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Exporting Basics Appendix

APPENDIX: Commodity Classification Codes

The most widely used trade classification codes are: the Harmonized System (HS) Code, a universal standard; the Schedule B and Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA); and the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC), used by the United Nations.

Other coding systems may be used to categorize products by industry sector rather than for trade purposes, such as the North American Industry Classification System(NAICS) and the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC). NAICS is the new standard code system to describe business establishments and industries in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, replacing the SIC codes. The NAICS, adopted in 1997-98, was developed to provide a consistent framework for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of industrial statistics. Of the 1,170 NAICS codes, 358 are new industries, 390 are revised from SIC, and 422 can be compared tothe older SIC codes.

  • Harmonized System (HS) Code, a universal standard. The HS Codes were developed in 1989 by more than 60 countries to provide a uniform numbering system. The HS system allows everyone to use a single code for a commodity, which helps with duty calculation and statistical reporting. The first 6 digits of an HS number are the same regardless of country. The HS number can be as long as 10 digits (each country can add up to 4 more digits for internal purposes.
  • Schedule B and Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA), for U.S. exports and imports. The 10-digit Schedule B and HTSUSA codes start with the first 6 digits of the HS codes and are required entries on U.S. export (Shipper’s Export Declaration) and import documents, respectively.

  • Standard International Trade Classification (SITC), used by the United Nations. The SITC system was developed by the United Nations in 1950 and is used solely by international organizations for reporting international trade. The SITC has been revised several times; the current version is Revision 3.

To look up codes for specific products, see:

  • Commodity Translation Wizard – A concordance that translates an 8-digit or 10-digit HTS item number into its corresponding SIC, SITC or NAIC code number; or an SIC, SITC or NAIC classification code number into its corresponding 8-digit and 10-digit HTS item numbers.

  • SITC Codes –drill down to find the SITC code for a specified product, up to 5 digits.

  • Schedule B Export Codes – search by keyword or browse through categories to find 10-digit Schedule B number for specific products.

  • NAICS Translator -- identifies NAICS codes and correlates them with the previously used SIC codes.


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