What is the Harmonized Tariff Schedule?

The United States and Canada share the longest physical international border and that means Clearit customs brokerage deal with regular and common trade between the two countries.  Simple travel between the two countries is also pretty common, with many people going back and forth almost like the border does not even exist! A mentality like this, of course, is the great benefit of an extremely favorable relationship between the US and Canadian governments.

If you travel between the US and Canada often, though, you might come to find that you have to pay tariffs on some of the things you bring with you.  This might not be applicable all the time but it is important to understand tariffs if you are bringing high-value items back and forth. Obviously, importers are more regularly affected by tariffs than casual domestic travelers.

Tariffs are important because they deter people from trafficking dangerous or unfairly competitive goods; or, more realistically, deter consumers from buying them.  They help to maintain fair trade regulations.

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule

If you were to move, however, from the United States to Canada, there is a good chance you will have to pay import fees (tariffs).  And if you want to anticipate what you could be looking to pay, you could learn a little about the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, which is also known as the Harmonized System.  This is a system developed by the World Customs Organization to establish a regulated set of fees on various consumer goods that are commonly traded across all international borders.  Each good in the HS has its own code as described in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.

Harmonized Tariff Schedule Codes

Anytime you bring consumer goods from the US into Canada, it is basically an act of import. Sure, it may not be your endgame to sell your possessions, but these regulations ensure that those who do intend to sell these goods, do so in a fair way.

When you cross the border, then, you could have to pay a tariff based on the Harmonized System and Harmonized Tariff Schedule.  This is a code—a set of numbers—that numerically describe a product’s classification.

The code is typically 7 to 10 digits with certain digits designating specific classifications.

In the code 0901.21.0010, for example, the first pair (09) of digits designates coffee or tea. The second pair (01) designates that the product is “whole” and not processed.  The third pair (21) is a subheading for “not decaffeinated;” the fourth pair (00) certifies the coffee as “organic”.

Post Author: Kacy Tami