Harmonized Systems Codes

When shipping goods internationally, the HS Codes or Harmonized Systems Codes of goods play a huge role in clearing goods through customs. The incorrect classification of HS Codes and not having the correct code may lead to unforeseen taxes and duties incurred in customs.

By choosing TecEx as your Importer of Record, we will ensure that your products are classified correctly, allowing for seamless and hassle-free importing. We have extensive knowledge of thousands of HS Codes for IT equipment.

What does HS Code Stand For?

Harmonized Systems Code.

What is an HS Code?

HS Codes form part of a product classification system used in international trade by most countries. An HS Code indicates to a customs official the specific category of goods being imported.

What do HS Codes look like?

In the USA, a network switch is classified using the HS Code 85176200.

How do HS Codes work?

The HS Code System uses numerical codes to represent different types of commodities as described in a country’s HS code manual. Each country may have variations on how they classify goods, but usually the first four digits of an HS Code are used internationally, and anything thereafter is country-specific. The same HS Code used above for a network switch in the US, 85176200, can be divided as follows:


8 5 1 7 6 2 0 0

The first two digits of the HS Code, 85, shows that the product falls under the 85th Chapter of the HS Code Manual: Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles.

8 5 1 7 6 2 0 0

The second two digits, 17, show that this product falls into the 17th heading of the HS Code Manual: Telephone sets, including telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or data, including apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network (such as a local or wide area network), other than transmission or reception apparatus heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528; parts thereof.

8 5 1 7 6 2 0 0

The following two numbers, 62, indicate that this product falls into the 62nd subheading of the HS code manual: Machines for the reception, conversion and transmission of regeneration of voice, images or other data, including switching and routing apparatus.

8 5 1 7 6 2 0 0

The last two digits are listed as 00. In this particular case, they carry no significance but are there as placeholders to ensure a uniform 8-digit HS codes in the US.

However, in the future this type of switch may be further classified which means these digits last two could be changed to 01 or 02 etc.

How do the HS Code digits affect duties and taxes?

The first four numbers are generally universal, but from the fifth digit onwards, each country or union has its own unique method of classification and therefore carry different duty and tax rates. The duty rate per HS code may differ significantly between countries even when the HS code represents the same type of product. Optical fibre cables for example are represented by HS code 85447000, which attracts a 15% duty when imported into South Africa, yet are duty-free when imported into the USA.

What are HS codes used for?

HS codes are used for the following:

  • Establishing the tax and duty rate of the product (as mentioned above).
  • Determining compliance requirements: Customs may require approvals for certain types of goods and will use the HS Code system to determine whether it is necessary or not. For example, India requires a BIS certificate for Automatic Data Processing Machines, which are represented by the HS heading 8471. Therefore, a product classified under this heading may require a BIS certificate.
  • Export purposes: HS codes may be used by customs at export for export control and statistical purposes.

How can TecEx help you classify your goods to ship?

TecEx is an experienced Importer of Record (IOR) and Exporter of Record (EOR) with extensive knowledge of IT equipment. Our industry-leading knowledge and experience enables us to quickly classify your IT equipment and ensure a smooth shipping process by acting as your IOR and/or EOR.

Contact us now to help classify and ship your goods!

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