You may be asked to provide an HTS code when ordering custom parts internationally. For many, this can be a new and confusing subject. In this article, we’ll try to clarify these codes, why they are essential, and the tools you can use to find relevant HTS codes for your parts.
What is an HTS code?
HTS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule) codes are product classification codes used by United States customs when importing products into the country. They are primarily used to determine the customs duties paid on imports. The codes are typically 8-10 digits long and broken into several parts that classify the goods.
The first six digits of an HTS code are the same as the HS (Harmonized System) codes used by other members of the World Customs Organization (WCO) to classify goods for customs purposes. The subsequent digits are used for further classification in the United States. In the example below, we break down the different parts of HS and HTS codes to provide a better understanding of how they work:
Why is it essential to have a correct HTS code?
Providing a correct HTS code is crucial for several reasons. The biggest reason is to prevent hold-ups and delays at customs. Suppose an exported or imported good is missing classification or appears to be incorrectly classified. In that case, customs agents may hold the items, and the shipment will be cleared once the issue is resolved. This can result in severe delivery delays for your parts.
Another important reason to be accurate in your classifications is to ensure correct duty amounts. If you improperly classify your goods, it’s possible you could be charged duties higher than you should have been, as different goods can have different duty rates associated with them.
Why do customers need to provide HTS codes?
Unlike a specialty manufacturer that produces one type of good, Xometry manufactures custom parts and assemblies for our customers with virtually endless possibilities across a diverse range of industries. Without our customer’s input, the nature of our business makes it nearly impossible to know precisely what each part we produce is intended to be used for. For liability reasons, we cannot guess what a part will be used for to determine its classification; therefore, we ask our customers to provide the relevant HTS code for their goods.
How do you find HTS codes?
The best way to find the right HTS code for your product is to use an HTS search or lookup tool. The U.S. International Trade Commission has a tool you can use here: https://hts.usitc.gov/. Using a tool like this, you can search for keywords to pull up results related to your search, then choose the code which classifies your product the best.
For additional information about HS and HTS codes, you can visit the International Trade Administration’s website here: https://www.trade.gov/harmonized-system-hs-codes