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Know Your Export Product Classification

Nov 18, 2013

 Compliance information for meeting government agency and shipping company requirements is always more detailed for export products than when selling similar products to a domestic market. This compliance information is transferred in certificates of origin, commercial invoices, and NAFTA certificate of origin if shipping to Canada or Mexico, among other product-specific export documentation.

 

The first requirement is to determine your product classification. Every product imported and exported is assigned a classification code corresponding to the type of product. These codes are used for statistical-reporting purposes by countries worldwide and also used by custom officials to determine tariffs. Under the Foreign Trade Regulations, exporters are legally required to include the correct classification code on export documentation.

 

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) codes are used to classify products for customs.  The use of these standardized codes ensures that custom officials are referring to the same item when classifying the product for tariff rates.

 

The HS assigns a specific six-digit code to classify all products or commodities with the country option to create an additional four-digit code to provide more product detail. In the US, a 10-digit code is used to classify products and is referred to as the Schedule B number.

 

 

For example, HS code and Schedul B number to export women’s knitted wool sweaters:

62.10     ...Sweaters or similar, knitted

62.10.11     ... Of wool                                                   HS

 62.10.11. 0020    ... women’s wool                Schedule B 

 

 Exporters need to know the product HS code and Schedule B number:

 

  • To determine import tariff rates for the destination country and determine whether a product qualifies for a preferential or lower tariff under a free-trade agreement such as NAFTA.
  • To complete the required shipping documents.
  • To comply with export license requirements, if applicable.

 

Exporters can find the Schedule B number by using the free online Schedule B search at http://www.census.gov/scheduleb

 



Category: International

John Privette


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