HS classification and import duty rates

Customs Tariff

Classification and duty allocation for items are done at Valuation and Tariff Section. Items are categorized according to Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Nomenclature, commonly called the Harmonized System (HS) Codes.

Harmonized System doesn’t govern the duty levied on commodities, it defines the way in which coding of goods are imposed. Therefore no country following the Harmonized System is under any obligation to follow a particular set of duty rates for any product. Duty rates are governed by a country’s legislation.

The HS Convention came into force in 1 January 1988. It has about 101 Contracting Parties (April 2000). In HS there are a total of 6 digits that every country has to follow. Each country has the right to include extra digits to cater for their own individual needs. Accordingly at present we have 10 digit code.

The HS was developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and was implemented on 1 January 1988 by an International Convention (HS Convention). The HS is maintained by the WCO through a committee of Contracting Parties to the Convention (HS Committee). With its logical structure of commodity description in headings and subheadings, identified by 6 digit codes, the HS forms the basic tool for Customs work. It is therefore essential for everyone working with Customs to be familiar with HS.The World Customs Organization updates the HS System approximately every five years. The year 2012 marked the most recent HS revision which we have implemented on 1st January 2012, the next revision will not be due until 2017.

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