What is a HS Code..??

You would have seen this terminology across many documentation or correspondences..

What does this HS Code really mean, who uses it and what is it used for..??

HS Code which for Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System has become the worldwide standard for describing a commodity in a standardised way across various platforms and authorities like customs and port..

Every commodity that enters or crosses international borders is to be declared to customs by means of this code.. These codes are used extensively in electronic messages such as EDIFACT..

The HS Code

  • is identified by a six-digit code;
  • consists of 5,000 odd commodity groups covered in 99 Chapters containing 21 Sections;
  • is arranged in a legal and logical structure; and

The International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs procedures, otherwise known as the Kyoto Convention, came into effect in 1974 and has revised and updated the code to ensure that it meets the current demands of governments and international trade.

For example, it details the application of simple yet efficient procedures and contains new and obligatory rules for its application which all Contracting Parties must accept. As of January 2017, the Kyoto Convention has 106 Contracting Parties (or signatories).

As of 2017, the HS Code has 99 Chapters covering 21 Sections which maybe accessed here..

Here is some further information about the HS Codes from WCO website..

What is HS CodeThe Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System generally referred to as “Harmonized System” or simply “HS” is a multipurpose international product nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).

It comprises about 5,000 commodity groups; each identified by a six digit code, arranged in a legal and logical structure and is supported by well-defined rules to achieve uniform classification.

The system is used by more than 200 countries and economies as a basis for their Customs tariffs and for the collection of international trade statistics. Over 98 % of the merchandise in international trade is classified in terms of the HS.

The HS contributes to the harmonization of Customs and trade procedures, and the non-documentary trade data interchange in connection with such procedures, thus reducing the costs related to international trade.

It is also extensively used by governments, international organizations and the private sector for many other purposes such as internal taxes, trade policies, monitoring of controlled goods, rules of origin, freight tariffs, transport statistics, price monitoring, quota controls, compilation of national accounts, and economic research and analysis. The HS is thus a universal economic language and code for goods, and an indispensable tool for international trade.


The Harmonized System is governed by “The International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System”. The official interpretation of the HS is given in the Explanatory Notes (5 volumes in English and French) published by the WCO. The Explanatory Notes are also available on online and on CD-ROM, as part of a database which groups all the available HS Tools, by adding to the information on the Nomenclature, the Compendium of Classification Opinions and the Explanatory Notes, that relating to the Alphabetical Index and the Brochure on Classification Decisions taken by the Harmonized System Committee.

The maintenance of the HS is a WCO priority. This activity includes measures to secure uniform interpretation of the HS and its periodic updating in light of developments in technology and changes in trade patterns. The WCO manages this process through the Harmonized System Committee (representing the Contracting Parties to the HS Convention), which examines policy matters, takes decisions on classification questions, settles disputes and prepares amendments to the Explanatory Notes. The HS Committee also prepares amendments updating the HS every 5 – 6 years.

Decisions concerning the interpretation and application of the Harmonized System, such as classification decisions and amendments to the Explanatory Notes or to the Compendium of Classification Opinions, become effective two months after the approval by the HS Committee. These are reflected in the amending supplements of the relevant WCO Publications.


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49 comments on “What is a HS Code..??”

  1. By Deepak Bhardwaj Reply

    HS Code is used to classify the product in import export business. It is called by different names in different countries like HSN Code in India, HTS Code in USA, NCM Code in Brazil and BTKI in Indonesia.

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  3. By Ali Salim Reply


    very informative article and thankyou for the updated list . I would like to know how can we calculate duty for multiple items , say I have 2 items one is showing according to the HS that it has a duty of 1% and the other is 2% .. the total duty how much shall it be on the declared value invoice by the clearing agent ? 3% or 2% or 1.5% or how much ?

    • By Hariesh Manaadiar

      Hi Ali, depending on the country where you are from regulations on such calculations might vary.. Best option would be for you to discuss with customs or a certified clearing agent to understand more..

  4. By Jason Reply

    Is it mandatory to show the HS code on Bill of Lading for shipment to Karachi from Singapore ?


  5. By Basil Reply

    Good day,
    What is the HS Code for the Furniture made of MDF board, Solid Wood, Acrylic, Duratrans, Aluminium, Corian.

  6. By Dharti Patel Reply

    Hello, I want to know more about the effect due changes that UN has recently made on the multiple CPC products of cotton and plastics that the various HS codes have been transformed to one HS code of 96190090.

  7. By MD. HAZRAT ALI Reply

    What is the actual harmonized code of 4 ply offset printing blanket (in roll, not cut to shape)


    Nd. Hazrat ali

  8. By Rahul Kumar Reply


    Actually i want to know all process about import and export and what is HS code or etc. so could you please share me the same what i want.


    rahul kumar

  9. By andrew.thav@gmail.com Reply

    hi, how can i download all chapters of HS code for your above mentioned? could you pls share to me. thanks in advance.

    • By emblein

      will it not fall under chapter 84? the chapters are vague, aren’t they? like chapters 84 and 85, how can we really differentiate. confusing.

  10. By Mac Moretz, MD Reply

    is the Turkish GTIP code the same HS code with 6 zeros added to make it the 12 digit number they use? I’ve got my products HS code, I’m just wondering if that’s what the Turkish Customs Dept does to get 12 digits?

  11. By Shrenik Shah Reply

    Please treat this very urgent.
    I want to take one order for export , But the coustmer is asking for HS Code.
    I have no idea regarding this codes and all.
    Please help me.
    The material description is as follow :-
    Steel Round Bar
    Quality :- C 45 N
    Your early and positive reply in this regards will be highly appreciated.

  12. By Samina Tahir Reply

    Please treat it very urgently. I am about to import artificial jewelry from US and i want to know that what is there HS code. I have asked the importer/whole seller but they are not providing me the required information. Please help me.

  13. By samyak Lodha Reply

    Dear sir,i would. like. to know the. H s Code for our various. specialty. sugars like. Castor. sugar , demerara. sugar , Light. Brown. Sugar ,Icing. Sugar ,Lump. Sugar, Pharma. sugar used. for manufacturing various. pharma. products . Sir. l want to know when Sugar is banned in India. then our above. all specialty products are. banned by Govt. of India for exports. Whereas our quantity is very small & fetches. value. addition but still. this is a problem. how we should. be exumpeted from this problem. of ban? pl. answer & guide us how to proceed further. Awaiting. ur soonest reply. with. Regards ……. Samyak Lodha. +91-93261-92191.

  14. By Hossam Reply

    Hello – Iam from Egypt –
    I have urgent shipment and need to know what’s HS CODE for the Egyptian Marble
    Please note that it’s cut and polished
    Neeed help,


    • By SM Kausar

      Hi I’m kausar from bangladesh and i want to import rubber shoes from china so please tell me the hs code of rubber shoes.waiting for your reply.thanks.

  15. By Eric Ng Reply

    Hi what is the HS Code for exporting ship spares to ZONE PORTUAIRE DEGRAD DES CANNES


  16. By R.R.Niraula Reply

    We are in the business of animal health and there has been lot of confusion on Pure vitamins and formulated vitamins, formulated vitamins with minerals, and also somtimes with antibiotics. Kindly explain in with HS code do they fall in and why.
    Let us assume I have feedsupplement of vitamins contains formulated with number of vitamins, with or without minerals and antibiotics, kindly explain where does it falls in HScode

  17. By A. N. Harshe Reply

    What is H. S. Code for Plates made of Porous Silicon Carbide? These are to be used as setter plates in Kiln or Sintering Press.

  18. By John Reply

    We are a furniture removal company wanting to send a consignment of used household and personal effects by sea to Luanda. Please advise what HS Code to use for this mixed load.



  19. By Brown Lima Reply

    What is the HS Code for exporting Aluminum Used Can Beverages to Thailand ? i would like to have the Code asap please .

  20. By Salem Mandour Reply

    Thanks & appriciated for your effort & useful web site.

    Best Regards..,
    Salem Mandour

  21. By rishe Reply

    any one can possible to explain. how to import the electronics good from the china, what is the formalities, with payment detail & registration details?

  22. By rishe Reply

    how to apply the HS code? , how many days to get the number? , how much we want to pay?. can i import the electronics from china?

  23. By Lindy Van Zyl Reply

    Kindly forward me the HS Code for South Africa. (for surgical spirits )

    Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Best regards

    Lindy Van Zyl
    Electronic Technology

    • By Nagy ali

      Please what is HS code in Inda for copper lamp if I send from Egypt ?