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What is the Harmonized System (HS) Code?

Published 09 Dec 2020

What is the Harmonized System (HS) Code?

What is the Harmonized System (HS) Code?


The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, also known as the Harmonized System (HS) of tariff nomenclature is an internationally standardized system of numbers to classify traded products. It consists of 12 digits and was developed and maintained by the World Customs Organization.


The Harmonized System constitutes the basis of each country's tariff schedule. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding Systems is an international commercial classification system used for all goods subject to international trade. All products traded in the Harmonized System are classified within a certain logic and systematic framework. According to the tariff schedule, there are 21 chapters and 96 headings.


The composition of the HS code


The first 6 digits of this code are determined by the Harmonized System and no changes are allowed by countries. The next 2 digits and the first 8 digits are common to countries in the same region (for example, all European Union member states and Turkey). The next 2 digits indicate which nation they belong to, while the final two digits indicate the full statistical code of the product.




Example: Red Lentils






Red Lentils






As in the table above, lentils which are in the family of dried legumes are classified in the code 071340 in all three countries. However, lentil varieties may differ after the 6-digit code. In some cases, both detail codes and detail product grouping may be different after the 6-digit code. You can easily find the HS code of the products you want to pass through customs procedures on the internet.


For what is the HS code used?


The Harmonized System is used for the determination of custom duties, the statistics for international trade, the detection of rules about “origins of goods”, the determination of local taxes, trade negotiations and the tracking of taxes and statistics for the control of foreign trade.


Regulations related to the Harmonized System at the international level are made by the World Customs Organization. In every country there is a different ministry or governmental organization that deals with the HS code regulations. At customs, products are traded through these codes. There is a HS code for each item/item group.


Visit our website to ensure that your customs clearances are handled smoothly with experienced customs agencies. At Frachtbox you can access the contact details of customs agents in many regions of the world and contact them directly.