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HTS Codes, HS Classification, Duty Rates

Classify FAQ

Q: What is an HS code or Harmonized System code?
A: An HS commodity code or harmonized commodity code is an internationally standardized code assigned to a product and maintained by the World Customs Organization. Almost all countries use HS codes to determine tariff classification and corresponding duty rates. An HS code is a six-digit code and used on the international and national level.

Q: Do HS codes ever change or update?
A: Yes, they can and do get revised. With the thousands of codes available staying on top of revisions is essential. TRG Classify™

Q: What is an HTS code or Harmonized Tariff Schedule code?
A: Individual countries add a suffix to the International HS code for country specific identification. The United States uses a Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code, which identifies the composition and origin of the goods as well as the commodity duty information. The HTS code is by and large 10 digits.

Q: What do I use my HTS code for?
A: All products entered into the U.S. are required by law to be declared by means of the HTS code. For goods entering the U.S. by ocean carrier, the HTS code must be present on the Importer Security Filing (ISF). The ISF is a mandatory filing made 24 hours prior to the goods leaving the foreign port. The tariff code is also a required element of the U.S. Customs entry and required for all modes of entry transportation. TRG also operates a program, known as TRG Direct™, for U.S. importers to file the ISF and Customs entry in-house.

Q: What is HTS Classification?
A: HTS Classification is the process of identifying what HTS code has been assigned to a commodity. This is the primary function of TRG Classify™.

Q: Who is liable for accurate HTS classification?
A: As stated in Section 484 of the Tariff Act, as amended, (19 U.S.C. 1484), “the importer of record is responsible for using reasonable care to enter, classify and determine the value of imported merchandise…an importer of record’s failure to exercise reasonable care could delay release of merchandise and, in some cases could result in the imposition of penalties.” As an importer, it is in your best interest NOT to rely on overseas suppliers or Customs House Brokers to classify your goods.

Q: What happens if my goods are misclassified?
A: Depending on U.S. Customs’ assessment of the error, shipment delays or monetary penalties will be enforced for each violation. The importer of record is liable for errors in misclassification. With TRG Classify™ you have first-hand access to extensive knowledge of international trade classification experts, but the control remains with you.

Q: How does TRG Classify™ find my HTS code?
A: Using the user’s general product description, TRG Classify™ applies the “General Rules of Interpretation” (GRI) of the tariff schedule and in seconds intuitively provides the user with the exact tariff number.

For example: TRG Classify™ understands that an “electric toothbrush” must be classified under “Electro-mechanical domestic appliances, with self-contained electric motor, other than vacuum cleaners of heading 85.08. Other.” The intellectual capacity behind TRG Classify™ takes the guess work out of classification.

Q: Why should I classify my goods through TRG Classify™ rather than using my Customs broker?
A: In the past, the duties of a Customs broker, including classification, were outsourced. As U.S. Customs began automating the processes involved with U.S. imports, such as Customs clearance and duty payments, like-minded software developers began exploring ways for companies to automate their processes as well.

Today, importers have access to information electronically that in the past they did not. TRG has invested great resources into developing a start to finish do-it-yourself Customs clearance program. TRG Classify™ is a stepping stone within this process and is offered as a stand-alone application or within the entire Customs clearance module of TRG.

TRG Classify™ allows you to minimize Customs duties, assure Customs compliance, reduce brokerage fees, and automate processes.

Q: What is a duty rate?
A: The duty rate assigned to a commodity dictates the percentage of the good’s value that the importer of record will owe in Customs taxes. Prior to purchasing goods from overseas, it’s in the importer’s best interest to have a measurement of the amount of duty that will be paid to U.S. Customs annually. The size of the U.S. Customs bond will be determined by the amount of duty paid by the importer each year. TRG is a direct provider of U.S. Customs bonds. TRG Bond™ can seamlessly assist you in placing a new bond or replacing your current bond for half the cost than other providers.

Q: Can I find my duty rate with TRG Classify™?
A: Of course! It is a one-step process with TRG Classify™ to find your HS code, HTS code, and duty rate. With one simple search and in just seconds, you have this vital information in your hands. You can then move forward to file your Importer Security Filing and even your Customs entry all in-house. TRG is a one stop shop for do-it-yourself Customs clearance.

Q: How do I pay my duties to U.S. Customs?
A: Direct-filers: If you are using or plan to utilize TRG Direct™ for in-house entry clearance, you pay your previous month’s duties on the 15th of every month via Automated Clearing House (ACH). TRG Direct™ walks you through this process during the set-up of your direct filing program.

ACE – Customs’ Automated Commercial Environment allows importers and/or Customs brokers to create an account for payment of customs duties electronically.

If you are not a direct filer, you or your Customs broker will most likely have an Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) account set up.

Q: When was TRG Classify™ created?
A: TRG Classify™ was created in 1991 and has been delivering accurate HS codes to contracted users operating high search volumes. This is the same system but is now available to companies, small, medium or large, for the everyday use of tariff classification.

What other products does TRG offer?
TRG offers a suite of services catering to US importers.

TRG Bond™ - Since 1991, TRG Bond™ has been specializing in providing continuous Customs bonds direct to importers. Our import bonds and many other types of Customs bonds are underwritten by Hanover Insurance (A.M. Best Rated A). The import bond is the identical bond all U.S. importers carry. Importers can choose to purchase the import bond with TRG for the annual cost savings and continue to use a customs broker/FF for Customs clearance. More than 6,500 companies, including K-Mart, Sears, Kawasaki and Bosch, save every year by continuing to choose TRG Bond™.

TRG Direct™ - File your Customs entries and Importer Security Filing directly with U.S. Customs via our Automated Broker Interface (ABI). Direct filing allows importers greater supply chain visibility and control, at the same time decreasing overall costs of the entry process. Calculate your savings now.

TRG Marine™ - Our cargo insurance department works directly with Lloyd’s of London underwriters to offer our customers the best coverage at the lowest price. It’s a soft market, and we want to earn your business. Now is the time to shop shipping insurance rates; give TRG Marine™ a try and get a quote today! Ask us about our name your price promotion!

How do I start classifying my goods with TRG Classify™?
It’s simple! Apply Online

What is Direct Filing? Watch a Direct Filing demo. About TRG Phone: (800) 685-6082
What is Importer Security Filing? Calculate my Direct Filing savings. Press Room Fax: (406) 922-6501
What is a Customs bond? Get a Quote for Shipping Insurance. Careers Customs Bonds FAQs
Is an annual Cargo Insurance for me? Apply for a Customs bond. Newsletter Sign Up Cargo Insurance FAQs
What does it cost to Direct File? Terms and Conditions Direct Filing FAQs
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Trade Risk Guaranty (TRG) Brokerage Services LLC is a licensed insurance agency, having agency agreements with Hanover Insurance Company of Worcester, Massachusetts and Hudson Insurance Company of New York, New York, both of which are insurance companies approved by the Department of the U.S. Treasury to issue U.S. Customs bonds.

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