Monday, June 15, 2009

Classification Using the HTSUS

Classification is the process of assigning the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTSUS) number that best describes the product being imported. Classification is necessary to determine the appropriate duty rate in order to calculate the amount of duties owed to CBP for imported merchandise. Additionally, the classifications reported to CBP are used by the Bureau of Census to analyze trade data.

This series in classification may also be useful to persons assigning Schedule B numbers for exports. Every item that is imported and exported is assigned a unique 10-digit identification code. HTS numbers and Schedule B numbers will be the same up to the first six (6) digits. With some exceptions, the codes contained in the HTSUS can be used instead of Schedule B codes for reporting exports in the Automated Export System (AES). The Census Bureau has published a short list of HTSUS numbers that may not be used for reporting exports in AES. The appropriate Schedule B numbers must be used in place of the HTS numbers on the list. In addition to these exclusions, codes from Chapter 98 of the HTSUS may not be used in AES.

Brokers, exporters and importers must use reasonable care in fulfilling their responsibilities involving the classification of merchandise. One of the most important tasks of a broker is to report accurate information concerning import transactions. In order to do this, the broker must become skilled in classification of merchandise. However, the importer and exporter have the legal duty to provide the correct classification of merchandise for purposes of the import entry and completion of the AES. Therefore, it is important for all of the “trade professionals” to develop classification skills. Classification is a complex process, so it takes some training and practice for trade professionals to become proficient. We hope that this series of blog articles about various products and chapters of the HTSUS will provide our readers some additional expertise. Before we get started with the first topic next week, we wanted to provide a list of some of the resources that are helpful in the classification process.

Next Monday, we will discuss the classification of a specific commodity. If you have any specific commodities or sections of the HTSUS that you would like to see discussed in this series, please feel free to post a comment or send your suggestions to

Note: For ease of reference, we will use the term “trade professional” to encompass brokers, exporters and importers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am sooooo glad you are going to do this as a series. I've been needing some extra help and look forward to seeing what you have.