis.

We have analyzed some of the trends in the US Customs HTS Code industry, based on the data from the USITC. We have found that there has been an increase in HTS Code revisions over time, reflecting the dynamic nature of international trade. We have also found that there has been a decrease in global demand for certain products that are classified under specific HTS Codes, such as steel and cotton, due to various factors affecting trade flows. These trends are important to monitor for anyone involved in importing goods into the United States, as they may affect their tariff rates and trade statistics.

References:

http://www.wcoomd.org/en/topics/nomenclature/overview/what-is-the-harmonized-system.aspx

http://www.wcoomd.org/en/about-us/wco-members/membership.aspx

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aaa3141

https://hts.usitc.gov/
https://www.usitc.gov/harmonized_tariff_information

https://hts.usitc.gov/

https://uscensus.prod.3ceonline.com/

http://www.wcoomd.org/en/topics/nomenclature/instrument-and-tools/hs-nomenclature-2017-edition/hs-nomenclature-2017-edition.aspx

https://erulings.cbp.gov/home

https://www.cbp.gov/trade/programs-administration/commercial-targeting-and-analysis-center-ctac/trade-enforcement/tariff-classification



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