How To Find The Right HS Code For Your International Shipment

Codes, passwords, keys; you can’t get away from them these days. And it’s true in the shipping world.

For shipping goods internationally, you’re going to need the right HS code. If you don’t know what it is, or where to find one, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

In this post I’ll tell you what it is, what it’s used for, and where to find the right one for your international shipment.

What is an HS Code?

The HS (Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System) Code is a 6–10 digit number that is required for all international shipments. This number is used by customs to identify the products shipped across international borders. HS Code numbers are organized into 21 sections which are then divided into 97 chapters, so they can be very specific.

Here is an example of how specific HS Codes are:

660110 is the HS code for garden or similar umbrellas

660191 is the HS code for umbrellas, having a telescopic shaft

660199 is the HS code for other umbrellas and sun umbrellas

Every commonly traded product has a corresponding HS Code, the trick is finding the right one.

For exporting, the U.S. uses a 10-digit number called Schedule B. Schedule B is a classification system that is based upon the Harmonized System, so don’t be confused. The first six digits of the Schedule B and Harmonized System numbers are the same, the last 4 will correspond to the country you’re exporting to.

The Harmonized System is an international standardized classification system used by over 200 countries. It is maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO), an independent intergovernmental organization based in Brussels, Belgium.

What are HS Codes used for?

The Harmonized System is used as the basis for collecting international trade statistics. Customs authorities use HS Codes to apply duties, taxes and regulations on internationally shipped products.

Where to find the right HS Code for your shipment

In Canada, you can find your HS Code at

http://www.canadapost.ca/cpotools/apps/wtz/business/findHsCode?execution=e1s1

In the U.S. you can find your HS/Schedule B code at http://www.census.gov/scheduleb

Or check out http://www.hscode.org/

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