Understanding Types of HS Code in Shipping | Sample Best Practices

The “HS Code” is a code number defined under the HS Convention, the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System. In other words, HS Code in shipping  is a common classification number in international trade, and by assigning a unique classification number to various goods imported and exported, it is possible to know what the goods are, and it is a number.

The HS Code is also known as “HS Number”, “Import and Export Statistics Item Number”, “Tariff Number”, “Tax Number “and other names.

The above HS treaty is administered by the World Customs Organization (WCO), 158 countries including China and the European Union are members of the HS treaty, and a number of countries/regions use the HS code, making a total of more than 200 countries/regions using the HS code.

What is the use of HS Code in shipping?

HS codes are set up as a common standard for describing types of goods worldwide. Each type of commodity must be declared to the customs department through this code in order to enter other countries. This standardizes the codes around the world and makes it easier for countries to conduct international trade.

HS Code in shipping has its wider applications for governments, international organizations and research departments. Such as internal taxation, trade policy, monitoring of controlled goods, rules of origin, freight rates, transportation statistics, price monitoring, quota control, compilation of national accounts, and economic research and analysis.


HS Code in shipping


HS Code in shipping Types

HS codes are used in more than 200 countries and territories, but some countries do not use them. For example, the United States and Brazil use their own codes “HTS Code” and “NCM Code” respectively. Let’s take a look at the following aspects.

If you want to know more details about FBA Product Inventory Management, you can click on this article:

HS Code | Something important You Should Know

Meaning of HS Code in shipping

  • The internationally recognized HS code consists of 2-digit, 4-digit and 6-digit numbers.
  • Codes above 6-digit code and corresponding commodities are customized by each country, and our country adopts 10-digit code.
  • Since it is impossible for HS to exhaust all the commodity classifications, HS has provided for a “6-digit code and the corresponding commodities to be determined by each country” as an underlining clause.
  • The first and second digits represent “Chapter”. There are 98 chapters in total.
  • Third, four digits represent the “Heading” (Heading), HS has a total of 1241 four-digit tariff lines.
  • Fourth, six digits represent “subheading” (Subheading), HS has 5113 six-digit subheadings.
  • Internationally accepted is generally 6 for the digital code to represent an object item.

This video introduces the role of HS code in logistics and transportation in more detail:


HS code examples

(1) chapter, item, subheading
HS Code in shipping of the first two digits on behalf of the “chapter” (Chapter)

The third and fourth digits on behalf of the “item” or “item” (Heading)

For example: Item 61.06 (women’s knitted or crocheted shirts)

–The first two 61 that this code in Chapter 61

–The third and fourth digits of 06 indicate the sixth heading in Chapter 61.

–Knitted or crocheted blouses for women” is a description of the code (heading) 61.06, and the description covers three levels of meaning:

First, the method of weaving: knitted or crocheted.

Second, category: women’s

Third, Category: Shirts

Commodities that meet these three conditions can be classified into the code (heading) 61.06.

The fifth and sixth digits represent the “subheading” (Subheading)

–Subheading Subheading is further subdivided on the basis of Heading.

For example, the above example 6106 (knitted or crocheted women’s shirts) is further subdivided into the following three six-digit “subheadings”:

  • 6106.10 Knitted or crocheted blouses for women, of cotton
  • 6106.20 Knitted or crocheted blouses for women, of chemical fibres
  • 6106.90 Knitted or crocheted blouses for women, of other textile materials


HS Code in shipping


Structure of the HS Code in shipping

The overall structure of the HS Code in shipping consists of the following three main parts

They are: 1, categorization rules; 2, class, chapter and subheading notes; 3, the order of the subheading and subheading codes and provisions.

Because the variety and nature of products are more complex, so the HS uses six-digit code, the product of international trade in a very specific classification, divided into a total of 22 categories, 98 chapters, chapters are also divided into the following items and subheadings.

The first 、six digits of the customs code is the HS international standard code, different countries in accordance with the different national conditions, can increase the number of digits as appropriate.

Now China’s import and export tax using ten-digit code, the first eight equivalent to the HS Code in shipping, known as the main code, the last two are China’s subheadings, known as the additional code. China’s ten-digit code is derived from the HS classification guidelines and methods with reference to the actual situation of China’s import and export goods.

XiongDa is the first-level freight forwarder from China to the United States. We operate the whole process by ourselves, so we can offer you a more favorable price.

Scroll to Top
Xiongda always care about your products, and will provide full services in the freight progress.