Overview of Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States should be second nature to the importer
from China or from any other country. It forms the basis for classifying the imported
goods and establishing the tariff or duty rates. Like most government documents,
the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States appears complex in language and
structure. Here is an easy guide to demystifying the Harmonized Tariff Schedule
of the United States.
Guide to Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
A Harmonized Tariff Classification is a 10 digit number used to identify a specific
Example: 7117.11.00 00 corresponds to Cuff links and studs
The first two digits:
(71) of this classification are a reference to the appropriate chapter within the
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. As of 2010, there are 99 chapters
within the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.
Chapter 71 is described as "Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semiprecious
stones, precious metals, metals clad with precious metal, and articles thereof; Imitation
The first four digits combined:
(7117) represent the article's heading within that chapter. In this case, it is
"Imitation jewelry: of base metal, whether or not plated with precious metal"
Last six digits
(11.00.00) break that heading down into subheadings. This subheading corresponds
to "cuff links and studs"
For each classification of goods, there are 3 columns of tariffs within the Harmonized
Tariff Schedule. Each column provides a different tax rate depending on the country
Column 1 is the tariff rate for most countries. For 7117.11.00 00, it is 8%.
Column 2 is the special duty rates for specific countries. In most cases, they are
the most favored nations. The rates in column 2 are usually less than column 1 to
encourage trade with certain countries.
For 7117.11.00 00, it is "Free" or no tariffs
for the countries of AU (Australia), BH (Bahrain) , CA (Canada), CL (Chile), E, IL
(Israel), JO (Jordan), MA (Morocco), MX (Mexico), OM (Oman), PE (Peru)and SG (Singapore).
The free rate also applies to countries under the Special Tariff Classifications
in the United States with symbols: A, J or P.
Countries with "A" symbols as described
under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). These are developing nations.
By providing same low tariffs as most favored nations, the goal is to encourage
economic development with the developing countries.
Countries with "J" symbol - under
the Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA), its purpose is to proclaim duty-free treatment
for eligible articles from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Bolivia was suspended
in 2008 as an ATPA beneficiary.
Countries with "P" symbol as described by The Central
America-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). The seven
signatories of this agreement were the United States, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic,
El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
Column 3 is the tariff rate for restricted countries such as Cuba and North Korea.
The rates in column 3 are usually the highest to discourage trade with restricted
countries. For 7117.11.00 00, it is 110%.
In addition to classifications and tariff schedules, the importer should also read
the notes section within the individual chapters. It contains vital details on what
is covered or not covered within the chapter of goods.
For instance, chapter 71 (Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semiprecious stones,
precious metals, metals clad with precious metal, and articles thereof; Imitation
jewelry; coin) does not cover footwear or headgear.
Armed with this knowledge of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States,
the entrepreneur who wants to import from China or from any other country can quickly
find customs information on the imported goods.
Gabriela M. - Import from China to USA
“Thank you for the information on importing from China into the US. You’ve made this
complicated tax stuff really easy to understand. God bless you for sharing your expertise.”