An HS or HTS code stands for Harmonized System or Harmonized Tariff Schedule. Developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the codes are used to classify and define internationally traded goods. In most cases, in order to import or export a product internationally, the traded good must be assigned an HTS code that corresponds with the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the country of import1.
The difference between an HS code and HTS code is the number of digits within the code. A code with six digits is a universal standard (HS Code) and a code with 7-10 digits (HTS Code) is often unique after the 6th digit and determined by individual countries of import.
These codes are important because they not only determine the tariff/duty rate of the traded product, but they also keep a record of international trade statistics that are used in nearly 200 countries. For example, the United States Census uses these codes to determine the value, quantities, weights, countries traded with, and more, of every product that the United States imports and exports.
|Definition & Example for U.S HTS Code|
|Chapter||09||Coffee, Tea, Matte and Spices|
|Heading||0901||Coffee, Whether Or Not Roasted Or Decaffeinated; Coffee Husk, and Skins Coffee substitutes containing Coffee.|
|Sub Heading||0901.21||Coffee, Roasted, Not Decaffeinated|
|Statistical Suffix||0901.21.0010||Coffee, Roasted, Not Decaffeinated, Certified Organic|
1. In rare cases an item may need a clarification or ruling from the customs to properly assign it the correct HS/HTS code, due to an ambiguity. In US, Customs Ruling are available online at https://rulings.cbp.gov/home