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News Overview > What Is an HTS Code? Definition

What Is an HTS Code? Definition

29 April 2024 |

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What is an HTS code? It is a 10-digit code belonging to the system of classification used in the US to categorize imported goods. Interestingly enough, the first 6 digits of HTS codes are actually the HS codes (international classification system accepted worldwide), and only the final 4 digits are unique to this system. Do you want to learn more? Then read on!

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What Is an HTS Code?

HTS or Harmonized Tariff Schedule is a set of tariff rates and categories regarding goods imported to the US. These codes are overlooked and administered by the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

What is an HTS code, then? It’s the specific, ten-digit-long number assigned to the product. The first six digits correspond to the Harmonized System (HS) codes, while the final 4 are US-specific and provide further information and categorization on the given goods.

Why are HTS codes important when sending your parcel from the UK to the US? They are used to navigate the legislative side of import. For example, they enable precise recognition of which fees or restrictions apply to the given products. While the ITC governs them, it’s actually the customs that you should ask if you are in any doubt regarding the codes or your goods’ classification.

Managing HTS codes properly is important, since mistakes might slow down your shipments significantly. Thus, you need to pay attention to even the slightest details and work with the best experts to ensure that you use the correct codes every time.

HTS vs. HS Codes vs. Schedule B

Knowing what an HTS code is, you should have no trouble differentiating it from other codes used in international trade to or from the US. Nevertheless, if you’re still unsure of the difference, here are the other, commonly mistaken codes compared.

HTS codes:

  • HTS codes are used to classify only those products that are imported to the US. They are 10 digits long, with the first 6 digits being the HS code of the product.

Schedule B Codes:

  • Schedule B codes are used to classify only those products that are exported from the US. They are 10 digits long, and the first 6 digits correspond to the HS code of the product.

HS codes:

  • HS codes are used by all the members of the World Customs Organization. They are 6 digits long, with the first 2 digits identifying the chapter in the HS Nomenclature, the next two digits defining the heading within this document, and the last two digits depicting the subchapter.

As you can see, the customs clearance codes can get quite complicated – you’ll use different ones depending on the country and even the direction of the transaction. This means that you might need to operate on different codes depending on whether you’re just sending your products to the US or, for example, managing returns. At Landmark Global, we understand that this might be tricky; therefore, we offer you our expertise in customs clearance services through our Landmark Global Trade Services, allowing you to ensure a smooth customs clearance process.

HS or HTS codes are a part of our backbone, ensuring smooth clearance and compliance. They guide our team in accurately classifying goods, minimizing delays, and optimizing import/export processes." Peter Smet,

Sr. Director Trade Services Europe, Landmark Global
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Navigating the HTS Codes

As a seller, you are responsible for using proper HTS codes when importing your goods to the US. This means that you need to know how to overcome certain challenges and approach them in a way that won’t compromise your operations in the future. Here is some advice on how to do this.

Use the HTS Site to Find the Right Code

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule is a document that you can navigate through to find the codes for your goods. If you enter the site linked, you’ll see that the products are already categorized, so it’s easier to locate your goods on the list. However, you need to remember that it’s not always possible to find exact match HTS codes – this is why it’s highly beneficial to work with customs clearance experts, such as Landmark Global. We have extensive experience that we can use to classify your products, even in the most tricky cases.

Pick the Most Appropriate Code

In many situations, you might find several codes that could work for your product, but neither of them is an exact match. If this occurs, try to find the code that is the most accurate for your product – not the one that is the most beneficial for you.

Understand Trade Agreements

No matter whether you ship your goods from the UK or wish to do this from any other country, be sure to check international trade agreements. They often impact the tariffs, reducing the rates or eliminating them completely. You can find more detailed information in section XXII – Special Classification Provisions.

Remember that these might change with time, so stay up to date with this section. Or, rely on experts in navigating customs and HTS codes – we know when the changes occur and what their impact on trade is, so we will help you keep your customs clearance up to date.

Customs Clearance with Landmark Global

You know that we can help you with applying the proper HTS codes and streamline your operations, but that’s not all. Our customs clearance teams can do much more than that. Why should you work with us?

  • We will ensure that the correct data is provided and compliant with customs regulations. This means goods won’t be held up, and the risk of delay is reduced to a minimum. With us, you will deliver your products on time, every time.

  • We will help you avoid shipment problems, costly duties, and taxes by taking advantage of the UK-EU trade agreement.

  • You will stimulate customer satisfaction thanks to us calculating the final cost of transactions, inclusive of all duties, taxes, and shipping costs at checkout and all in the customers’ preferred currency.

  • We will help you stay ahead of the curve by remaining compliant with the latest legislation in target markets.

The Takeaway

What is an HTS code? It’s a ten-digit number assigned to products imported to the US and used to define tariffs and understand the restrictions regarding particular products. It’s important to be aware of the different codes and navigate through these categorizations effectively, as mistakes might lead to long delays, hence hindering your business operations.

You might also read: Navigating Cross-Border E-commerce with Jonathan Matchett

Open your world

Landmark Global is the trusted international logistics partner that powers your e-commerce growth. Reaching up to 220 destinations, our services include international parcel delivery, customs clearance solutions and returns management. It’s our business to deliver your promise, wherever, whenever

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