What Is a Harmonized System Tariff Classification Number?


Quick Answer

A harmonized system tariff classification number is a 10-digit number in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, which is used in the United States to classify imported goods, as of 2015, according to Export.gov. The U.S. International Trade Commission administers the HTS import classification system. The United States uses 10-digit Schedule B numbers to classify goods it exports to other countries. The Foreign Trade Division of the U.S. Commerce Department's Census Bureau administers the U.S. export classification system Schedule B numbers.

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Full Answer

The harmonized system is a classification protocol that customs officials use as an international standard to control quotas and levy tariffs on imported goods, explains Export.gov. The World Customs Organization administers the worldwide system that forms the basis for the United States' import and export classification systems. The United States derives the 10-digit numbers that it uses from the international HS codes. An importing country's classification code, a harmonized system number, and a Schedule B number all begin with the same first six digits. Regardless of its size, every physical product has a Schedule B number.

There are fewer Schedule B numbers than harmonized tariff schedule numbers, which indicates there is more detailed information on goods that the United States receives as imports than on goods that it exports, notes Export.gov. The WCO updates the harmonized system every five years.

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